The basis of true strength
is Character.

Character is "the sum of those qualities of moral excellence which compel a person to do the right thing despite pressure or temptations to the contrary." At the United States Air Force Academy, we'll teach you to evince character in everything you do.

CCLD Scholarship

The CCLD’s Scholarship Directorate serves as a catalyst and provides a strategic vector for character and leadership research at the United States Air Force Academy. Ultimately, the scholarship division exists to advance knowledge, connect minds, and influence the process by which leaders of character are developed at the Academy and beyond. This is accomplished through conducting and sponsoring relevant scholarly research, promoting comprehensive assessment, and critically challenging established world-views about character and leadership.

Conceptual Framework for Developing Leaders of Character

In partnership with a number of other mission element experts, the Center has taken the lead in offering USAFA (and the world) a novel conceptual framework for character and leadership development.  This expansive model, deeply grounded in research and best practices, is designed to enhance the development of leaders of character for the dynamic and complex 21st century environment.

Scholarly Publications

The CCLD produces a number of scholarly publications to foster conversation and research in the areas of character and leadership.  Contributions are welcomed from a number of sources in an effort to promote diversity of ideas and approaches.   These products differ with regard to the target audience, formality of the submissions  (i.e., traditional academic, more “open” monograph, or less formal “influence” papers) , and frequency of publication.

The Journal of Character and Leader Integration (JCLI)

This peer-reviewed academic publication showcases cross-disciplinary articles (conceptual and empirical), interviews, perspectives and case studies, all targeting the nexus of character and leadership.  This journal is aimed at fostering the development of an emerging field of study at the intersection of these two critical domains, offering world-class theory and application to a host of audiences.

Character Connections

A quarterly “e-Blast” publication called Character Connections delivers brief, influential (i.e., less academic than JCLI submissions) articles responding to an important and provocative C&L-related question. Each submission is a succinct thought-provoking essay not more than three pages. The electronic format also allows for the reader community to submit comments and responses to the individual articles or the overall question.

Scholar Briefs

The purpose of Scholar Briefs is to provide thoughtful, academic explorations on topics related to the broad theme of character and leadership. This format provides more depth than the relatively brief thought pieces published in Character Connections, and allows for more flexibility and less formality than the articles published in the JCLI.  In addition, the insights and opinions expressed by these scholars may be directed at more targeted audiences than in our traditional publications.  We invite and welcome contributions from a wide range of perspectives and disciplines on all topics related to character and leadership.


In developing a comprehensive character and leadership assessment plan, the Scholarship Directorate sets the standard for an integrated and diverse approach to character and leadership assessment. It is imperative to proactively and accurately assess, analyze, and refine the effectiveness of development programs. Such assessment provides the ability to continuously learn and adjust to the demands of the 21st Century. In addition, a comprehensive assessment program provides crucial information to develop a Theory of Practice establishing the Air Force Academy as an epicenter of character and leadership development.

New Boundaries for Character and Leadership Curriculum

The Scholarship Directorate is committed to transforming character and leadership instruction to equip future leaders with the necessary worldviews and ways of being required to create sustainable change. Through the advancement of innovative instruction, showcasing the unique expertise of visiting scholars and leaders, cadets and faculty alike will transform the institutional boundaries of the Air Force Academy and beyond. This directorate serves as a catalyst and provides a strategic vector for character and leadership curriculum research at the Academy.

Mosaic Character & Leadership Coaching Program

The Scholarship Directorate manages the Mosaic Coaching Program, where cadets are assessed on their character & leadership strengths, provided subsequent feedback reports, and given one-on-one coaching to strengthen behaviors that embody the AF Core Values and lift others to be their best possible selves.  More specifically, fourthclass cadets focus on a specific virtue (e.g., courage, self-control, etc.) which they are committed to strengthen. Element Leaders (i.e., secondclass cadets) focus on both strengthening a targeted virtue, plus practicing leadership behaviors that lift their subordinates to be their best possible selves. These cadets are held accountable to report to their “Coach” their attempts at practicing the actions that they committed to strengthen. Subsequent post-assessments are conducted to determine the level of development that occurred in the fourthclass cadets and Element Leaders.