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Faculty development initiative kicks off at 82nd TRW

  • Published
  • By Michelle Martin
  • 82nd Training Wing Public Affairs

“Combat Capability Starts Here” are the words emblazoned across the top of the main entrance into Sheppard AFB. 

For the 82nd Training Wing, that means training the world’s best Airmen, who give the Air Force its ability to generate and project airpower.

The wing made a major investment in the future of that mission Nov. 18 with its first-ever faculty development day. Quarterly gatherings will follow with a goal of pouring new ideas and methodologies into the almost 2,300 educators who teach and train the tens of thousands of Airmen coming through Sheppard’s classrooms every year.

“On any given day there are 5,000 Airmen here at Sheppard, and thousands more who are being trained around the world at our detachments,” said Brig. Gen. Lyle K. Drew, Sheppard AFB commander, during a faculty all-call he hosted at the base theater. “It’s that simple. We’re defending America’s future one graduate at a time. Regardless of where we’ve been in history, we’ve always trained Airmen to be ready for whatever is expected of them as they hit that first duty station.” 

As the pacing challenge of China continues to be on the forefront of the Department of Defense, Drew reminded the gathered faculty that by the end of this decade, China is on track to be the largest economy in the world with technological advancements at an all-time high. This means instructors here cannot approach training today the same way we did decades ago.

“We are investing in you as instructors,” he said. “In any academic institution around the world, they take faculty training days so that we invest in those that train the next generation.”

All Sheppard technical training instructors must attend the Basic Instructor Course before they begin teaching. Drew said that wasn’t enough anymore. BIC is a one-time requirement, which means some instructors have not attended any formal training or professional development for many years. 

The commander’s intent behind this first faculty-centered development day is to build an enhanced instructor’s toolkit through deliberate training opportunities.  Areas of focus will include student-centered instructional practices; professional development and networking with leaders in industry and academia, effective workspaces and training environments; and modern technology implementation.

Drew said Maj. Gen. Michele Edmonson, 2nd Air Force commander, is focused on technical training transformation to ensure we train and develop the Airmen our Air Force needs across all specialties.

With the $32 million infusion the 82nd TRW expects to receive over the next two years, Drew said the money will be allocated to invest and improve areas such as Wi-Fi, digitized learning, technology in the classroom, pedagogy, and including relevant national security scenarios into their instruction.

After the all-call, instructors conducted small group discussions within their squadrons to discuss how they could transform training within their schoolhouses. To jump start this renewed focus on transformation, Drew kicked off a 10-for-10 innovation challenge. Ten instructors will be awarded $10,000 each from Squadron Innovation Funds to innovate and accelerate change in their classrooms.