Teaching at the US Air Force Academy

The United States Air Force Academy is in many ways like any other elite university. Students pick a major, attend class, join clubs, and play sports. Faculty generally teach three or four courses per semester, and do research and service work. But as Jeff Dyche, a former teacher at the AFA, explains in the new , there are some very important differences as well, differences that most people are unaware of. Most faculty members are in the Air Force, serving at the AFA as part of a tour of duty.  They generally do not have a terminal degrees, and civilian teachers don’t have tenure. Research is only allowed if it directly relates to the mission of the Air Force, and those decisions—as well as most other academic or research decisions—are made by administrators with military backgrounds, not academic ones.

Dyche spent about six years teaching at the AFA and his article about the school, “The US Air Force Academy: Elite Undergraduate College?” is a great glimpse into a unique academic environment. Read the whole article here.

One thought on “Teaching at the US Air Force Academy

  1. I have three points: 1) When I was suspended ten years ago for an e-mail exchange with Air Force Academy Cadet Robert Kurpiel, it was the AFA that defended my academic freedom. In particular, Captain Jim Borders in particular, apologized to me for my treatment by the cadet wing with the dissemination of my e-mail. I also apologized for the acerbic tone of the e-mail. My point: the academy demonstrated greater commitment to academic freedom in my case than did my university and was the only academic institution in the US that defended me. FIRE led the counterattack and saved my position. The author might wish to acquaint himself with my case if he is unaware of it. It was the most publicised suspension case of this century. 2) “The department heads, relatively seasoned with multiple tours as instructor, then professor, have true tenure and may remain at their positions until forced to retire at age sixty-four at the rank of brigadier general.” If tenured faculty are forced to retire at age 64 then they are not truly tenured. It is illegal for civilian tenured faculty in the US to be subject to mandatory retirement and that should apply to all academic institutions. 3) I found the article informative, useful and an alert to liberate the academies from both academic and procedural deficiencies normally afforded civilian postsecondary institutions.

Your comments are welcome. They must be relevant to the topic at hand and must not contain advertisements, degrade others, or violate laws or considerations of privacy. We encourage the use of your real name, but do not prohibit pseudonyms as long as you don’t impersonate a real person.