A Salute to our Military Students and a Special Congratulations to our Dr. Thomas Clark, UOP Alumnus, 2018

A Salute to our Military Students and a Special Congratulations to our Dr. Thomas Clark, UOP Alumnus, 2018

The University of Phoenix, College of Doctoral Studies, is  proud of all our military students and this month UOP is particularly proud of Dr. Thomas Clark, a 2018 alum, who was named a member of the Top 100 Most Influential Georgians by the Georgia Trend and James Magazines (2019). During his 32 years serving our country in the Army, Thomas deployed multiple times, leading soldiers in combat in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as the Command Sergeant Major of the 440th Signal Battalion in 2004 and again in 2006 as the Signal Task Force Command Sergeant Major for the country of Iraq while assigned to the 22nd Signal Brigade.

Thomas chose to use his observations and experiences leading young Millennial soldiers in combat as the focus of his dissertation study in Management and Organizational Leadership.   A worrisome observation of Millennial soldiers lack of face-to-face communication skills, haunted Thomas into his combat retirement years.  He felt it was his duty to do something to help these young men and women prepare for the face-to-face encounters with Iraqian citizens in the war zones.  The young soldiers were observed to be challenged in their ability to read facial expressions, body language and other non-verbal communication cues.

Thomas chose to interview 16 high ranking war experienced officers to gain a consensus of opinions on how to best address this issue.  Indeed, Thomas first and foremost wanted to know what other officers had to say about their experiences leading Millennial soldiers in combat.  Using a Delphi approach to investigate the phenomenon of lack of effective communication skills, Thomas found 100% agreement that there was an urgent need to provide face-to-face communication skills to enlisted soldiers before deploying and to young recruits entering the Army Corp. 

Through a series of three rounds of questioning, Thomas was able to pull together a consensus of opinions on how that training should look.  One component of the projected training is to incorporate a type of virtual reality activity using war combat simulation scenarios wherein the young digital natives would be exposed to a variety of unpredictable behaviors by village residents. The simulation activities will be used to mimic villager behaviors that could potentially evolve into a life or death event for the battalion due to an inablity to read non-verbal cues.  

 As an accomplished and experienced U.S. Military Educator and Training Manager with a commendable track record of providing leadership and direction for Fort Gordon’s IT/Signal Training School Program, Dr. Clark continues to work toward utilizing the most effective training tools to protect the lives and well-being of our young soldiers.

Congratulations to Dr. Thomas Clark and all our fine enlisted and retired military students!!!   






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