With over 40 years of government service, Tim Strong was looking to expand on his strategic level skills that he uses as a concept developer at the Fort Bragg Special Warfare School. Strong knew the importance of having an academic program that can build on military experience and found that in Norwich University’s online Master of Arts in Strategic Studies program, which was designed specifically for members of the U.S. military.
“Where Norwich says to excel, you do excel. Not only was I challenged, but I also achieved a level of comprehension and academic understanding that over my 40 years of government service, I thought I would never meet,” Strong said. “That was the satisfaction and the main driver of why I chose Norwich. It surpassed my expectations.”
Graduating in 2019, Strong was also able to apply what he was learning in the classroom to his day-to-day job. Strong worked closely on a diplomacy, development, and defense document that discussed national security strategy and the U.S. approach to that. Through the research and writing skills learned during his strategic studies courses, Strong was able to formulate federal security proposals that were approved at a much earlier stage due to supplementing his previously learned skills with skills learned in the classroom. When he expressed his recommendations, his team was astounded regarding the depth of his suggestions that was determined from his experience in the classroom and connecting that to our current doctrines in the U.S. Armed Forces.
“Even at 3:30 in the morning, my degree motivated me and gave me focus. My degree [program] helped me to learn how to manage various projects at very high levels of stress,” Strong noted. “You can apply what you are learning to what you are doing. It gave me the tools on how to research and write effectively so that within my job, my proposals were approved without being sent back to be rewritten. The degree supported my job rather than stressed me at my job.”
In a leadership role, Strong uses his strategic studies degree to align with how leadership development is transformed into the Army. It is essential for Strong to educate Servicemembers and civilians as to why the U.S. may use the instruments of national power. The Force is trained at the strategic level so that they understand how to approach and execute missions based on the environment they are within. One of Strong’s goals is to use his leadership skills to influence the leadership skills of the people he oversees.
“Our warfighters need to be educated. We know our fighters have a lot of experience, but we also knew that when they go out, they had a family to take care of and a career to recover from – where were they going to get the time to get educated? Norwich was very accommodating and respectful in understanding military experience and taking those skills learned and educating Servicemembers based on those experiences. That’s the difference,” Strong stated.
Strong noted that following the Partridge Model developed in 1819 by Norwich’s founder Alden Partridge, Soldiers can use the skills learned through a Norwich program as they transfer into a civilian workforce role.
After completing Norwich’s Residency Conference and crossing the stage at Commencement, Strong offers one piece of advice for future online students: practice effective time management.
“People need to understand time management of the online program. You can build your framework throughout the program based on the format of the classroom and assignments. You learn as you go, and you can apply your prior experiences to your assignments and how you can use your experiences in the future,” Strong advised. “The reward is looking at that finished document and saying ‘wow, I did that.’”
Since earning his master’s degree, Strong was accepted and enrolled into Liberty University’s education and leadership doctoral degree programs. Tim Strong truly sets the stage as the ideal lifelong learner.