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UMGC Administrator to Lead Military Education Association

Gil Klein
By Gil Klein
Keith Hauk presents Master Sgt. Marie L. Villegas, US Air Force (Retired) with the Gen. John W. Vessey Jr. Student Veteran of the Year Award at a Veterans Day ceremony at UMGC in 2019. Hauk will serve for the next year as president of the National Association of Institutions for Military Education Services.

Keith Hauk, the associate vice president at University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC), has been selected to serve as president of the National Association of Institutions for Military Education Services (NAIMES).

Hauk, a retired colonel with the U.S. Army, in January took over the helm of the leading national association that works to safeguard and improve academic opportunities for military-affiliated students. He will serve as the head of the organization for two years.

“It’s a natural extension of my work with UMGC,” said Hauk, who is in his eighth year as associate vice president in Stateside Military Operations. “It’s just in a broader context, much more strategic, because it’s not just engaging with other schools that serve military students like we do, but also engaging with the Department of Defense and military services directly.”

Hauk said he was drawn to NAIMES because of the advocacy role it plays with the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Veterans Administration (VA). NAIMES promotes tuition assistance and other benefits to help military students attain their education goals.

About 2,000 schools are certified by the Department of Defense to receive tuition assistance for active military personnel, he said. They make up NAIMES’ membership. Only a handful of the schools educate tens of thousands of military students, as UMGC does. Most NAIMES members serve just a small number of military students.  

Because of its leadership in providing education to servicemembers, UMGC has been at the forefront of NAIMES for years. Hauk is the third UMGC administrator to serve as its president.

UMGC President Gregory Fowler said Hauk’s new role is important to the university “because so much of our work since our founding more than 75 years ago has been aimed at educating active-duty military. We have a commitment to stand up for these students because earning degrees is so important to their careers.”

A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, Hauk’s Army career took him to bases across the United States, Central America, Europe, and the Middle East, including combat tours in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. He retired from the military after 30 years of service.

He holds advanced degrees from the Colorado School of Mines and the U.S. Naval War College.

After leaving the military, Hauk was attracted to UMGC because “I wanted to keep serving. I wanted to do something that had more of an immediate impact on servicemembers and veterans.”

Along with his administrative role, Hauk is an adjunct instructor of the introductory Program and Career Exploration (PACE) classes that teach incoming students how to navigate and get the most out of their UMGC education. Hauk said PACE classes enable him to hear student concerns that he is able to pass along in order to improve the UMGC experience.

Hauk’s top goals in the NAIME presidency include countering restrictions that limit servicemembers’ access to tuition assistance. He said those restrictions are not just within DOD policies. Other military branches also have policies that affect tuition.

He also wants to address the amount of tuition assistance that servicemembers receive.

“It’s capped at $250 per credit hour,” Hauk said, “and it’s probably been that way for 20-plus years. That’s a difficult issue because of budget constraints, but it’s going to get discussed.”

He added that the DOD also struggles to define what constitutes a quality education beyond the parameters set by the Department of Education. “We want to engage with DOD about how we assess quality,” he said.

In addition, Hauk said he wants to discuss a range of issues with the VA, including  military housing allowances and the way they are allotted, which varies depending whether a student is taking in-class, hybrid, or online courses.