What I feel is a real strong point of the education that we provide the cadets here is our orientation towards hands-on applications.
At the Air Force Academy, there's definitely more than just the academic portion of a college life.
One of the things that we do right from the beginning is encourage our students to be thinkers, not just observers, not just sponges in the classroom, but no kidding thinking about the material that's being presented, the problems that we're asking them to solve.
Since we have full engineering backgrounds, they're taking chemistry, physics, bio, history. International study is really important here. So I currently have a student in Sri Lanka. I had a student last year in Jordan. They come back learning so much.
Every cadet does a real world project that is actually paid for from an outside agency. The projects are done in real time, and they're done with the oversight of not only their research directors, but also the course in general.
All of our classroom instruction is based on applications and relating the instruction in the classroom to how it applies to the real world. Our introductory stat sequence is a full year where they start literally on the first week designing research. And the second semester, they're doing research that will end up being published at the conference.
I definitely don't think other universities give that to their freshmen and sophomores. These are active facilities where we're doing active research for a variety of organizations throughout the Air Force, the Department of Defense, and NASA.
Their projects are also presented to the people who actually paid the Academy to actually get the work done. The projects that we're asking them to engage in as an opportunity to develop leaders who really are thinking about choices that they have to make and consequences of things and even creative ways of approaching problems and projects.
Use your brain-- not your book, but your brain.
And that's a part of what fosters, I think, our very strong academic reputation.
That's why it's great to teach here because every day I walk into class, and I know we're all on the same page. I'm on the same page as my students. They're on the same page as me. That's what makes it all OK-- better than OK.