NDSU education professor lands contract with US Air Force

NDSU was awarded a $1M contract with the United States Air Force to continue support of the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) for Air University. Air University is a federal institution of higher education in the U.S. Department of the Air Force.

Laura Parson, Ph.D., NDSU assistant professor and program coordinator for the Educational and Organizational Leadership program, is conducting the work which involves identification of competencies of ethical leadership and the development of curriculum within Air University’s 5-year Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP).

Air University’s QEP focuses on the development of skills based on both conceptual and theoretical concepts and integrates ethical and strategic requirements in the development of leaders. The framework is used to create a deliberate and comprehensive program of study for Air University students.

The Air University QEP framework combines leadership skills with a specific focus on strategic capacities that analyze, evaluate, develop, and assess existing and future leadership development programs across the University.

QEPs are developed and approved during the reaffirmation of institutional accreditation every ten years. QEPs are executed and evaluated over five years to determine the plan’s impact. Air University’s QEP is assessing and evaluating institutional and student learning outcomes focused on improving ethical leadership.

After identifying competencies of an ethical leader through a surveying process, Parson identified 18 competencies of ethical leadership which were then mapped to current Air University curriculum. The results were three primary focus areas: ethical decision making, empathy, and fostering innovation. Parson is now designing curriculum and learning outcomes for engaging Air University students across these competencies.

“Through this US Air Force funding, Dr. Parson’s work with Air University exemplifies how NDSU expertise supports our land-grant mission not only for North Dakota, but for all who serve,” said NDSU vice president of research and creative activity Colleen Fitzgerald.

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