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Your Professor Wears Combat Boots: Dr. Tim Vaughan Reports to ROTC Leadership Camp

By Meredith Wolf, communications and special events coordinator, College of Business

The day didn’t start like any other day for Tim Vaughan, professor and department chair of management and marketing. Dressed in an Army combat uniform, Vaughan reported for duty on his first day to perform morning drills—standing at attention, marching, and pivoting—all the while being yelled at by his drill sergeant.

“You would think that marching and pivoting would be easy,” said Vaughan, who described the morning drills as being a valuable part of team building. “But, if one person falls out of formation, it throws the whole group off.”

Vaughan, along with 99 other faculty members from across the nation, attended the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) Leader’s Training Course for educators, which was held July 20 through 24, 2010 at Fort Knox, Kentucky. Educators were invited to attend the program by military science faculty at their universities.

“The main intent of the program is that educators learn what happens in the ROTC and gain a deeper understanding of what they are trying to accomplish.” He added that the ROTC Leader’s Training Course was an excellent learning experience that enabled team building, and helped to identify and build leadership strengths within groups or “platoons”.

Participation in training events by the invited educators is voluntary but highly encouraged. Vaughan and his teammates got a taste for the LTC training by rappelling off a 50-foot tower, eating Army MREs for lunch, navigating a high ropes course, eating in the mess hall with other cadets, and participating in a variety of team-building exercises. One team building exercise Vaughan participated in required him and his teammates to cross a stream. After some initial training in how to construct a single rope bridge, six teams competed to see which team could get everyone across the stream first. Despite differences in backgrounds and fitness levels, everyone was able to complete the exercise.

“Team dynamics were really amazing. These exercises built trust, allowed team members to identify their own and others’ strengths and weaknesses, and helped individuals overcome their fears,” said Vaughan.

The Leader’s Training Course concluded with an opportunity to attend the ROTC cadets’ graduation ceremony, and each educator received a personalized plaque in recognition for their accomplishments.

“I gained a deeper appreciation for the level of professionalism that is reached by cadets in the Army ROTC, and the fantastic job that the ROTC does to instill that,” said Vaughan. “It was a great experience, very rewarding and insightful, and a lot of fun.”

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