Air University Accreditation: Air University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate, masters, and doctor of philosophy degrees. Contact the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Air University.
Accreditation of the Air University is reaffirmed every ten years by the Southern Association of Colleges and School Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The reaffirmation process requires AU to demonstrate compliance with SACSCOC Principles of Accreditation.
SACSCOC is the recognized institutional accrediting body in the eleven U.S. Southern states and in Latin America for those institutions of higher education that award degrees.
The establishment of an off-campus educational site is governed by AU policy. In addition, the process must be reviewed in reference to the SACSCOC policy on Substantive Change.
SACSCOC Comprehensive Standard 6.2.a requires that all member institutions positively demonstrate that they employ competent faculty members qualified to accomplish the mission and goals of the institution.
Accredited institutions are required to notify SACSCOC of changes in accordance with the substantive change policy and, when required, seek approval prior to the initiation of changes.
Air Force Institute of Technology: In 2008, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges approved Air University's request for separate accreditation of Air University's Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT). AFIT is separately accredited by the Higher Learning Commission to award masters and doctor of philosophy degrees. Contact the Higher Learning Commission at 230 North LaSalle Street, Suite 7500, Chicago, Illinois 60604 or call 800-621-7440 for questions about the accreditation of the Air Force Institute of Technology.
Air University (AU), a federal military institution headquartered at Maxwell Air Force Base is a component of Air Education and Training Command (AETC). AU is the lead agent for all Air Force education. AU, the Intellectual and leadership center of the Air Force, has a unique mission and is primarily dedicated to Air Force education. As a federal organization, the US Congress has authorized AU to award degrees appropriate to its mission. AU is a Level V degree-granting institution accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
AU Mission Alignment
The Department of Defense (DOD) relies on professional military education (PME) and joint professional military education (JPME) to prepare its military personnel throughout their service careers.
AU mission is to produce future airmen and launch leaders of character, educated to think critically, strategically, and jointly to master and deliver superior space and airpower in support of national security objectives. AU’s student achievement criterion for all educational opportunities including Doctor of Philosophy, Masters and associate degree granting programs, professional military education [PME], professional continuing education [PCE] and certificate programs align with the institutions’ mission.
AU identifies, evaluates, and publishes goals and outcomes for student achievement appropriate to the institution’s mission, the nature of the students it serves, and the kinds of programs offered. The institution uses multiple measures to document student success. These measures include the following criteria include: enrollment data; retention, graduation, course completion, and job placement rates; state licensing examinations; student portfolios; or other means of demonstrating achievement of goals.
Air University Achievement and Mission Alignment
Like other military higher education institutions, AU sets a high achievement level for selected student where completion of in-resident programs [PME and PCE] is expected for continued professional advancement. AU expects degree attainment. Programs include in-residence [IR] and distance learning [DL] education programs. Production numbers are expected for in-residence [IR] programs for two degree awarding programs in Air War College and Air Command and Staff College [ACSC]. Other production numbers for in-resident programs include Squadron Officer School [SOS], CLA, SNCOA and NCOA school/programs. To measure and demonstrate student success data is grouped by awarding college/school.
Specifically, Professional Military Education (PME) programs provided for officer, enlisted, and civilian development. The following offer officer development: Air War College (AWC), Air Command and Staff College (ACSC) and Squadron Officer School (SOS). The following offer enlisted development: Chief Leadership Academy (CLA), Air Force Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy (AFSNCOA), Noncommissioned Officer Academy (NCOA) and Airman Leadership School (ALS). Note, civilians may attend these programs at the appropriate equivalent grade.
Student Achievement Metrics
AU determines student success and student achievement by measuring the following criteria for both in-residence and distance learning programs. These include degree awarding, certificate bearing, credit bearing, IR and/or DL programs.
Air University identifies three student achievement criteria to measure student success:
The sections below highlight AU’s student achievement performance relative to each selected criterion.
PRODUCTION RATES: Enrollment Goals
Air University in-residence programs have target production numbers assigned to each program as predetermined enrollment goals. Production numbers are designed to ensure an adequate amount of force are trained in leadership, strategic thinking and other specialized skill sets. AU strives enroll a minimum of >80% of predetermined production goals. The following in-residence programs were evaluated for production success for academic year 2020 through 2021: 1. Professional military education 2. Leadership development 3. Professional continuing education 4. Accession and AFJROTC. Production rates (enrollment rates), for in-residence programs, are shown below.
