KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The Air National Guard division that manages professional continuing education for thousands of Airmen, including its satellite Warrior Network television studios, is changing its name and upgrading its methods.
The I.G. Brown Training and Education Center's PCE Division is now called TEC University.
The new name, which leaders say identifies a new approach in learning, comes from requests by ANG Airmen to broaden offerings and innovate education methods to upgrade their skills and knowledge.
"We have been advocating for a distance learning platform to start meeting the students where they want to learn - not where the Air Force forces them to educate," said Chief Master Sgt. Shaun Withers, division chief.
One central piece is a learning management system, the kind used by public colleges and universities for .edu or .com online degree programs. Withers and his team just finished a review of the commercial platforms available. They will make a decision on which one best suits the needs of National Guard members, many of whom serve on drill weekends and would like military training available at home as online university-style lessons.
Earlier this month, the division restructured its instructional development, production and transmission branches to improve their interaction and to align efforts under a shared mission and vision statement.
Withers said TEC-U includes four lines of effort that identify its purpose to the 90 wings and 107,000-plus Airmen. They include: Leadership Academy (train the trainers, leadership schools, instructor certification); Building the Blue (learning management systems, 3-/5-/7-level upgrade training, specialty skill enhancement); From the Force (just-in-time training, 1-5-minute crowd-sourced videos, enhancing/encouraging innovation); and Innovation in Education (education's think tank, designing learning for the future, developing training technologies).
"We are implementing those things that we've talked about for a long time, and having these four different avenues," said Tammie Smelter, who is heading up TEC-U's academics. "It is a modern and forward-thinking education approach, which is vital to the Air National Guard's future."
Smeltzer conceded TEC-U's development is not coming overnight, but she is optimistic they will soon train Airmen the way Airmen want.
"Our team is so excited because this new direction allows us to show off our talents in video production, broadcasting, and instructional development," Smeltzer said.
TEC is a detachment of the Air National Guard Readiness Center and is located on McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base outside Knoxville, Tennessee.