AF Academy offers cadets optional diversity and inclusion minor
Story by Ray Bowden
U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. – Cadets at the Air Force Academy can now enroll in an optional diversity and inclusion minor offered at the school.
All service academies offer cadets and midshipmen coursework in diversity areas, including women’s studies, African American studies, sociology and more.
“Defense Department diversity programs support mission readiness. You don’t have to choose one over the other,” said the Academy’s diversity, equity and inclusion offer, Joseph Looney, a retired colonel and Academy graduate with a doctorate in counseling psychology. “Diversity programs enhance the critical and creative thinking we need to be mission ready and tackle challenges in today’s war fighting environment.”
Marissa Howard, a cadet third class and behavioral science major, enrolled in the sociology course needed for the minor.
“Understanding people is key to cohesion and being a decent human being,” she said. [Diversity and inclusion] is important to developing a sense of considerateness to those you’re surrounded by – friends, family, neighbors and more.”
Robert Kersten, a cadet second class and a behavioral science major, enrolled in the class, race and ethnicity course needed for the minor.
“I find incredible value getting insight into cadets’ lives and becoming more knowledgeable by hearing stories about events I never have, and likely never will, experience,” he said. “We talk about incredibly heavy topics present today, and the [class, race and ethnicity course] allows cadets to examine social problems. Ideally, we would have diversity and inclusion integrated into every service members’ approach.”
The end goal of the Academy’s curriculum is to best prepare cadets to lead Airmen and Guardians in war fighting operations in an increasingly diverse joint-environment and multicultural society, Looney said..
“Teaching cadets how to think – not what to think – equips them to lead their teams of Airmen and Guardians through unique challenges and opportunities as commissioned officers,” he said.