School of Advanced Air and Space Studies featured at review board|
by Rebecca Sheldon
Chief, internal division, Air University Public Affairs
11/12/2010 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- Air University's School of Advanced Air and Space Studies was one of the topics highlighted in last week's Educational Program Review Board. Attended by senior leadership representing all Air University schools, the board was a forum to exchange ideas about accredited AU education programs. It also offered a venue for sharing best practices among the schools.
Col. Tim Schultz, School of Advanced Air and Space Studies commandant, called the board "a vehicle for change."
Key components of the review board are peer review and familiarizing AU faculty with courses taught at schools other than their own. It is also a tool to validate and improve on the various programs of study at AU. Colonel Schultz used the development of a SAASS core course on cyberpower as an example of the board's value.
As presented to the board, the key pillars of SAASS feature a rigorous curriculum, expert faculty and exceptional students. Colonel Schultz explained that graduates of the course are "people who can advocate for joint use of airpower and other forms of national power in an increasingly complex world. We want to develop officers who can think outside the box."
SAASS currently has a student-faculty ratio of three-to-one with all faculty members having PhDs. The school has an international reputation, and Colonel Schultz said the program has its highest number of foreign students since its inception in 1991. This year's class has students from Australia, India, France, Germany, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
Dr. Bruce Murphy, Air University Chief Academic Officer, said, "Everyone should be an advocate of this program. The new SAASS-based Air University PhD in Military Strategy doesn't replace other available doctoral programs, but it gives a small number of officers a focused pathway for service as strategy makers."
Statistics presented showed that 100 percent of SAASS graduates are promoted to lieutenant colonel, followed by 93 percent reaching colonel (98 percent at the board and 50 percent below the zone). Promotion rates are 30 percent for those who reach the 0-7 board. The most recent colonel promotion list had 13 SAASS graduates in the zone and 15 graduates below the zone.
Colonel Schultz stated that the SAASS program is exceptionally challenging and equips its students with the intellectual tools to grapple with a constantly evolving security environment. He emphasized in the SAASS summary presented to the board that highly qualified faculty members set a gold standard in military education. Additionally, he related the class continues to attract first-rate students who are given the opportunity to learn about strategy as well as leadership and receive the benefit of obtaining a post-graduate degree without compromising their military career advancement.
For more information on the SAASS program visit: http://www.au.af.mil/au/saass/.