By Dan Digmann
Reprinted from Reference Point Spring 2015
Air Force Capt. Bridger Lord is a graduate student on a mission in Dayton, Ohio.
He has dedicated his final Master of Science in Administration research project to studying the feasibility of opening a brewery in this city that is home to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. It's where the Missoula, Montana, native has been stationed the past four years.
Capt. Lord is more than 300 miles south of CMU's main campus, but he isn't concerned about having difficulties locating the academic resources to support his research.
He knows that CMU Global Campus librarians in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, have his back.
This lesson was learned when Capt. Lord enrolled in MSA 600 – Foundations of Research Methods in Administration – and a Global Campus librarian made the more than five-hour drive to Wright-Patterson specifically to meet with him and his classmates.
"One of the librarians gave a presentation on how to navigate the library online," he said. "After that, it was way easier to do the research and to ask for the help. I used to be a Google person, but I now understand how the library is a source for better information and have used it for all my projects ever since that presentation."
Going the extra miles
Global Campus librarians are available to serve the needs of the more than 7,200 students enrolled online and at more than 45 locations across North America. Of those locations, 20 are on United States military bases to provide educational options for active duty military personnel, veterans and families. Librarians are easily accessible online and over the telephone, but several also make regular trips to the military bases to meet students in person. Rebecca Renirie is one such librarian.
"I like that I can make a difference in someone's academic career," said Renirie, who works directly with students served at locations in Ontario and U.S. military bases in Ohio, Kansas and North Dakota.
There is a lot that Renirie said she can accomplish when she remotely interacts with students from afar. However, she believes the face-to-face visits she makes to the locations have the biggest impact. These enable her to show and demonstrate how students can find and access the wealth of library books, databases and other resources available online and through Documents on Demand.
"Many times when the presentation is done, I hear the students say, 'I wish I would have known about this sooner,'" Renirie said. "Meeting them in person helps to build relationships and make the students more comfortable with the library resources and services. Plus, I think it sends a message to each student that they're important to us."
Renirie said Global Campus students sometimes can feel disconnected from the Mount Pleasant campus; however, this wasn't the case for Emad Mnati, M.S.A.'13. Mnati earned his degree while he served in the Army and was stationed at Fort Polk in Louisiana.
"Even though I was attending classes in Louisiana, the library services were so excellent I always felt like I was actually right there on campus," he said. "They have really amazing services at the library. Without the library, I don't know if I could have finished my master's degree thesis."
In 2014, U.S. News & World Report ranked CMU's online bachelor's and online graduate education programs as the No. 1 choice for veterans. Additionally, CMU has been named to Military Advanced Education's list of "Military-Friendly Colleges and Universities" for the past seven years.