Dr. Dorothy Reed greets Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
Air University chief of academic affairs Dr. Dorothy Reed, left, is retiring after 39 years of service. She is shown greeting then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice alongside then-AU Commander Lt. Gen. Stephen Lorenz in April 2008. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Melanie Rodgers Cox)
AU chief of academic affairs to retire

by Scott Knuteson
Air University Public Affairs

12/17/2010 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- Air University's chief of academic affairs and a key figure in securing academic accreditation for Air University will retire Dec. 31 after 39 years in public service.

Dr. Dorothy Reed readied the university for its initial accreditation in 2004 and reaffirmation in 2009 by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. She has worked in various capacities at Air University since 1975.

"It's a real academic maturity that has happened over the years, mainly due to her work," said Dr. Bruce Murphy, Air University's chief academic officer.

Part of that maturity process has meant raising the university's level of interaction and standing in the world of academia.

"Dr. Reed has played an enormously important role in transforming Air University from a strictly military institution to one that embraces the university culture," said Dr. Jack Hawkins, president and chancellor of Troy University and chairman of Air University's Board of Visitors.

The Board of Visitors relies on her, he said, because she understands the military environment, as well as the civilian community.

Her work as liaison to the Board of Visitors has influenced the direction of Air University.

"Dr. Reed has worked with the Board of Visitors to give us recommendations that have made Air University a better place," Dr. Murphy said.

Her effectiveness as a liaison was bolstered by her enthusiasm for the job.

"She's passionate about Air University, and I think her passion has made her singularly important," Dr. Hawkins said.

Added to that drive is an astute and rational approach, said retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Joseph Redden, Air University commander from 1996 to 1999.

"Dot was the key figure in the many accreditation efforts we were going through at the time, and her fine hand was seen in every one of our major initiatives," he said. "I was truly blessed to be one of the beneficiaries of Dr. Reed's exceptionally logical thinking and wise counsel."

Part of what made her so effective was her ability to synthesize seemingly disparate ideas into a clear way ahead.

"[She] was great at taking the random thoughts from our many meetings and turning them into plans for action," the general said.

A native of Alabama, Dr. Reed completed her education at the University of Alabama.

Under a National Defense Education Act Scholarship, she developed her analytical skills with an undergraduate degree in chemistry, followed by a master's degree in math and science education.

After that, she taught high school in Huntsville.

Dr. Reed began her civilian career with the Air Force after completing her doctorate under a U.S. Office of Education Graduate Research Training Fellowship.

Her first position with the Air Force was as an education specialist in tests and measurements with the Extension Course Institute, the Air Force's correspondence school, on Maxwell's Gunter Annex. There, she helped write career development courses and development programs for Airmen.

"By her work at Gunter alone, she literally influenced hundreds of thousands of Airmen over the years," Dr. Murphy said.

After three years working on Gunter, she came to Air University as an education specialist.

In her current position, as chief of academic affairs, she is responsible for curriculum oversight, Air University advisory boards, degree granting and accreditation, education technology, evaluation and institutional research, as well as the university's academic policies.

Hers is a great story of how a civilian in the Air Force can develop and grow to become very influential in the operations of a complex military institution, Dr. Murphy said.

Dr. Reed recently received the Meritorious Civilian Service Award for her work.