Building a Culture of Inclusion at the U.S. Air Force Academy


article by: Adis M. Vila


“The mission of the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA), the youngest of the four service academies, is to educate, train, and inspire men and women to become officers of character motivated to lead the United States Air Force in service to our nation.

Nearly four thousand officers, enlisted personnel,and civilian employees work with more than four thousand cadets, a population almost 80 percent male. Together, we are Team USAFA.

In November 2010, I began working in a newly formed position as the chief diversity officer (CDO) for the USAFA in Colorado Springs. I was asked to serve as the principal advisor to USAFA leadership to ensure that diversity programs and projects are developed in accordance with federal, Department of Defense, Air Force, and USAFA guidance and policy.

Additionally, I serve as the strategic leader, diversity advocate, and principal advisor to academy
leaders on diversity programs and issues and the primary voice on matters of equity, diversity, and inclusion.

In this article, I share my experiences to date and articulate the steps we are taking to build an inclusive organizational culture at USAFA. As a practitioner with thirty years of experience managing organizations, studying and implementing change, I have relied on the research and theory of some of the best scholars in the field, particularly Frederick A. Miller, John P. Kotter, and Jerry Porras. For our diversity and inclusion (D&I) work, publications by Roosevelt Thomas Jr. and David Thomas and Robin Ely provide frameworks and road maps that have proven useful.”

Full article here


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