Dean Takes Part in Marine Corps Educators Workshop
By Brian Kleemann
Sue Martin trained as a Marine recruit for one week and is now applying that experience to her work at COD.
The Dean of Student Affairs took part in the annual Marine Corps Educators Workshop earlier this year and traveled to the famed Marine Corps Recruitment Depot in San Diego. While there, Martin endured grueling physical and mental challenges that actual recruits face and came away with strategies that can be applied at the College.
“This experience allowed me, as an administrator, to learn the philosophy, leadership and strategy used in building young recruits into Marines,” said the La Grange Park resident. “It helped me understand their strategic teamwork and core values and how it’s instilled in every member of the team.”
Martin joined nearly 80 counselors and administrators from colleges, high schools and social agencies from the Midwest, including Northern Illinois University, Wheaton Warrenville South High School and Hinsdale Central High School. On her second day of the workshop, she found herself standing on the depot’s famed yellow footprints at the mercy of a drill sergeant.
Martin, who is a runner, participated in all of the physical challenges, which at times required her to crawl through ditches and tunnels and to maneuver on her back under barbed wire. She finished the bayonet assault course and completed analytical team challenges.
“We went through the physical training and experienced the psychological challenge, where you are torn down as an individual and rebuilt as a member of the team,” she said. “You have to be strong and be able to look out for more than yourself.”
Martin saw numerous ways to apply what she learned at College of DuPage, whether it is helping veterans enrolling in classes, non-military students or faculty and staff.
“We know the transition from military life to civilian life can be very difficult, and their needs are different from new students or adult students returning to school,” she said. “We need to continue understanding veterans’ education benefits, what’s available for their spouses and what other services they need to successfully transition back into the community, whether it’s more off-campus offerings or child care services.
“Within the academic world of the College, we must examine how we are meeting our student and staff needs. How do we reinforce the strength of our leadership and foster teamwork? How do we reinforce what staff and students are doing well so they can continue doing so? The better informed we are, the better we can educate students of their options.”
The workshop allowed her to forge a bond with the other administrators and counselors who participated. She also had a glimpse into the experiences of her own father.
“My dad was a Marine,” she explained. “I never understood the brotherhood piece before, but now I do. Whether you’re a Marine or working at a college, it’s about having passion and believing in the same core values while working toward a common goal.”
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