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In response to a call to action from Tom Brokaw of NBC Nightly News in 2014, ASU sought to establish the first undergraduate program in the nation to integrate cross-sector and civilian-military experiences to develop collaborative leaders of character. The resulting Public Service Academy has three tracks:
1. Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC): supports the existing university-based program to commission officers into the U.S. Armed Forces through shared leadership development opportunities.
2. Veterans Scholars Program: promotes engagement among veterans in continued service and career preparation.
3. Next Generation Service Corps (NGSC): prepares service-oriented students from all majors to become civilian service leaders.
The four-year experience in NGSC emphasizes civic engagement opportunities through six leadership courses, a series of summer internships in nonprofit, government and private organizations, and experiential learning activities around students’ “social missions” that enable them to engage more deeply on community challenges. In addition, members participate in civilian-military events with active duty soldiers and sailors, reserves, and veterans. The cross-sector nature of the program recognizes that civilian and military service are two sides of the same coin, and both make us stronger as a nation.
During the first year of the pilot program in 2015, NGSC admitted 100 students. Each year, participation in the program has increased, with more than 500 Corps Members to date. Currently, the NGSC is made up of Corps Members from 150+ different majors, every ASU campus, 39 different states and international students. Contingent on funding, the Public Service Academy aims to have 1,300 students in the three programs annually – approximately two percent of the undergraduate student body.
With the first cohort of graduates entering the workforce in May of 2019, NGSC and the Office of University Initiatives are working together to evaluate the theory and practice of this impactful landmark program, and strengthen the role the program plays in helping students become effective and compassionate cross-sector leaders capable of solving some of the world’s most challenging and complex problems.
Design Aspirations: Transform Society, Enable Student Success and Fuse Intellectual Disciplines