The National War College curriculum represents an intensive, 10-month program
in national security strategy geared to the learning styles and professional
requirements of mid-career military and civilian national security students.
It reflects six major core courses, an analytically intensive international
trip, and a supporting elective program. NWC leadership has made significant
efforts to make the core curriculum into an integrated, mutually-supporting
course of instruction, and this effort is reflected in an intensive curriculum
development process at NWC.
The Curriculum Review Process
Before each academic year, the NWC Commandant approves the proposed curriculum,
with advice from the Dean of Faculty. Flowing into that decision is an in-depth
review process for each core course and the curriculum as a whole.
Review of each Core Course
: Feedback on each core course takes the
form of so-called “hotwashes” and via computerized student surveys.
At the conclusion of each core course, the Core Course Director or his/her
designee will schedule student and faculty oral “hotwashes”
to take place on the final day of the course. The student hotwash will include
one representative from each course seminar. That representative collects
their seminar’s reactions to the course and suggestions for improving
the course, and disseminates those views at the hotwash. The faculty hotwash
involves all of the teaching FSLs and their understudies. The Director of
IR and Assessment documents issues raised in both hotwash sessions. Hotwash
documentation is retained in the course report binder.
The Core Course Director is give time to review both sets of feedback, and
then briefs the Associate Dean of Academics on the proposed changes to the
course for the subsequent year based on feedback and performance data. The
Core Course Director documents these proposed changes; documentation is
included in the core course report book. Proposed changes are then briefed
to the CCC members.
The Core Course Development process then starts anew, as documented elsewhere
in this document
Mid-Year and End-of-Year Curriculum Briefs
: The Dean of Faculty provides
a mid-year status brief to the NWC Commandant on the execution of the fall
curriculum, the results of fall oral exams, and areas of focus for the next
academic year. The Dean of Faculty does the same thing at the end of the
Academic Year, incorporating the results of the spring oral exams, graduate,
supervisor, and senior leader feedback, end-of-year student surveys, as
well as other data from ad hoc focus groups and surveys.
Leadership Curriculum Briefings
: Major core course and program modifications
are briefed to the NDU and NWC leadership prior to the start of each Academic
Core Course Directors brief the Dean of Faculty on final significant changes
for the next academic year.
The Dean of Faculty briefs the Commandant for his/her approval of those
The Dean of Faculty briefs the NDU-P on those changes. Core Course Directors
brief all faculty members at the NWC Faculty Offsite in August.
Major Curriculum Reviews
: When required, the NWC Dean of Faculty
will initiate a major curriculum review process, which is conducted by a
committee of faculty members decided upon by the DOF upon recommendation
from the Associate Deans and Department Chairs. These normally take
place every five to seven years, depending on international and domestic
circumstances and NWC personnel changes. Such reviews begin from first principles,
beginning with the college’s Mission Statement, and eventually develop
the objectives, parameters, and sequencing of the Core Curriculum. The last
major curriculum review began in 2005 and ran through 2006; we are in the
process of undertaking the next major review, which will begin in 2011.