Wilmington University faculty and staff hold retreat at Fort Miles
About 20 Wilmington University faculty and staff recently attended an annual retreat in an underground bunker at World War II-era Fort Miles in Cape Henlopen State Park.
Participants from the university's College of Social and Behavioral Sciences discussed meeting strategic goals for the upcoming year, reviewing faculty credentials and professional experiences, encouraging faculty participation in development activities and continuing to foster relationships with partner schools.
Deb Berke, the university’s Director of Psychology Programs, explained why the group held its retreat at Fort Miles. Her husband, John Roberts, is a board member of the Fort Miles Historical Association and head of the Bunker Busters, a group of volunteers working to restore the fort to its World War II appearance.
"This is such an interesting place. I knew the fort was holding events," she said. "We wanted to do something different. It would be great if we could learn something. We are educators."
Dr. Gary D. Wray, president of the association, welcomed his Wilmington University colleagues, telling them he has been teaching history at the university since 1987. He told the association's history, starting 10 years ago with four members and now numbering 320.
The group's goal is "to create the best World War II museum in the best World War II facility in the country," Wray said.
Fort Miles was built in the early days of the war and housed more than 2,000 men and women who guarded the Delaware Bay and cities such as Wilmington from enemy surface ships. It was armed with 16-inch, 12-inch and smaller guns.
After watching a video of the fort's history, the WU group took a tour of the bunker led by Joe Kosaveach, an association board member and a Bunker Buster. Kosaveach showed the educators a 12-inch gun in the bunker, an anti-aircraft gun recovered from a German U-boat sunk off the Rhode Island coast in 1945 and other exhibits.
Chris Trowbridge, dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, said the university offers classes at 14 locations in Delaware, New Jersey and Maryland, including Dover Air Force Base and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst military facility in New Jersey.
"The master’s degree in homeland security is one of the reasons we are at McGuire," Trowbridge said. "We're always looking for new ways to match students with the right degree. It really is about providing access to great programs and giving students the opportunity to succeed.
“Students from all over the country can now take courses and programs online, with the same expert instructors and real-world academics as in the classroom,” he added.