APNewsBreak: Investigation at Air Force Academy

September 20, 2011 - 5:35 PM

DENVER (AP) — The military is investigating allegations that two senior officials at the Air Force Academy provided misleading information about faculty credentials to an organization that accredits colleges and universities, The Associated Press has learned.

A document obtained by the AP says the Air Force inspector general ordered a formal investigation into complaints that the academy's dean and vice dean of faculty gave incorrect information to the Higher Education Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

The document says the vice dean was accused of making "a false official statement" and the dean was accused of "inaccurately portraying" faculty credentials. It does not say whether they are accused of doing so deliberately.

The Higher Education Commission, which reviews the quality of education at more than 1,000 member colleges and universities, said in an email Tuesday to the AP it "is aware of the inspector general's investigation at the United States Air Force Academy."

Spokesman John Hausaman declined to provide any other details.

Maj. Joel Harper, an Air Force spokesman at the Pentagon, and 1st Lt. Meredith M. Kirchoff, a spokeswoman at the academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., declined to confirm or deny an investigation.

Kirchoff said the dean and vice dean of faculty would not comment.

The investigation was disclosed in a Sept. 7 letter from Air Force Col. John R. Taylor, director of senior official inquiries with the Air Force inspector general.

It does not identify the dean and vice dean by name. Brig. Gen. Dana Born has been dean of faculty since October 2004. Col. Richard Fullerton is the current vice dean. It wasn't immediately clear how long Fullerton has been in that position.

The complaint that triggered the investigation alleges that about 60 percent of academy cadets who took introductory calculus classes between 1996 and 2006 were taught by instructors who did not have master's degrees in mathematics, statistics or mathematics education.

The complaint also alleges that Born was quoted in the Colorado Springs Independent, a weekly newspaper, as claiming that all academy instructors have graduate degrees in the areas they teach or in related areas. The complaint claims that is incorrect.

___

Dan Elliott is available at http://www.twitter.com/DanElliottAP