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Air Force Academy welcomes more than 100 new faculty members

By Ray Bowden, U.S. Air Force Academy Public Affairs 

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. – Scores of newly hired faculty members who completed a week-long orientation course this week can now get down to business: teaching cadets.

The course familiarizes professors and instructors with the Academy’s mission, honor code and leader of character framework, said the school’s director of faculty development, Marc Napolitano.

“The new faculty orientation workshops promote teaching practices most conducive to cadet learning that best facilitate [cadets’] development into leaders of character,” he said.

Napolitano said the orientation for the more-than 100 new faculty members emphasizes evidence-based, inclusive teaching practices and continuous professional development for the faculty and cadets.

“We ensure faculty members begin their Academy teaching careers with a clear sense of the mission and a practical set of teaching skills that allow them to achieve the mission,” he said.

Last year’s orientation occurred online due to coronavirus restrictions but those challenges bode well for the future of the program, Napolitano said.

“We created outstanding online resources for last year’s orientation and are exploring ways to repurpose those resources,” he said. The 2020-2021 school year required us all to learn more about online teaching and we should continue to look for ways to apply best practices in using educational technology, even as we transition out of the COVID era.”

During the orientation, Brig. Gen. Linell Letendre, the Academy’s dean, welcomed the new staff members and the critical thinking and conversations they’ll offer cadets.

“We owe our cadets a robust education that develops and challenges their abilities of how to think – not what to think,” she said. “The profession of arms deserves nothing less.”