Tell your story: center seeks input from Airmen for Cultural Studies Project

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For many Airmen, working across other cultures provides some of the most memorable stories of their careers. A two-year research study began this month that will collect those stories to help Air Force educators provide better cross-cultural competence education and training to warfighters.

Officials at the Air Force Culture and Language Center at Air University on Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., launched the Cultural Studies Project survey site June 3 to gather information from Airmen about their experiences working across other cultures. The survey (Protocol Number FAC20110023H) is located at, and all Airmen are encouraged to volunteer to participate.

Responding to the survey will only take minutes, but it will have a lasting impact on how Air Force instructors teach the skills and knowledge required for cross-cultural competence, according to Tricia Fogarty, the ethnographer at the AFCLC.

"We hope to survey more than 30,000 people over the next two years, and we can use that information to enhance our materials to target specific educational and training needs," Ms. Fogarty said.

Some Airmen also may have the opportunity to participate in more extensive research. Of those surveyed, about 3,000 volunteers will be selected for phone or in-person interviews to elaborate on their experiences.

"From those 3,000, about 50 volunteers will be selected for taped interviews that will serve as specific case studies of Airmen's cross-cultural encounters and the knowledge they've gained," Ms. Fogarty said.

The survey differs from traditional "lessons learned" events due to the depth and specificity of the research.

"We'll really have a detailed picture of their experiences," said Dr. Kimberly Hudson, who leads the AFCLC's Culture Department. "We can take that picture, and provide better opportunities for our Airmen to become cross-culturally competent, which will directly impact their ability to perform their missions globally."

For more information on the survey, or on the AFCLC, see their website at, e-mail, or call to 334-953-7729. The protocol number of the survey is FAC20110023H. The study and ICD were approved Feb. 25. The expiration date is Feb. 24, 2012.