The glowing testimonial evidence (as delivered here) is also the worst possible kind of data. My personal conversations with both present and past faculty suggests there has been significant discontent with our present Dean Born. But I wouldn't expect anything to come of an internal investigation, as my own 50+ years of experience with USAFA is that the powers will do anything to avoid unfavorable publicity.
Actual objective data on performance of the USAFA administration will always be impossible to come by. I'd give 6 months of paychecks to conduct an anonymous survey of the faculty's true opinions of the Dean. Don't anyone hold his or her breath. USAFA grad.
P.S. Why are readers attacking the messenger, Pam Zubek?
I'd say the deck was already stacked against nonbelievers and agnostics. Note that 10 of the 21 invitees are military chaplains, both active duty and retired. MRFF and other secular organizations are conspicuous by their absences. The primary issue here is not religious respect but -- as usual -- the Air Force Academy is doing the classic Cover-Your-Agency by making this conference an official on-paper compliance to head off controversy and negative publicity.
Two comments to the USAFA Climate Survey. (1) This climate survey is most probably valid IF the 15% of the 4000+ cadets who responded were randomly selected from the total population. We don't know the sampling procedures USAFA used, so as yet all I can say is I can't draw any firm conclusions from what the academy claims, and (2) Attitude surveys such as USAFA's are notoriously weak predictors of job satisfaction, typically explaining only 15% of the total picture -- in other words, an attitude survey is better than random guessing, but just barely. Fred Malmstrom, USAFA '64
Dear Cadet X and '12 HAP Grad,
1. Concerning our Honor Code Survey, your questions about "statistical significance," "small sample size," etc. were all carefully considered before we submitted and released our results. Previous versions of the survey have all passed peer-review in respected journals. The methodology criticism came up first in 1996, so we then tripled our sample size, and our results came in -- as might be expected -- even stronger than before. Our 60 randomly sampled respondents per data point is pretty darned robust. I suggest you hit those old textbooks on statistics and sampling theory harder.
If you have a better data bank to refute our results, then by all means go to it and publish. Yes, there's always a small probability we could be wrong, but that's what the scientific method is all about.
2. I won't address your presumptive criticisms on Prof. Mullin's credibility, but he is a first-rate econometrician. His mathematics are impeccable, and we do not and have never fudged data.
3. Re. The comment "... a bitter graduate that is simply trying to make a name for himself at the expense of his alma mater." FYI: I began this project 25 years ago with with the intention of validating the Honor System and helping our service academies. Unfortunately, our results have been consistently negative, and that's just the way the data work out. Sorry about that.
4. My entire thrust in publishing these results is to help the Honor System succeed. As of now, none of the service academy honor systems are working as intended. Somebody up there is ignoring the 800 pound gorilla.
Fred Malmstrom, USAFA '64
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