ERIC Number: EJ923851
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Reference Count: 9
Commitment to Liberal Education at the United States Air Force Academy
Enger, Rolf C.; Jones, Steven K.; Born, Dana H.
Liberal Education, v96 n2 p14-21 Spr 2010
Located just north of Colorado Springs, Colorado, the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) is one of the nation's federally funded military service academies. With an enrollment of approximately 4,400 undergraduates, the academy offers an integrated four-year curriculum of academics, athletics, leadership and character development, military training, and airmanship programs. The Air Force Academy faces many of the same challenges that confront more traditional colleges and universities. The demands placed on the twenty-first-century military are nothing short of extraordinary, and officers are being asked to do things now that would have once been considered unimaginable. As recently as twenty-five years ago, America was involved in the cold war, and the focus of the American military was on defending the country from the Soviet Union. Today, the Soviet Union no longer exists, and the American military is fighting a very different kind of war in the Middle East and throughout the world. Even the most junior air force officers are asked to succeed in the face of great complexity, to operate without senior leader oversight, to identify hurdles and ways to overcome them, to perceive and adapt to the perspectives of others, and to take on tasks for which they have not been trained. To succeed in these conditions, they need to prepare in many of the same ways as their civilian counterparts at colleges and universities across the country. In short, air force officers need the broad-based knowledge, the intellectual skills, and the personal and professional responsibilities that are hallmarks of a liberal education. The founders of the Air Force Academy acknowledged that the best way to build this capable air force officer was through a broad liberal education, spanning the basic sciences, engineering, social sciences, and humanities. In a similar vein, today's air force officer needs a critical set of responsibilities, skills, and knowledge in order to succeed, regardless of the military, technological, political, or cultural challenges he or she may face. It is for that reason that the Air Force Academy remains committed to the tenets of liberal education.
Descriptors: Military Service, General Education, Military Personnel, War, Military Training, Liberal Arts, Military Schools, Undergraduate Students, Skill Development, Colleges
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A