Sean Normand

Sean Normand

What I have done so far

Northrop Grumman

Principal Investigator (2016 – present)

My team conducts full-spectrum research and analysis (e.g., literature reviews, front-end analysis, experiment design, data collection, and report writing). I serve my team and our customers as the principal investigator by managing and leading the technical planning and execution of our behavioral science research projects.

University of West Florida

(Ed.D) Doctor of Education (earned 2019)

Completing my doctorate was a challenging experience. A similarly arduous experience came to my mind while reflecting on the dissertation process. I graduated from Army Ranger School in October 2000 and graduated from UWF in May 2019. A Ranger School graduate wears a tab on the uniform signifying completion of the course, similar to how the title of “doctor” signifies completing a doctorate. Both the Ranger tab and the “Dr.” are visible indicators that signal to laypeople a measure of expertise. Ranger School is the Army’s premier leadership school. However, graduation from Ranger School is not the culminating event; instead, it is the beginning of a new set of expectations and a new level of responsibility. Completing my dissertation and joining the company of scholars offers an academic parallel: graduation with a doctorate is not a culminating event, but the beginning of new expectations, responsibilities, and obligations to fellow scholars and the scientific community.

University of West Florida

(Ed.S) Educational Specialist (earned 2017)

My time at UWF has been immensely valuable. The coursework I completed working toward my Ed.S provided me a background in the relevant professional literature, deepened my understanding of assessment and data-driven decision making, and provided practical experience developing measures and research skills. I found the coursework so enriching that I decided to continue my education and pursue my doctorate.

Science Applications International Corp

Operations Research Analyst (2013 – 2016)

Responsible for leading, planning, resourcing, and executing multiple <$500k projects per year targeted at enhancing the effectiveness of tactical units. Interfaced with industry and government executives to lead teams towards project completion, on-time, on budget, and exceeding customer expectations.

Senior Instructional Specialist (2010 – 2013)

Directed the activities of seven instructors in the fielding and training office, managing schedules, providing training, writing performance evaluations, and overseeing professional development. Supported the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force (CJSOTF-A) in Afghanistan, managing 11 field service representatives and $5M+ in weapons and equipment

Florida State University

(MBA) Master’s in Business Administration (earned 2010)

The Florida State University business program helped develop my technical skills to complement my real-world experience. I was the oldest student who graduated with the 2010 cohort and had the privilege to go through the program with an incredibly bright class. FSU’s MBA program introduced me to foundational business skills that have helped me at every stage of my career. However, 2010 was a difficult year to be looking for employment, especially for MBAs. There was a glut of business and finance graduate degrees looking for a job after the financial crisis which made my initial job search quite frustrating.

The U.S. State Department

Defensive Marksman (2006 – 2009)

Contractor supporting the U.S. State Department by providing precision threat reduction capability in combat zones. Conducted protective security services for U.S. government officials including the President of the United States, Vice President, Secretary of State, U.S. Ambassadors and other high-ranking government officials. Aided the U.S. diplomatic mission in overseas posts by protecting personnel and assessing security threats against U.S. interests

U.S. Army

Infantry (1999 – 2006)

Assigned to 1st Ranger Battalion 75th Ranger Regiment C co then HHC Sniper Section. Completed Airborne School, Ranger School, Special Operations Sniper School (SOTIC) and Jungle Warfare Training. After active duty, honorably served in the Florida National Guard. Activated in December 2002 to deploy in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003 – 2004). 

Sean Normand Army Ranger

Recent Publications

Stallings, G. M., Normand, S., Brou, R. (2018). Designing Scalable, Objective Assessments of Interpersonal Leadership Skills: U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences.

