By Brian Lamar
On March 18, the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center (DLIFLC) celebrated the awarding of its 5,000th Associate of Arts degree to Pfc. Tyler Rasmussen.
Rasmussen, a Georgia native, graduated from DLIFLC’s 64-week-long Arabic basic course nearly 16 months after he began the program.
“I am definitely honored to have received this degree. Being the 5000th AA degree recipient is really extra special,” said Rasmussen. “I didn’t know it (DLIFLC) was an accredited institution and was excited to learn that because I had a lot of credits from college…and this was a way to get my degree.”
“Keep the door open to DLI,” said DLIFLC Commandant Col. Sue Ann Sandusky, addressing graduates, instructors and family members at the ceremony. “We hope you have not only learned the language but have grown spiritually and morally…We need the full spectrum of your talents,” said Sandusky, adding that students could easily find themselves back at the Institute for an intermediate or advanced course, or even a new language. “You may become commandant some day.” Rasmussen’s future plans include obtaining another degree while in the Army, and possibly even a Master degree.
DLIFLC averages about 625 AA degrees annually and was formally recognized for academic excellence by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges in 1979. In 2002, ACCJC accredited DLIFLC as an Associate Degree granting institution.
Servicemembers who enlist in military positions that require language training typically attend DLIFLC after basic training. When a student completes a basic language program with passing grades and a qualifying exit exam score on the Defense Language Proficiency Test, they have automatically earned 45 of the 63 credits required for their Associate of Arts degree, according to DLIFLC’s Registrar Office.
“There are a series of additional general education credits that students are required complete in order to earn the DLIFLC Associate of Arts degree,” said Dr. Robert Savukinas, DLIFLC’s registrar. “If a student at DLI successfully completes the basic language program and transfers another 18 credits in the areas of English, Math, Natural Science, Social Science, Technology, and Physical Education, they can earn their AA degree from DLI,” Savukinas explained.
Since students are already required to complete the language classes with passing grades as part of their military training, the end result of getting a degree is just an added benefit.
“Students find it amazing that they are completing military training and are getting college credit for it. The feedback from students has been nothing but positive,” said Savukinas. “Students at DLI are paid to study, which I think is the best type of scholarship around.”
To watch the video report about DLIFLC's 5000th AA Degree, please click here.
For complete program details, please visit the AA degree page.
Natela Cutter, Strategic Communications