MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. --
Earlier this year, the Air University Teaching and Learning Center unfurled a redesigned logo symbolic of their new and increasingly diverse mission sets that support the entire University and many professional military education partners across the nation and beyond.
New partners this past year include the NATO Defense Education Enhancement Programme, Air Force Special Operations School, and Air Force Global Strike Command.
“By grounding our support for faculty and students in evidence-informed instructional strategies, our team can quickly and expertly respond to the diverse needs of the distributed military education community,” said Dr. Megan Hennessey, TLC director.
Several initiatives have taken off the last few months including a comprehensive analytics and research enterprise where faculty can benefit from specialized support to identify, collect, and analyze data to fine tune their pedagogical approaches in the classroom.
As an example, the TLC, in collaboration with Dr. Stephanie Erwin of the Air Command and Staff College, is finalizing a study on how gendered experiences in PME can affect institutional climate and group communications.
Another outcome of the up-tempo research is the recent launch of the Air University Press book, Developing Military Learners’ Communication Skills Using the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning edited by Hennessey and which includes a number of key essays focusing on ways to improve writing, dialogic feedback, assessments and research. A follow on volume is currently in the works to highlight enlisted education, and editors Jeffrey Turner of National Defense University and Professor Andrea Hamlen-Ridgely of Marine Corps University are seeking additional authors for that publication.
The dean of the Ira C. Eaker Center for Leadership Development believes the team is exceptional in assisting in a host of ways.
“With our exceedingly diverse educational portfolio, we could simply not perform our mission effectively without the tremendous assistance of, and partnership with, Air University’s Teaching and Learning Center,” said Dr. Beverly Hill. “In consideration of our civilian associate degree program students to chaplains entering the Department of the Air Force, extending to our dynamic faculty, we are able to ascertain and mitigate learning and facilitating gaps based upon the expertise and commitment of the TLC. In short, we really rely upon them for continued program momentum and support.”
Other new areas of service include assisting faculty and staff with data visualization efforts where the team offers one-on-one or small group consultations on creating learning analytics plans for programs of instruction as well as offering tutorials on artificial intelligence chatbots such as ChatGPT.
And aside of all these endeavors, the TLC is also at the helm in helping “lead the deed” for the Educational Wargaming Network and for the fourth annual Military Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Forum to be held in December. Another final indicator of enhanced activity is the uptick in reservations for learning technology with significant utilization by the Squadron Officer School, Air Command and Staff College, Officer Training School, the Defense Language Institute and the AU Immersive Learning Task Force.
“When the PME community has cabled in their needs, the team has responded every time by becoming champions of their cause. It’s heartening to see how deep an impact such a relatively small organization can have across the field,” said Dr. Mehmed Ali, director of Academic Services.