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Norwich University

  • Norwich University Reviews

    Ranking: #8
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    Country: USA
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    Accreditation: New England Association of Schools and Colleges

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Norwich University Reviews:

Don't go until things change!

Master of Military History - July 29, 2017
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So I started March of 2016. First professor was James Broom- he was great! The second class was easier (it's supposed to be harder), but professor Kautt was nice. Class three was HELL! The professor is an expert (retired colonel) no doubt, but he doesn't know how to clarify exactly "what" a student is doing wrong. He just wrote "this is not at the graduate level" on all of our papers! There were 8 kids in my section- there were 2 sections. 5 out of 8 kids dropped my class, including me, and eventually the program. The man was ridiculous, a little pompous, and from what I heard a little rude to other students. I'm switching to Arizona State and so far my experience has been great. My best advice is, if you're an expert and have time to read, this is for you, but there's little interaction between students and teachers, even for a distance program. One of the students wrote to the director (who has been demoted, apparently) about the ridiculousness of the man and he basically said "tough crap." Yeah. I'm not going back there. And I would recommend not until they change things a bit. Their sign on is confusing because there's a separate link for online versus on campus students.I used to have to save the link to my computer to even find it again. Admitting advisors and financial aid folks were nice, but they said the higher ups blamed our dropping the program on the "ever declining ability of students' writing." Are you kidding me? Then get with the times and help us learn!And, Like, no. I had some great teachers teach me how to write. Some of these teachers don't know how to teach! Now I'm with ASU and everyone actually Skypes! go there instead!

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Does not want its students to succeed.

Master of Military History - February 20, 2017
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Until you see the name "Oliviero" removed from this college, don't go. Unless you are already an expert in military history. We are learning, obviously, and he was nothing short of insulting. The first professor was great, the second as well, but 5 out of 8 people dropped this class (myself included) while I was in it. He offered no actual criticisms to our essay other than saying "this isn't at the graduate level." His instruction was too implicit and it was hard to gauge what he wanted from the students. He spent too much time fussing about grammar and syntax (although I had a former professor in English review some essays and she said it was fine). Completely unapproachable, never initially reached out to his students although it's required, and never sent the materials he promised to send, in a timely manner. Letters were sent to the Director and he ignored them. I am thoroughly disappointed in this program, and saddened that no one reached out to ask what happened as it appears they DON'T care if we graduate. Obviously 5 people dropping is a problem. AND I had to pay a $1800 bill to the University for dropping. Nice.

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The whiners ruined it by driving out their best professor

Master of Military History - August 31, 2015
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The MA in Military History program lost their best professor when Dr Grenier left. He was the glue that held together any kind of academic and intellectual standards the program had, and now in his place, Norwich is stuck with a program director who knows nothing about being a historian. Publications are the coin of the realm in history, and Dr Ehrman has none. The assistant program director is an unprofessional buffoon, and he even has a fake PhD from a mail-in college that no longer exists. He's more interested in being liked (and I do not especially like him anyway, because I see through his b.s.) than in teaching us how to be historians. I was really saddened when I heard Dr G was leaving. I was one of his capstone students several years back; he called to tell me that he was moving on to "a real school" because the whiners drove him out. He wanted to let me know that if I ever needed anything for my academic or military career that he could help with, to call him. Sure, he was the hardest and most demanding professor I've ever had. Unlike several other professors I had in this program, he actually took the time and effort to read every word I wrote and gave me dozens of pages of written feedback. I took it as a sign that if I could meet his high standards, I would arrive as a MA-level historian. The best students in the program wanted to study under his direction. The guy has written several prize-winning books, and a couple of my classmates had him as an undergrad prof when they were cadets at the Air Force Academy. They specifically came to Norwich for their MA because he was teaching there. When I started Norwich, I was an E-7: I thought, "Wow! Here's a chance for me as a NCO to study under a professor who taught at the Air Force Academy and whose students felt so highly of him that they followed him to Norwich." So, yeah, he will tell you directly and with no sugar coating if you're not making the grade. Who fills that role at Norwich now that he’s gone? He also told us dozens of times that it was better to hear criticism and critiques from him, in the safe confines of graduate school, than from a scholar or employer on the outside. He was right: the capstone is the only thing that will differentiate one student from the other, and because the rest of the world thinks on-line education is a joke and nothing more than a scam to make universities money education, we had to go the extra mile in our capstones. That’s what he made me do; those with really fragile egos who were hurt when he told them for the first time in their lives that they needed to work harder took issue with that. I'm thankful that I got my degree from Norwich while Dr Grenier was teaching there, and serving as the "capstone Czar." By the way, he never called himself that--that was the nickname the other faculty gave him, you know, like the ”Drug Czar" who runs a sprawling and complicated operation. The MA in history from Norwich is worth a whole lot less now that he's no longer teaching there. Norwich is good for filling a block, but without Dr Grenier, it's not half the experience it once was.

