Home Education Transitioning into an Applied Doctorate: The Strategic Intelligence Experience
Transitioning into an Applied Doctorate: The Strategic Intelligence Experience

Transitioning into an Applied Doctorate: The Strategic Intelligence Experience

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Get started on your doctoral degree in strategic intelligence at American Military University.

By In Homeland Security Staff

Having specialized knowledge of strategic intelligence at the doctoral level helps students to prepare for interesting career options that may not be available to master’s degree holders. For this reason, many students decide to pursue a doctoral degree.

In this video, Dr. Jim Burch discusses the transition process into an applied doctorate program in strategic intelligence at American Military University. He highlights critical elements to consider for students who are considering pursuing the doctorate. In addition, Dr. Burch discusses how he prepares doctoral students for a successful journey through the doctoral program.

Transcript of video

My name is Dr. Jim Birch and I’m an instructor here with the strategic intel program as part of the university. Some of my background: I spent 29 years in the intelligence community, first 20 of those were actually with the United States Navy, so I spent quite a bit of time overseas working real-world intelligence problems and for the last nine years or so I’ve been now with the Defense Intelligence Agency.

I wanted to come back in and become an instructor and to facilitate topics on that I’m really passionate about and allow a lot of my focus and research areas deal with things like cyber intelligence and space policy issues. So we have a lot of things to discuss and do in this field and it’s a really dynamic field to get into.

One of the challenges that that you will have in your first month here with the program is really getting acclimated back into a classroom environment. What I’ve seen is that you have students that maybe were in school a year ago or they finished [their] master’s degree six months ago, and you have other students that have been out of school for over a decade. So one of the challenges is really to get back into the routine of of reading and writing and networking with not only your instructors, but your classmates. And to just get back into that environment to where you’re starting to critically evaluate the issues that are introduced in your first class.

One of the things that the university does really well is the first residency is to bring students on board, so that they could not only meet each other but also network with the faculty. One of the the key elements as well since we’re online. We facilitate an online program [and] have different components of the university here at there during the residency period to go through the virtual classroom and all the various applications, such as Adobe Connect and all the resources that are available through the AIT through the university’s library.

One of the other aspects of the residency that that I find works really well is the ability not only to interact with the various faculty but also to get that one-on-one time to start reaching out to faculty members that might have like-minded interest[s] and to really start a mentoring relationship between the faculty and the student. I find that that the more you reach out and the more you communicate and the more you try and network with that faculty member, I’ve found that students who have progressed successfully through this program are doing so because they’ve taken that time upfront to develop that relationship.

What I find best for students to transition is to really communicate early and communicate often on ideas, and just see whether their concerns are or just generally adjusting to the program. The one key takeaway is that you have to realize that you can’t do it on your own. It’s going to be challenging, but the faculty and your classmates are here to support you through that first month. But that first month is critical.

Understand that you’re getting ready to to embark on a pretty significant life change.

Oh, one of the challenges that you’re going to find is obviously with the amount of readings and the amount of homework and things like that. Is it time management is going to be an issue. As such, whatever however your support system works in your life, understand that you’re going to have to make different time commitments to dedicate to the university and the workload that you’re going to have. So it’s vitally important that you have your support system, whether it’s your family your friends your loved ones your professional life understand the level of commitment that’s required of you to come on board this program.

About the Speaker

Dr. Jim Burch is a full-time associate professor in the School of Security and Global Studies. He holds an M.M.A.S. in military history from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, an M.A. in security studies from the Naval Postgraduate School and a D.Mgt. in Homeland Security – Management from Colorado Technical University. His research interests include intelligence, classical history, management, national security and homeland security.

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