The Navy is implementing changes to the Senior Enlisted Academy curriculum and requirements — including shortening the distance learning portion of the course — starting in fiscal 2021, which begins Oct. 1.

The leadership and development program, which previously was 10 weeks long and required seven weeks of distance learning, will now consist of three weeks of distance learning, three weeks of in-resident learning, along with a total of two weeks for administrative processing.

The Navy also said it is eliminating the requirement to complete Primary Professional Military Education (PPME) or Senior Enlisted Joint Professional Military Education (SEJPME) I and II. That’s because “requirements for Professional Military Education are adequately addressed in Senior Enlisted Selection Board convening orders and precepts,” according to a Navy Administrative message.

“The process for implementing these changes will be seamless to the Fleet, other than senior enlisted leaders having a better opportunity to attend,” Command Master Chief Jason Avin, the academy’s director, said in a Navy news release. “The online portion will be shorter, redundancy will be removed, and the three week in-residence portion will remain the cornerstone of the educational and networking experience.”

“Streamlining distance learning and eliminating pre-requisites were necessary steps in removing barriers for attendance,” Avin said. “Keeping in line with the Navy’s culture of excellence, we also used the opportunity to conduct a thorough review of curriculum to ensure the SEA continues to provide students with the most relevant and up-to-date tools the fleet needs for senior enlisted leaders to be successful.”

In addition to these changes, the service is also aiming to gradually expand the program to accommodate 1,782 senior enlisted leaders each year — up from 1,296. The Navy is also planning to grow class sizes to 198 students, a boost from the current class size of 144 students.

Senior Chief Quartermaster Henry Nicol, a faculty adviser at SEA, said the modifications were based on feedback from staff and student and alumni surveys. From there, SEA went to the master chief petty officer of the Navy and the board of advisers to share insights on what senior enlisted leaders needed.

“The entire staff at SEA is involved in re-imagining the curriculum to the most up-to-date readings and to adjust the flow of topics to be in line with the feedback from the MCPON’s leadership mess,” Nicol said.

The leadership and development course is open to active and reserve E-8 and E-9 personnel from all branches of the military. The course will continue to be offered nine times annually.

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