Table 1. Production Rates of In-Residence Professional Military Education [PME] Programs
Officer [O] Enlisted [E]
Goal Met/ Not Met
Officer In-Residence Average Production Rate
Enlisted In-Residence Average Production Rate
Table 2. Production Rates for In-Residence Leader Development Programs
First Sergeant Academy
Civilian Leadership Development School
Commander’s PD School
Enlisted PME Instructor Courses
Flag Officer Courses
Table 3. Production Rates for In-Residence Professional Continuing Education [PCE] Programs
Civil Engineering School
School of Systems and Logistics
Defense Financial Management & Comptroller School
USAF Chaplain Corps College
Force Support PD School
Table 4. Production Rates for Accessions & AFJROTC Programs
COMPLETION RATES: Number of Degree Conferred
Air University uses completion rates or number of degrees conferred as a measure of student success and program achievement. AU does not measure or calculate graduation rates. Graduation rates are associated with IPEDS and measures first time degree seeking undergraduate students, time to graduation including measurement of how many students in the original cohort will graduate in six years [150%] or those with the ability to complete their degree/diploma/program within a certain timeframe. Air University is not an IPEDS participant therefore AU uses percentage of completions as our student achievement success rate verses IPEDS graduate rates.
Program completion is an important factor for AU student’s professional development, academic preparation and advancement. The objective of each program is to graduate the entire cohort of enrolled students. Each program has a set track of courses that enrolled students are required to complete, usually in unison, as the cohort advances through the degree/program requirements. Completion rate is aligned with the institutional goal to graduate all enrolled students. The benchmark for program completions and percentage of degree conferral is > 80%. The attrition rate is minimal.
Completion rates are presented for the following in-residence programs: 1. Professional military education 2. Leadership development 3. Professional continuing education 4. Accession and AFJROTC. Completion and degree conferral rates are shown below.
Table 5. Completion Rates for In-Residence Professional Military Programs
Table 6. Completion Rates for In-Residence Leader Development Programs
Table 7. Completion Rates for In-Residence Professional Continuing Education [PCE]
Table 8. Accessions & AFJROTC Completion Rates
Table 9. Test Pilot School Completion Rates
Criterion: Test Pilot School
Master of Science Test Flight Engineering Degree Program Completions
13 Required Sub Concentrations
Criterion: Core Sub Specialties
Performance Data Standardization
Aircraft Flight Mechanics
Flight Control Design/Analysis
Handling Qualities Evaluation
Mission Systems Fundamentals
Individual Mission Systems
Integrated Mission Systems
Plan, Execute, Analyze, Report, Special Subjects (PEARS)
Sub Specialties Completion Total:
GRADUATE PERFORMANCE: Student Achievement PLO for Air War College [AWC]
Program Learning Outcomes and Student Success
AU developed an institution wide review process for the assessment of program learning outcomes to measure student achievement for all academic units. The goal of each program and unit, is to have a high level of positive agreement on indirect assessment for program learning outcomes.
The AWC PME program is accredited for joint professional military education (JPME) phase II as defined for senior level colleges in the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Instruction (CJCSI) 1800.01E, Officer Professional Military Education Policy.
AU has indirect assessment achievement data for in-residence programs aggregated by college, program or unit. Where applicable, achievement data are presented as an indirect measurement of achievement. Data are not readily available for all units therefore results presented include student achievement for Air War College [AWC] Resident programs and special concentrations.
Program learning outcomes specific to AWC included the following:
Outcomes are presented for the main body (Main) of AWC students and those in the concentrations of Grand Strategy Seminar (GSS), Joint Warrior Studies Seminar (JWSS) and the West Space Seminar (WSS). Degree attainment: Master of Strategic Studies.
Two survey assessment areas are presented for program achievement; end of course survey [EOC] and exit surveys. The achievement benchmark: minimum of 80% of students will indicate positive agreement [>80] on survey assessments for program outcomes.
Results are presented in the following section. Result format will include presenting assessment data for the main body (EOC followed by exit), concentrations: GSS (EOC followed by exit), JWSS (EOC followed by exit) and WSS (EOC followed by exit). Results indicate high achievement levels throughout the program and areas of concentration. Achievement criteria were attained and met within all categories for all program learning outcomes (see tables below). All AWC PLO survey assessments indicated high levels of agreement therefore all outcomes were met.
Table 10. AWC Program Learning Outcome Assessment Results EOC and Exit Surveys
[Criterion] Survey / Assessment Measurement
Main Body [EOC]
GSS Exit Survey
JWSS Exit Survey
WSS Exit Survey
Additional Student achievement data forthcoming. Results will be updated accordingly.
OAAI: The Office of Institutional Analytics and Research Data is in the process of building the infrastructure for a robust centralized integrated data system. This will include data validation and various quality assurance checkpoints throughout the data cleaning process. Reported data was compiled from various sources.
