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Liberty News

Trips to National Defense University complement classroom learning

March 9, 2012 : By Bethany Pico/Liberty University News Service

Dr. Charles Murphy, right, stands with his government students at the National Defense University on Thursday, March 8.


Dr. Charles Murphy, a professor at Liberty University’s Helms School of Government, recently gave his students an experience that no other undergraduate students at other universities have had.

On Thursday, March 8, he took his classes to a special symposium at the National Defense University (NDU) in Washington, D.C.

NDU is the premier center for Joint Professional Military Education and is under the direction of the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff. Its main campus is located on Fort Lesley J. McNair base in Washington, D.C.

The students heard from highly distinguished government experts at the “Horn of Africa Food Security Crisis: Implications for United States Africa Command” symposium. Speakers included ambassadors with USAID, U.S. Africa Command and the UN, the Administrator of USAID, and military generals.

For 22 years, Murphy has taken more than 600 students to symposiums at NDU. He first began taking students when he was a professor at Tennessee Temple University.

Murphy, who has had a professional career in the U.S. Marine Corps and the Central Intelligence Agency as well as being a pastor, said he believes learning from experts in the field is essential to his students’ educational career.

“This is one of the advantages of the Helms School. We want the professional input to go directly to the students and give them the chance to network with professionals,” Murphy said.

Murphy is the only professor in the country who brings undergraduate students to the symposium.

Other opportunities have resulted from the trips he takes there every semester and the relationships he has built with participants and speakers. Just last week, he took 10 students to the nation’s capital for a roundtable discussion with Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Secretary General of NATO. The event was by special invitation only.

Senior International Relations major Joshua Pinkerton said as a missionary child who grew up in the Congo, the topic of Thursday’s symposium was of great value to him.

“This trip was an awesome experience. We got to make some great contacts with a lot of people and learn about the food crisis, how it’s affecting national security,” he said. “I think that anyone who wants to get real-world experience should definitely go on this trip.”

  • The Helms School of Government currently offers 10 residential degree programs with specializations in Politics and Policy, International Relations, Pre-Law, Criminal Justice, Strategic and Intelligence Studies, as well as several minors. Distance learning degrees are also offered through Liberty University Online.

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