Army Science and Technology Symposium and Showcase 22 AUG 2018

Download full report here

Stallings, G. M., Normand, S., Graves, T. R., Fike, D., & Brent, L. (2018). Developing air defense artillery warrant officers cognitive skills: An analysis of training needs. Fort Belvoir, VA: U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences

Abstract: This is the first of two reports on a research project intended to determine the cognitive skills required throughout the career of an Air Defense Artillery (ADA) Warrant Officer (WO) and whether the training they receive supports those requirements. The researchers assessed ADA WOs needs based on requirements for successful duty performance and compared these findings to the training WOs receive in formal courses during their career progression. Findings indicated differing requirements for WOs as they progress in their careers and between two ADA WO career paths (140A and 140E). On average across ranks, 17% of WOs reported working in duty positions above their grade indicating a need for skill development throughout their career progression, but especially critical in the junior level WO courses. Recommendations are provided to address identified gaps between the cognitive skills required by grade and duty position, and the common core training WOs traditionally receive prior to promotion.

Download full report here

Graves, T. R., Blankenbeckler, P. N., Normand, S., & Bankus, T. Learning to learn: An interactive multimedia instruction validation. Fort Belvoir, VA: U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences.

Abstract: This research experimentally tested two tailored training instructional design learner- and designer-controlled to refine and validate an existing interactive multimedia instruction (IMI) package. The IMI content focused on training early-career Army Noncommissioned Officers (NCOs) on strategies and techniques for self-directed learning. Self-directed learning is considered an essential professional development skill, supporting NCOs in their career progression. The research was executed in two phases: (a) experimental comparison of two IMI instructional designs, and (b) validation of the final version of the IMI. No statistically significant difference was found between learner-controlled instruction versus designer-controlled instruction. The learner-controlled design incorporated a diagnostic test and feedback to guide the learner in selecting topics on which to focus their efforts; the designer-controlled design provided all learners with the same sequence of topics. The final version merged features of the instructional designs based on feedback from NCOs. In the validation, NCOs enrolled in Basic Leadership Courses (BLC) courses exhibited improved pretest-training-posttest performance and increased confidence in their ability to perform the trained strategies and techniques.

Download full report here

What I’m Working On Now

Enhancing Leader Decision Making in Interpersonal Contexts

Effectively dealing with people is a requirement in any leadership role but is especially important in the U.S. Army. Despite the broad utility of interpersonal leadership skills, methods available to trainers for systematically assessing those skills are limited. Our team developed an interactive set of scenarios that present the user with interpersonal challenges. Our computer-based simulation processed non-primed responses from the participants and the results were fascinating.  The system logic interpreted free-text user responses to real-time conversations with avatar characters. Avatar reactions were influenced by users’ inputs (or lack of inputs) which ultimately determined scenario progress and outcomes. This tool has a wide variety of applications that bridge the gap between less effective static measures of leadership assessment (e.g., self-reports and situational judgment test) and costlier (both in time and resources) live assessment.

Complex Cognitive Skills Research Framework

Our team is working to devise and test a framework for ARI research in the acquisition, retention, and assessment of Soldier complex cognitive skills. Soldiers are becoming responsible for performing increasingly complex cognitive tasks. As such, this research effort will explore the systemic increase in Army complex cognitive tasks as well as develop a conceptual framework comprising paradigmatic dimensions, objects, and relationships that might frame future cognitive research.

Enhancing Sensemaking Skills

Our team is working to develop and validate a conceptual model and measurement tools that enhance individual Soldiers’ acquisition, retention, and application of sensemaking techniques. This research effort focuses on individual sensemaking techniques commonly applied in Air and Missile Defense (AMD) operational contexts, concerning problems of risk management, adversary actions, weapons prioritization, and interpreting the operational environment.

Talent Assessment for Maneuver, Fires, and Effects

Our team is conducting front-end analysis and development for assessing performance during a variety of competitive events that are critical discriminators for talent management in combat arms MOSs and Branches. Competitive events include the Expert Infantryman Badge (EIB), the Expert Field Medical Badge (EFMB), and the new Expert Soldier Badge (ESB).  The primary objectives of this research are to examine effective and innovative ways to measure individual Soldier and Leader, squad, and crew tasks so that the data can be used to manage, track and report individual and team performance. This research will compare, contrast and leverage these findings for individual, squad and crew training purposes.

Get In Touch

Interested in collaborating on a project? I am always interested in discussing partnerships with individuals and small businesses with applied research expertise. Reach out to me on LinkedIn.

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