AIR UNIVERSITY QUALITY ENHANCEMENT PLAN (QEP)
Leadership & Ethics Across the Continuum of Learning
Air University’s Quality Enhancement Plan focuses on the development of a sound conceptual and theoretical basis for the development of leadership. Informed by an intensive leadership and ethics literature review, Air University developed a conceptual AUQEP framework to integrate the intersection of ethical and strategic leadership. The framework is designed to create a deliberate and comprehensive leadership development program for the University and the Air Force. The framework focuses on three specific strategic capacities that are foundational traits and skills necessary to create leaders who understand and display ethical leadership within the demanding Air Force mission. These capacities—absorptive, adaptive and decision-making—can be structured for the continuum of learning elements of training, education, and experience. The AUQEP framework will focus on the ethical and strategic leadership development of Air Force leaders in the context of individual/self, team/group, and organization/enterprise. Air University’s AUQEP was submitted in January 2019 for review by SACS-COC Visiting Team in March 2019. Link to Approved AUQEP.
As the intellectual and leadership-development center of the Air and Space Forces, leadership development is a University-wide endeavor across all centers, schools and major programs, thus the AUQEP Director established a standing working group with representatives from the major centers, schools and programs. In order to develop curriculum that facilitates the development of leadership competencies for each Air University student, the AUQEP began by creating a baseline of existing knowledge of Air University students and over the five years of the AUQEP, has and will continue to facilitate the design of curriculum appropriate at each level of an Airman’s education. At the end of the AUQEP, the University will determine if and how the ethics and leadership curriculum impacted the overall state of the Air Force.
Prior to developing the AUQEP, Air University conducted an extensive review of leadership, leadership development and ethics research literature. Air University’s proposed AUQEP framework integrates ethical leadership with a specific focus on the three strategic capacities (Hooijberg & Boal, 2000) -- absorptive, adaptive, and decision-making -- across the three major interpersonal domains. This framework provides a construct that promotes a deliberate and methodical way to analyze, evaluate, develop, and assess existing and future leadership development programs across the University. The framework conveys there is a relationship between an individual’s understandings of “self,” their ability as a “team” leader to create an environment that fosters subordinates’ individual development, and the capacity to foster culture/climate of the Air Force as an organization. Further, this is a bi-directional relationship of influence between the capacities within Airmen and the teams they lead, and the Air Force as a broader organization.
AUQEP Year One: Academic Year 2020 - 2021
In year one, the AUQEP team conducted a data collection process to identify the competencies of an ethical leader, informed by a survey, focus meetings with the AUQEP working group and Air Force regulations, standards and doctrine. With the data, the team created a draft list of 22 competencies of ethical leadership. The team then mapped current Air University course curriculum to the ethical leadership competencies to determine areas in which to focus. Using the evidence from our analysis, Air University leadership chose to focus this AUQEP on the ethical leadership competencies of:
1. Ethical Decision-Making
Makes well-informed, effective and timely decisions. Identifies problems, evaluates alternative perspectives/solutions, makes timely and effective recommendations, and identifies multiple possible courses of action. Considers all possible outcomes and makes the best decisions considering all factors: mission, people, ethics, and outcomes. Decision-making includes critical thinking: analytical, strategic and creative thinking.
Seeks to understand varied experiences of others through emotional perspective-taking to make decisions grounded in care and respect.
3. Fosters Innovation
Builds a culture of behaviors and business practices that encourages, champions, and rewards creativity and informed risk taking; rapidly adapts to new conditions and technologies.
After determining the AUQEP focus areas, the team facilitated the design of curriculum, developed learning outcomes and engagements as well as faculty development in several select courses and schools across Air University. In Year 3 we will continue assessing the curriculum in the selected courses and developing program specific curriculum and assessment plans.
If you are interested in learning more about the AUQEP, please contact us at: AUQEP@au.af.edu.
If you are involved in an AU program and are interested in participating in faculty development programs associated with our three focus areas, please contact the AUQEP Director, Megan Allison at: email@example.com.
AUQEP Publications and Presentations
Tatum, K., Parson, L., Weise, J., Allison, M., & Farrell, R. (2019). Leadership and ethics across the continuum of learning: The Ethical Leadership Framework. Air & Space Power Journal, 33(4), 42-57. https://www.airuniversity.af.edu/Portals/10/ASPJ/journals/Volume-33_Issue-4/F-Tatum_et_al.pdf
Parson, L., Weise, J., Tatum, K., Allison, M., & Farrell, R. (2019). Evaluating and Assessing the Ethical Leadership Framework for Air Force Leader Development. Journal of Character & Leadership Development, 6(2), 50-63. https://www.usafa.edu/app/uploads/JCLD_Vol06_Issue02.pdf
Parson, L., Weise, J., Tatum, K, Allison, M., & Farrell, R. (March 2020). Developing a college credit leadership military program: Ethical leadership competencies. Presentation session for the Council of College and Military Educators annual symposium in Philadelphia, PA.
Parson, L., Steele, A., Tatum, K., Allison, M., & Weise, J. (2022). Identifying the Competencies of Air Force Ethical Leadership. Journal of Character & Leadership Development, 9(1), 75-92. https://jcli.scholasticahq.com/article/35509-identifying-the-competencies-of-air-force-ethical-leadership