This episode features an interview between Dr. Yasmine Kalkstein, the Lead Character Integrator and Associate Professor at United States Military Academy at West Point, and Dr. Jeffrey Peterson, the Director of the Character Integration Advisory Group (CIAG), at the United States Military Academy.
Dr. Peterson served on active duty for 28 years in a variety of leadership and staff positions in the United States, Korea, Cuba, and the Middle East to include a combat battalion command during “the surge” in Iraq. After command, he served as the director of West Point’s economics program from 2008-2014. In 2012, Colonel (Ret.) Peterson was the Director, Center for the Army Profession and Ethic (CAPE) where he led the effort to publish the Army’s first doctrinal manual on the Army Profession and Ethic. Formally, while serving as the Chair for the Study of Officership at West Point from 2015-2021, he stewarded the West Point Superintendent’s capstone course on officership, designs character and leader development programs, and advises senior academy leaders on the state of West Point’s Honor System. He is a 1987 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, followed by the MIT Sloan School of Management, and holds a PhD in Policy Analysis from the Pardee RAND Graduate School.
In this episode of On Point, Dr. Peterson discusses the diversification of the United States Military Academy over time in terms of gender, ethnicity, and race, and how as the army and society evolve, so too do the challenges being faced related to the complexities of behavior and character. He also talks about how the launch of the Character Integration Advisory Group is aimed at tackling this issue. The initiative helps launch a fourth pillar at West Point that teaches specific things about character education while still weaving character development into other programs to bring a coherent, cohesive, holistic, and progressive approach to the issue.
01:37 Introducing the Character Integration Advisory Group
02:12 Pillars of the West Point developmental programs
03:04 Character as the fourth pillar of development
03:24 The Simon Center and the four colored books
07:39 Interdisciplinary hiring at the CIAG
11:55 Relationship between wellness and character
15:07 Compliance with the honor code and acting virtuously
17:20 Explaining the Character Growth Seminar
21:26 The goal of improving character development at West Point
22:44 The Souffle Scenario
26:08 Integrity and relational skills in character development
28:30 Impact of COVID on interpersonal communication
32:32 Cadet basic training introducing squad journaling
36:36 The 47 month deliberate, holistic, and progressive character education process
39:12 The value of the CIAG