Dr. Garland Williams, ret. U.S. Army, has enjoyed an extensive career in adult and continuing education. His leadership, especially in the armed forces, has positively impacted the field and changed the lives of many Army servicemen and women.
Williams started his path of scholarly achievement by publishing his Duke University dissertation and went on to author, co-author, and edit numerous titles, including Engineering Peace: The Military's Role in Postconflict Reconstruction, Perspectives on Leadership, and Civil-Military Interaction in Peace Operations: Theory and Practice. He has also been published in magazines and newspapers including Engineer Magazine, The Journal of International Security–Japan Edition, and Stars and Stripes.
His greatest contribution to date has been his leading role in developing the Army's Civilian Education System (CES). There have been well developed education systems for officers, noncommissioned officers, and warrant officers, but there was never a system for the Army's civilian employees. In 2006, Williams assumed command of the Army Management Staff College, which was committed to creating the CES, a progressive and sequential leadership program that trains Army civilians. CES consists of five progressive courses, augmented by three online courses to be taken any time in a civilian career. The Foundation Course uses a distance learning format that enables all new Army civilians to gain an understanding of the Army. Once a civilian is appointed to a leadership position, he or she is enrolled in the Basic Course, a blended course that includes distance learning followed by a two-week residential phase. At mid-career, Army civilians enrolled in the blended online and resident Intermediate Course, a leadership program for civilians. Finally, senior Army civilians enrolled in the blended Advanced Course that taught leadership and management of large units and installations.
In addition to Williams leading the effort to develop and implement the Army's CES, he served as spokesman across the Army to advocate for leadership training for the Army's civilians. In this role, he presented to Army commands, outlining the details of the leadership program, encouraging the Army civilians to enroll. He worked with the highest levels of the Army to gain leader buy-in, ensuring that the Army maintained a healthy sustained funding stream for continued CES implementation. Due to the excellent implementation of CES, the vice president of Marine Corps University met with Williams to explore how the Marines could develop and implement a similar program for their civilian corps.
Finally, to spur research in government civilian leadership, Williams developed the concept and implemented the writing, editing, and publishing of the Army Management Staff College's first book, Perspectives on Leadership, which enhanced the visibility and stature of civilian leadership education in the Department of the Army. No longer were civilians relegated to second-class status in their leadership education; they were now included in the Army's suite of leadership education, resulting in an enhanced skill set and exceptional performance of civilian employees.
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