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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful

Awesome

Master of Military History - February 5, 2015
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I am hearing an awful lot of negative feedback about Dr. John Grenier and I feel inclined to disagree. I went through the MMH program from 2009-2011. Professor Grenier taught both my seminar 5 and my capstone seminar. I am actually glad I had seminar 5 with him as it prepared me for exactly what he would expect from a capstone. He holds your papers to an extremely high standard. He is a tough professor. He will not sugarcoat anything. When you get your first graded assignment back you will wonder how you have managed to be successful in graduate school up to that point. As I write this I can find a dozen mistakes in my writing he would criticize me for. After saying all that I am glad I had him. He made me a better writer and historian. I analyzed things more in depth than I ever have and was able to communicate my thoughts better in writing. If it seems like he grades too much on grammar and not enough on content maybe you are right but the two are linked. It is through writing that you express your arguments and analysis. After achieving success in both classes I felt like I had actually accomplished something monumental. I felt like the “capstone” was a true capstone, or, crowning achievement. If you are sensitive to criticism and have your feelings hurt easily, this may not be the professor for you. If you want someone who is going to challenge you at every step and mold you into a better writer and analytical thinker, Grenier is your man.

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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful

Great Program, Capstone is a Nightmare

Master of Military History - December 2, 2014
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I'm writing this a second time as I'm not sure why the first one was not posted. Norwich is a great school, and the MMH is a wonderful program. I enjoyed each and every class, and the instructors were, on the whole, very competent and helpful. The Capstone self-annointed "Czar", however, is a huge and continuing problem. [He] has, through his mean-spiritedness, egotism, and poor organizational and people skills made the ending of the program an absolutely miserable experience. He let us all "hang" on our Capstone topic for week after week, until finally telling us our topics were unacceptable and to start again. Even with an approved topic, getting anything approved by him is a daunting task. A critical and demanding professor is a good thing. One who approaches academia via insults, snide comments, and bullying is not. Most of his assigned students have requested a new advisor, and I have done the same. I simply can no longer abide by his consistent inability to have a rational discourse with his students. When and until he is removed from this position of authority, I cannot recommend this otherwise fine program to fellow students.

