An army captain could be your next teacher

Active duty army captains teach multiple courses that are available to all FAU students.


Captain Shantel Glass salutes the flag. He is a military science professor at FAU. Photo by Alex Rodriguez

Ross Mellman , Managing Editor

From fighting in the battlefields of Afghanistan to teaching in a classroom at FAU, U.S. Army Captains, Shantel Glass and Jose Hernandez, have never stopped giving back to their country.


When you arrive to your first day of class in the Military Science department, you will see that your teacher is dressed in a full military uniform, and you will hear other students reply to the teacher by saying “yes sir.”


While your first reaction may be to think that you signed up for the wrong course, or have walked into the wrong building, you have indeed shown up to the right place.


Courses offered in the Military Science Department are taught by active duty U.S. Army captains. They offer courses varying from leadership to history, and they’re available to all FAU students regardless of one’s major.


Meet your p̶r̶o̶f̶e̶s̶s̶o̶r̶s̶ captains


Captain Shantel Glass

Captain Shantel Glass, a Mississippi native who has been an engineer in the army for 13 years and deployed seven times, is an instructor of the U.S. Military History course.


Having traveled to over 30 countries during his time both in the military and as a collegiate athlete, Captain Glass acknowledged that being in the military has enabled him to see many different perspectives.


One of Captain Glass’ main efforts as an instructor is to prevent students from jumping to conclusions too quickly. That is why he makes an active effort to challenge students to gain their own perspective by reading multiple sources.


“The best way to understand something is by reading several sources, which is why I love history. I can read about the civil war for five years and never read every source because there’s over 10,000 books written,” he said.


He stressed the fact that history can be taught from many different viewpoints, and that his role to enable students to become independent thinkers.


For students entering the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program who will eventually become officers in the military, Captain Glass said that military history “provides them with a unique skill set. You know when to adapt, when to make a decision on whether to stay with, or discontinue their course of action.”


The ability to adapt is a point that he often harks back to when teaching, as he mentions that not every scenario can always be answered or responded to ‘by the book’.


Yet Captain Glass said that military history is also important to learn for people who will not enter the military and described the dangers of a society that is unaware of its roots.


“We’re living in a time where history has to be elevated to another level of importance in our school system because a lot of individuals don’t understand the country that they live in,” he said.


His personal connection to his hometown, family history, and his curiosity about the painful past of American slavery helped him appreciate the importance of military history.


“I’m from the South, my hometown is still segregated … a lot of people don’t even understand that what occurred during the civil war still matters today,” he said. “When you don’t have history, the next generation never understands their culture, their society, their national history.”


Captain Jose Hernandez

Captain Jose Hernandez, who was sent to Afghanistan after only 90 days in the army, served multiple deployments in the Middle East and in South America. He is also an instructor for the U.S. Military History course.


As someone who participated in an ROTC program during his time as an undergraduate at American University, Captain Hernandez realized the influential role that an instructor can have on their students.


“I put my instructors on a pedestal, they groomed me and molded me into who I am today. Now I really want to be a mentor to young officers because I want to return the favor.”


Captain Hernandez said that it was only in the past few years that he realized how important courses about military history can be to future officers in the army.


“I was never a fan of military history as a kid, in college I never learned it, I’ve realized that I wish I would’ve taken a course like this because the information could have been applied. There’s things that I can come across that past lessons could teach me.”


In class, he often advises the students to make connections between past and present events, and he reiterates his belief that “history doesn’t always repeat itself, but it definitely rhymes.”


For FAU students who aren’t in ROTC, Captain Hernandez believes that the leadership styles and planning processes taught during his course “can absolutely be applied outside of the army because these are attributes necessary to obtain leadership positions in competitive companies.”


While acknowledging that his military background makes him different from other teachers on campus, Captain Hernandez stated that “I wouldn’t say that we’re better or worse than other teachers on campus. Our military experience helps us apply the information to the cadets … We could take a textbook and teach military tactics all day, but the experience we have from learning it first hand is by far the most important.”


A unique classroom experience

In accordance with both instructors’ commitment to teach their students leadership, their courses focus on everything from the Revolutionary War to modern-day terrorism.


A typical examination of a battle will include a brief summary lecture on the events leading up to the battle, along with a video of how the battle unfolded. Students are then asked to identify the relevant tactics that were used, to identify the key generals, and to explain the significance and outcome of the battle.


The discussions often include looking at the tactics used by both competing sides. Battles are always compared to those previously studied in order to determine if one army adapted, and to then examine how that adaptation may or may not have affected the outcome of the fight.


While students are expected to complete the readings before class, the battles are often summarized by the instructor prior to class debate. Students can expect to be asked to debate the material in groups or individually, which may take place either while standing in front of the class or while seated. Students are often advised to express their own opinion and to come to their own conclusions based upon reading multiple sources.


Gene Vinoya, a junior criminal justice major and student in Captain Hernandez’s class, said that “classes are definitely more interactive… There’s more of an informal method of instruction and student dialogue with each other.”


The Military Science department at FAU remains to be hidden, as many non-ROTC students are unaware of its existence.


From its heavy focus on class participation to having instructors who serve in the military, students who enroll in a military science course may have an experience that is unique only to this department.


“I haven’t quite seen other classes formatted in this manner besides those within Military Science,” Vinoya added.


“The instructors combine with the text material with his or her real-world experience, to deliver practical and easy to understand information that’s useful to all students.”

Life during and after ROTC

Captain Hernandez gives his take


  • “We are always looking for qualified recruits. Our program gives students a taste of military science in general, the idea behind it is to prepare future leaders to commission to the United States Army as Second Lieutenants. We are looking for agile leaders who are physically fit and competent, high GPA, academically inclined, future born leaders.”
  • “ROTC can provide a solid job after your university, it gives good experience and a good paycheck. It gives them a very high leg up in the hiring community. It looks good on resumes and many employers are looking for military experience because that speaks volumes. We can benefit from good leaders and they can benefit from us too.”


What courses does the military science department offer?


  • Foundations of the U.S. Airforce
  • The Evolution of USAF (US Air Force) Air and Space Power
  • Air Force Leadership Studies
  • Basic Leadership
  • Leadership and Teamwork
  • U.S. Military History
  • Leadership and Ethics
  • Leadership and Management


Ross Mellman is the managing editor of the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @RossMellman.