Military Experienced Faculty – What Do You Need to Know?

Any school needs faculty experienced in their respective fields. You would probably be concerned, for instance, if you were in school for poetry and your professor had never written a poem in her life. Many teachers, especially at the collegiate level, have considerable professional experience in their fields. Medical school teachers have experience as physicians and/or Ph.Ds.

Where is Military Experience Most Valued?

Clearly, some fields and/or schools have more faculty with military experience. The U.S. Air Force Academy states that 75% of its faculty members are military officers. These instructors also have doctoral degrees in their fields. This is true across the United States service academies. While military experience is important and valuable in the service academies, it is not an absolute necessity. In an institution that values education, it’s more important that the faculty members are experienced in the fields in which they’re teaching than it is that they have military experience.

The Benefits of Experience

That is not, however, an attempt at belittling the importance of military experience. Military experience, especially in a service academy, is important. Just as medical school instructors can impart wisdom learned by working in the field, service academy professors with military experience can help prepare students for a future in the military. Militarily-experienced professors often contribute to the environment of a military college. The Virginia Military Institute, or VMI, calls itself a “military college” and has many professors who come from the military. These professors undoubtedly contribute to the “military environment” fostered by the college – they help create a semblance of what life will be while working in the field. Military professors provide living examples of how students can apply their chosen field of study to military life.

Role Models in the Classroom

You might think that only kids in middle school and high school need role models, but career-centric role models can be invaluable for students in a field. For example, during the rough stretch of exams, a student may question why he is in a chosen field. Seeing a professor who has achieved high status in the military after working through a service academy as the student is doing can help encourage and motivate students who may be struggling. In addition, some military academies engage students in physically and mentally grueling team building activities. These activities can exhaust and overwhelm students, and having role models can help them stay focused on the ultimate goal without being caught up in the temporary drama of these activities.

In short, military faculty bring unique experience to service academies. In non-service academies,they bring a new perspective and showcase an option for students to use their skills to serve a nation. When choosing a school with military faculty, you open new options for yourself and for your future.