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful

Great program until the Capstone

Master of Military History - September 4, 2014
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Up until the Capstone process I had an excellent experience during my in the MMH program. Professors such as Dr. Broom, Dr. House, Dr. Erdman, and Dr. Jennings were nothing but professional, helpful, motivating, and encouraging. Additionally people like Ben Sipe and Lars Nielson were incredibly helpfully with every question or concern I had. However, this was all ruined due to my experience with Dr. John Grenier. We were supposed to have our Capstone subject summited and approved during week 2 of seminar 4. The purpose of this was so the Capstone Czar Dr. Grenier could view and approve our topics. After months of silence and several requests, not a single member of my cohort received approval or feedback. By week 2 of seminar 5 we were suppose to have our topics approved and be assigned advisors. At the beginning of seminar 6, the time specifically dedicated to completing the Capstone, we were finally assigned advisors a week prior to the first assignment but still did not have our topics approved. Dr. Grenier then denied my topic proposal 3 times until we finally settled on a topic. Since we had never heard any feedback since seminar 4, I had purchased books, texts, and sources for my paper and researched a significant amount of my Capstone, only to be told the first week of seminar 6 that my topic did not suffice. Though Dr. Grenier is an accomplished professor I doubt his expertise on insurgency/irregular warfare (which was the topic of my capstone) as there were far more suitable professors with the required specialty. Throughout the seminar Dr. Grenier would take several days to reply to phone calls and emails. Though he was fairly polite on the phone, his comments on papers and emails were downright pompous, condescending, unprofessional, and rude. During my career have dealt with countless arrogant individuals on a frequent basis but I have never dealt with someone so patronizing in my life. His critiques and grammar style requests were nothing that I had seen during the entire time in the program. He would return entire assignments for the first minuscule grammar mistake he could find and would never focus on the actual content of the paper. I often questioned if he even read the whole paper. After I had paid $240 dollars for another PhD from an editing service to proofread and edit my paper, he still chastised me and made irrelevant content comments. I was finally reassigned to Dr. Broom after refusing to put up with the behavior of Dr. Grenier. Dr. Broom was everything I expected from a capstone advisor, we would talk weekly for at least an hour on ideas, he replied to emails or phone calls within hours, provided excellent constructive criticism, supplied and suggested sources to read, and had his colleagues review/edit my paper. Together, we made sure my paper was approved prior to residency. On a side note the residency conference was very impressive, worthwhile, and educational. I was amazed at how organized and well run it was and I had a great time. But my involvement with Dr. Grenier has tarnished my memory of my Norwich experience. I can’t in good faith promote the MMH program, encourage potential students to attend Norwich, or provide donations to the University when I know that Dr. Grenier is still alienating students.

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful

Great program... until the Capstone Process

Master of Military History - August 14, 2014
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With the exception of one seminar professor, I thoroughly enjoyed the program. The material was well-organized, the whole flow helped students get into the groove and the progression from one course/seminar to the next was very-well-executed. The highlights of the program included several professors who were utterly at the top of their game and/or destined for great things. Four of the five seminar professors were/are outstanding military historians with a great publishing track record and, more importantly, an understanding of the "Art of the Historian" to steal a phrase. The downside of the program came in the Capstone process, which was a miserable ordeal... with the misery coming from the self-described "Capstone Czar." This former USAF O-5 (who, IMHO, failed to make O-6 due to his lack of interpersonal skills) not only made an otherwise valuable process into a nightmare, he utterly disgraces every precept that makes Norwich University an excellent institution. He is obsessed with his own brilliance, apparently reinforced by some half-baked, minor and forgettable book prizes. But in reality he is a worthless professor and a third-rate historian -- at least based on his books. He bills himself as "The toughest professor we will ever have..." which is bunk. He is the most vexing, annoying, worthless and under-performing. But tough? Not even close. A tough professor should challenge a student's ideas and intellectual capacities. This twerp merely whined about grammar and passive voice and as long as his students kept feeding grammar bananas to the monkey... they would probably pass. Ultimately, he was relieved as adviser to most of the students in the program for his utter inability to advise and assist... and his utterly bankrupt social skills. For those considering the Norwich Masters in Military History program, I would recommend that until there are significant changes to the Capstone process, find another option. The program is so close to being world class but in the end the NU Capstone Czar utterly destroys everything good that NU has attempted to build. To paraphrase an old Navy Saw "The program was designed by geniuses, but run by idiots."

