WASHINGTON (NNS) (NNS) -- Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas B. Modly on April 2 announced that Dr. Randi Cosentino will serve as the Department of the Navy’s first president of the new United States Naval Community College.
Cosentino comes to the Department from Guild Education, where she served as the chief academic officer. Guild Education works with major Fortune 500 companies like Disney and Walmart to provide college-level education and training to their workforces. Cosentino received her B.A. and Ed.D degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and her MBA from Harvard Business School.
“In today’s complex global security environment, we need to provide world-class education to our enlisted force of Sailors and Marines,” Modly said. “Dr. Cosentino’s experience as an educator and administrator working with some of our nation’s largest private sector employers will help ensure that all of our personnel have access to a top notch education while serving our Nation.”
The U.S. Naval Community College will partner with civilian universities and community colleges to provide enlisted Sailors and Marines an opportunity to earn an associate’s degree online in high demand fields like cyber, IT, and engineering. The planned delivery model, which will rely primarily on high quality civilian universities and community colleges with proven track records delivering strong positive outcomes, is very similar to that pioneered by Cosentino at Guild, which has been praised nationally for its cost-effectiveness and very high return on investment.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to serve our nation’s naval services and to lead this new institution, as it develops innovative and collaborative approaches to educating America’s Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen," Cosentino said. “The need for critical thinking, analytical problem solving, and effective communication skills that a college education provides has never been more important than it is in today's rapidly changing world.
"I look forward to enhancing naval readiness by developing the intellectual foundations of our enlisted force.”
As president, Cosentino will be responsible for overseeing the daily operations for the Community College, which will begin teaching its first cohort of students in a pilot program scheduled for January 2021. The college’s pilot program will focus on degree programs in IT, engineering, and data science. The first cohort will consist of 500 to 600 enlisted service members from the Navy, Marine Corps, and the Coast Guard.
“The U. S. Coast Guard is excited to partner with the Navy and Marine Corps in establishing the United States Naval Community College,” said Coast Guard Rear Adm. Brian K. Penoyer, force readiness commander for the Coast Guard. “Our people are the key to providing a Ready, Relevant and Responsive Coast Guard.
"The Naval Community College will help us meet the strategic goal to sharpen the skills of the mission ready total workforce and will help position the Coast Guard to recruit and retain an inclusive and diverse workforce that reflects the American public we serve. We see the Naval Community College as the first step in building our Mission Ready Workforce for 2040 and beyond.”
Establishing the new community college is one of the primary objectives of Education for Seapower Strategy 2020, which was released earlier this year. The Strategy called for creation of the community college because of the growing demand for technical skills and creative problem solving in the Navy and Marine Corps.
The U.S. Naval Community College will be part of the newly formed Naval University System, which includes the Naval War College, Naval Postgraduate School, Marine Corps University, and the U.S. Naval Academy.
Cosentino will report to John Kroger, the Department of the Navy’s Chief Learning Officer. Joining Cosentino as Chief of Staff is Robert Kozloski, currently acting deputy chief learning officer for the Department of the Navy. Kozloski, who previously served as an enlisted Sailor and Marine Corps officer, has been one of the primary architects of the Naval Community College concept.
Education for Seapower Strategy 2020 is based on three strategic pillars: Creating a Continuum of Learning for the Entire Force; Integrating Education into our Talent Management Frameworks; and Strengthening and Investing in our Naval University System. These three pillars and their supporting objectives seek to strengthen intellectual development in seven critical areas:
- Creative and Critical Analysis
- Ethical Decision-making
- Strategic Thinking
- Warfighting Excellence
- Geopolitical Awareness
- Technical and Technological Competence
- Resource Management and Acquisition Acuity
“The most predictable thing we can say about the future is that it will be unpredictable,” said Acting Secretary Modly. “Preparing for that future means investing in more platforms and new weapons systems, but nothing will be more important than the investment that we make in learning, and a force made up of people who thirst for it.”