School of Advanced Military Studies Associate Professor Dr. Jim Greer, right, with SAMS students Lt. Col. Timothy McDevitt and Maj. Katie Baumann, listens to responses from Design and Systems Thinking students on ways to mask to avoid being hit by enemy fire after a two-minute brainstorming exercise Jan. 13 in Muir Hall. Greer has been named the Command and General Staff College's 2022 Civilian Educator of the Year. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp

Civilian educator uses student-centric, experiential approach

By Charlotte Richter/Staff Writer

Dr. Jim Greer, School of Advanced Military Studies associate professor, has been named
the Command and General Staff College’s 2022 Civilian Educator of the Year.

School of Advanced Military Studies Associate Professor Dr. Jim Greer walks through the classroom as SAMS students, including Lt. Col. Timothy McDevitt, Maj. Katie Baumann and Maj. Wesley Henderson, work with construction blocks, modeling clay and other mediums to explain emergence, reflexive control and more during an exercise in the Design and Systems Thinking class Jan. 13 in Muir Hall. Greer has been named the Command and General Staff College’s 2022 Civilian Educator of the Year. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp


Nominees for CGSC Educator of the Year represent educators from each department and/or one of the four schools within CGSC, typically someone who has taught for two
years or more. Each nominee is considered based on service to CGSC, classroom instruction and an interview process with a six-member selection board. Greer was chosen as the top civilian educator out of sevenbnominees.


Greer will now compete for the overall U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command
Educator of the Year.


Greer has taught at SAMS for the past three years. Prior to teaching, he was SAMS director from 2001-2003. He has also served as an associate professor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.


Greer said he’s been an educator for most of his career; as an active-duty officer, his
responsibilities largely included training and educating other soldiers. He completed
a bachelor’s degree at West Point and holds three master’s degrees in education, strategic planning and strategy. He earned his doctorate in education from Walden University.


“I think (Educator of the Year) reflects well on the School of Advanced Military Studies. I
think we try very hard to be an elite master’s degree-producing program. I think that the
fact that we earn awards like this reflects on our approach to education and the dedication of the faculty here,” Greer said.


Greer described his teaching style as student-centric and experiential.


“I put the focus on the students — what they need to learn, how they need to learn — very experiential and hands-on. I try to raise the level of learning by the students to the ‘create level’ where they’re creating new knowledge by themselves,” Greer said. “They
have to come up with an idea every day that relates to the subject of the day, and then I
provide them feedback on that idea.

School of Advanced Military Studies Associate Professor Dr. Jim Greer and SAMS student Maj. Sean Brandon look at the time to determine how long to devote to an exercise for teams using legos, modeling clay and other mediums to explain emergence, reflexive control and more in the Design and Systems Thinking class Jan. 13 in Muir Hall. Greer has been named the Command and General Staff College’s 2022 Civilian Educator of the Year. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp

“I think generally we’re blessed with students who have a great deal of experience
both professionally and in life and maturity, and they’re absolutely motivated to learn,
which makes my job very easy. I try to tailor the student engagement and activities within the classroom individually to how each student learns best.”


Greer said he what he enjoys most about his job are the daily engagements with
students.


“I love my job; I have the best job in the world. I get to go into a room with smart, experience-motivated learners and spend each day exploring our professional assignment,”


Greer said. “It’s important for every Army and joint service officer to be a lifelong learner. I know I personally am, so I actually see every day in the classroom as an opportunity not just for the students to learn from me, but for me to learn from them. That lets me
reinvest what I learned from them into the courses in the classes that I teach after that.”

After showing a video clip, School of Advanced Military Studies Associate Professor Dr. Jim Greer asks SAMS students to take two minutes to come up with as many ways to mask to avoid being hit by enemy fire during class Jan. 13 in Muir Hall. Greer has been named the Command and General Staff College’s 2022 Civilian Educator of the Year. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp


SAMS students Maj. Alexander Santiago and Air Force Lt. Col. Timothy McDevitt said they recognize Greer’s student-centric approach, and his teaching of leader development and team building through maximized individual potential are lessons they will carry forward.


Santiago said Greer asks questions that help students think more broadly about the
content.


“He just has a lot of wisdom. Even if it’s not related to the class, he’s still giving wisdom for our career, for our profession, for design in SAMS,” Santiago said.


McDevitt said Greer’s students have developed their own way of interpreting Greer’s candid feedback and appreciates that he brings recent events into his curriculum.


“The thing that he brings that I found most (helpful) in the class is the combination of military experience with education experience from a joint perspective. When you’re
bringing in your concept, he’ll challenge you on it to develop your depth,” McDevitt said.
“(Greer as Educator of the Year) is certainly well earned and expected.”

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