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful

Overall a good program

Master of Military History - June 26, 2012
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I completed this program in 2011. For the most part, the professors and students are highly motivated individuals who are a pleasure to work with. I do believe the students are high-caliber types and rarely did I feel anyone in my class was just doing the bare minimum to get by. Because of this, the online structure works quite well. There are 5 courses and the final capstone course focused on writing a thesis. I was quite happy with the courses and the material. This has very little to do with names, dates, and places. It has everything to do with the larger theories and trends in historical study. I learned a great deal. There is, however, one bad professor. Anyone with this degree knows exactly who that is. Sadly, he is in a position of authority and treats his students like a tyrannical dictator would abuse the lowly peasants. He uses personal insults, offensive stereotypes, political rants, and subtle threats to keep his grip on things. In no way is his personality conducive to learning. He does teach some classes and if you are the unlucky ones to go through his class, you will spend 3 months keeping your mouth shut and trying to survive. Most troubling was my experience at residency where an entire class almost revolted and the MMH faculty did nothing to resolve the obvious problem. You may or may not deal with this particular professor in a class, but he is the final authority on captstone subjects, so you'll have to get through him at least once. He puts forth minimal effort and often gives nothing more than a scathing sentence in response to any submitted material. I learned the hard way that no one, not even his superiors, will do anything to stop him. I believe this shows a serious lack of leadership on the part of Norwich and the MMH program. It may sound odd, but I've steered several coworkers and friends away from this program because of this. The MMH program is challenging and rewarding, but Norwich really needs to take a look at the value added of an underperforming professor having so much authority despite year after year of complaints from the students.

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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful

Mixed feelings

Master of Military History - May 14, 2012
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My experience with this program has been mixed. All professors marked too easily until the final professor who has no business teaching a class of civilians. He seemed to make it his mission to destroy the self esteem and motivation of his students and bordered on bullying with his comments. For the cost of tuition I would not recommend this course based on the inconsistency of the professors. I honestly have to say that this professor single handedly diminished my esteem for the entire program so if you are lucky enough to avoid him you might be fine. There is truth to the fact that some professors indoctrinated into the military life style cannot interact appropriate with civilians lacking the same indoctrination. In terms of workload, it was rather excessive considering it was supposed to be compatible with people working full time jobs. It would have been ideal if I had a part-time job. If you have a full time job look forward to dropping friends and social engagements for most of the next year and a half.

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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful

I should have listened to the reviews

Master of Military History - November 4, 2011
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Granted, no person ever writes a review before entering a school, however, my experience with the university comes not from attending the classes, but from applying to the school. I started contacting the school last year and I was given the admissions list that I was to complete before I was to be admitted into the school. I completed every aspect of that list and submitted it to the admissions counselor for review. At that time, I was told that my admissions packet looked good and that I was a shoe-in for admittance. However, a day before the admissions decision was to be made, the counselor contacted me, saying they lost my letter of intent. I thought; how could you lose a letter emailed to you? I asked them about it and it became a heated argument between me and the counselor. Anyway, I gave myself a few days to calm down after this exchange and contacted the admissions counselor again. I thought we were back on track when they returned my admissions essay. They said it needed more work. Anyway, a year later, I talked to the same admissions counselor about possibly re-applying to the program again and I even re-submitted the admissions essay for review. It was returned to me and I continued to make changes to it as they prescribed. After I made the changes I thought they were looking for, it was returned. I am an Army veteran and I know from my experience with the military that when a person has a conflict with a person of 'authority', the person would make excuses to keep the person from doing something. I find that kind of attitude and conduct unbecoming of a school that boasts a long tradition. I find it sad that I have to give up on applying for a program that I want to study because someone has a personal conflict with me, but that says something about the school and the people who represent it.

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9 of 16 people found the following review helpful

Excellent and challenging MMH course

Master of Military History - June 30, 2009
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This is a superb and rigorous course. History is a written and read discipline, and you will definitely read and write in this course. That said, the instructors are excellent, the learning is nonstop, and the Residency (something I thought would be disappointing) was the best of all. Take this course! Bob Bailey, MMH 2009

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful

Graduate of MMH

Master of Military History - January 12, 2008
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I was in the first class of MMH rraduates at Norwich in June 2007. Let me say Battles, leaders and the more popular history that you find on a Barnes and Noble shelf will be found at AMU not Norwich. I have attended both, and I like them both. One is an apple and the other a hand grenade. Different schools with different missions. The first class had its issues I can tell you. The program was not fully "baked" when it was rolled out. But within a few modules we saw improvement. There are top notch instructors, outstanding instructors at Norwich, and there are a few frauds and bozos who like to hear the sound of their voice. If we had one complaint it would be that Norwich hires too many uniformed military officers at the field grade level that have all the personality of a cardboard box and cannot and never will interact well with students. They are an arrogant lot in and out of a class. When you are at the MA level, with civilian students, my-way or the highway and "I don't need to explain myself" doesn't really work. Eventually they get found out..But the great ones sure made up for the bozos. Dennis Showalter and John Votaw are legendary MH professors and authors. What state university could have offered me two giants like that? They helped me become a better writer and researcher...most of all the program itself helped me to think critically of MH matters I had never considered. But..big BUT here..the BEST part of Norwich was at the end of the program, when I went to the campus for the residency. It was something special, I must tell you. Nothing fancy.., by now my tution has helped build the new dining facility, but the opportunity to meet my classmates from all over the world was unforgettable. We debated, discussed, presented our Capstone papers and had not just a great time, a meaningful time. I know we drove Dr. Jim Ehrman crazy. We were new the program was new...lots of changes here and there.. But at Residency, he sat with us and took in our criticism..met it head on..apologized for what didn't work, explained what should and thanked us for our patience and hard work. That is what a Department Chair should do. We applauded him for the work he does to make everything work. The computer platform is very user friendly...and you actually get into some great interaction. My AMU experience, I am receiving a Post-Grad certificate in Land Warfare from them, was very different. Absolutely no discussion board interaction...and that's where the action is at Norwich.. Would I recommend Norwich? All I can say is I believe I received the finest MH education that money could buy. I am proud to call Norwich my alma mater...(well one of them anyway...) Russ Stayanoff MMH Class of'07

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful

Challenging Program

Master of Military History - May 27, 2007
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I'm beginning my third seminar (out of 6). The program has signicant writing requirements, and weekely participation requirements. You will find yourself challenged and wanting to put in the effort. Norwich's teachers seem to be tuned in to online learning and so far have been helpful. You will interact with them a great deal in discussions and by email. They call you at the beginning of the seminar to say hello and get to know you. Frankly, although the school makes them do this, it is a nice touch to have the professor's actually show an interest in getting to know their students. This is a structured program, and there are no real electives as each seminar is provided to you in full. The long paper that we've had for each of the first two seminars has been student's choice, and I expect that to continue. This isn't just about battles and leaders. It is a broader course discussing the use of history, the study of history, and critical thought. The support people at the school have been very responsive and friendly.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful

Excellent - if you can manage your time

Master of Military History - May 23, 2007
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I am currently in the middle of this program, and it is excellent thus far. Very challenging work level - make sure you are dedicated to finishing the program, as it requires discipline to keep up with the schedule. This program places a premium on your ability to digest and interpret information. If you don't like to think, its not for you.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful

Promising

Master of Military History - September 15, 2006
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Interesting program. Many top notch instructors. Since this Master of Military History program is very new, there are some growing pains, but the university is bending over backwards to address them.

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Unique, fascinating program

Master of Military History - August 24, 2006
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I should start by saying I have a degree in education from another institution, and have conducted research in distance education. Norwich is doing great things with its online program. They are very committed to the program, that fact is immediately apparent to the new student. Almost paradoxically, the tradition runs so deep there that it practically bleeds through to the distance student. I really appreciated that with a program like military history. The program emphasizes reading, reflecting, and writing. You will quickly learn that this is not your "memorize dates & names" history course. You'll be reading first hand accounts (primary sources) and determining how that fits in to the bigger picture.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful


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