1 ATHENS STATE UNIVERSITY TAKES TO THE SKYS SUPPORT GROWS FOR THE NEW AVIATION MANAGEMENT MINOR AT ALABAMA S ONLY TWO-YEAR UPPER DIVISION INSTITUTION Page 1 Since the Aviation Revitalization Act of 1994, what was a declining General Aviation industry has been steadily recovering and all aspects of this branch of aviation are growing again! The Aircraft Owner s and Pilot s Association, AOPA, now boasts over 400,000 nationwide members. In addition to the airline and air cargo industries, thousands of new jobs are being created annually in this private sector of aviation. Like most other high-tech careers, aviation is now overrun with complex computers and sophisticated navigation/control equipment. Federal Aviation Regulations are more complicated than ever and the 9/11 events with the ensuing war on terror have brought airport and airplane security and safety to the forefront. In addition, dozens of new GA aircraft manufacturers are flourishing along with all the supporting tiers of suppliers. Aviation in general is big business again, both at the commercial level and at your local small Fixed Base Operator s! The Sky s Not a Limit for Athens State Table 1 Alabama College System Institutions Offering Aviation Programs Aviation Maintenance-Airframe Aviation Maintenance-Powerplant Aviation Technology (Commercial) Aviation Technology (General) Aviation Technology (Private) Aviation Systems/Avionics Tech BS with Aviation Mgmt Minor Wallace-Hanceville Wallace-Dothan Aviation Campus(Ozark) Athens State University Like most other areas of commerce these days, new entrants into the aviation business job market can count on needing college credentials to ultimately succeed, even as a flight crew member, not to mention the other scores of technical and management positions necessary to make the modern airspace system operate efficiently, safely, and smoothly. Alabama s College System has recognized these needs and is
2 Figure 1 Wallace State Support Letter Page 2 providing collegiate training at four of its lower-level, two-year institutions as shown in Table 1. In addition, Auburn University has a flourishing aviation program as well. Embry-Riddle, one of the most well-known institutions of flight education, has opened an extended campus in Huntsville. These latter two upper-division alternatives however are expensive which makes the decision to continue from two-year associates in aviation science or technology program even tougher besides the obvious geographical limitations. So, where does a graduate of Alabama s two-year aviation associates degree go? Dr. Peggy Baty, President, Women In Aviation International and a professor in Middle Tennessee State University s Aviation Management program had the following comments: "Making the decision to attend an aviation school or a liberal arts college is tough," says Dr. Baty. "The benefit of attending a school with an aviation emphasis is that even such general courses as humanities and math can have an 'aviation spin' which, of course, could be more meaningful and enjoyable for the student. But, one of the major disadvantages is the cost. To offset that, a student might consider a state-run aviation college which, by comparison, is much less expensive. Also, a number of fine two-year programs with a flight emphasis are much more affordable than the larger, well-known institutions. Enter Athens State, Alabama s most tenured institution of higher education. Athens has served its constituents well since its birth in 1822, wearing the guise of everything from a women s finishing school to a Methodist-owned College. Most lately, Athens has been absorbed into the Alabama College System (ACS) as its only upper-division, two-year institution, offering the baccalaureate degree to transfer students from as many as 600 different colleges and universities. Athens has been offering a Management of Technology major to help cope with the ever advancing technology explosion since the mid 1980 s. Having been dubbed Athens State University by the State legislature, Athens continues to grow in size and mission while continuing to meet its ACS partners student needs for the bachelor s degree. Over the last few years, Athens has been expanding its coverage of the ACS institutions by establishing University Centers at key locations. One of these locations is Wallace State Hanceville. Just a few miles south of Cullman, Wallace State happens to be one of the ACS schools listed in Table 1 where a two-year, associate in applied science degree is offered in Flight Technology. After several meetings to discuss the possibilities, Athens and Wallace State instructors agreed that it would be a natural outgrowth of the existing Management of Technology program at Athens to offer a minor to that program in Aviation Management. Bert Mackentepe, Director of the Flight Technology Program at Wallace, recently wrote in a letter of support for the program. I believe that this [Aviation Management] Minor would be very attractive to students graduating from Wallace State s Flight Technology, Associate in Applied Science (AAS) Program and would give them another viable option in pursuing a 4-year, baccalaureate degree, Bert wrote.
3 Page 3 Wallace s Aviation Program consists of flight and ground instruction that qualifies students for various careers in the aviation industry. On average, they have upwards of 100 students enrolled in the program, many of whom decide to continue their academic careers after graduation at Wallace, according to Mackentepe. Table 2 Aviation Management Core Classes As of now, their local opportunities are very limited although many desire to obtain an aviation-oriented, four-year bachelors degree, he said (see Figure 1). With its typical the sky is not a limit attitude, Athens State s College of Business developed the Aviation Management (AVM) Minor for the MOT Program in a similar fashion to its other College program minors. Standard general education requirements are intact, but 18 hours (six courses) from the Professional area are devoted to the Aviation Management specialty. The Aviation Management Minor has courses familiar to all other aviation-oriented, bachelor degrees, said Dr. J. Wayne McCain, Chair of Athens' MOT Department and a degreed aerospace engineer, 35-year pilot and aviation enthusiast himself. Aviation Law, Weather Management, Airport Management, Air Traffic Control, General Aviation Management, and Aviation Safety and Security are six of the ten courses developed, he said. Students may choose an elective from the list of available AVM courses for one of the six courses required for the minor, or, take additional AVM courses if desired for extra 300/400 level credits. A total of 124 semester hours are required for graduation with the MOT B.S. degree. Dr. McCain plans to offer the first of the specific Aviation Courses for the new Minor as early as summer term Meanwhile, students can begin with the other pre-professional and core classes common to the regular MOT degree he explained. Forty-five of the 60 semester hours of upper-level coursework for the MOT AVM Minor are shown in Table 2. McCain mentioned that the College of Business Dean, Dr. Linda Shonesy, has been supportive in developing the new Aviation Management Minor. Linda mentioned that she had some exposure to Auburn s aviation program back in the 1960s. She was not unfamiliar with the concept and has been behind several new initiatives including a recently in-acted Manufacturing Management Minor for the MOT Program, McCain added.
4 Page 4 Dr. McCain believes that the MOT AVM program, one of several to be offered totally online by the University, will gather a wide following in a rather short time. I expect to see upwards of 50 students enrolled in the MOT AVM Minor within two years, he quoted. The Army at Redstone is also bringing more aviation jobs to our area with their Aviation Technical Test Center, ATTC, that will provide testbeds for all active Army military aircraft, both helicopter and fixed-wing. He also mentioned that there are at least three pilots on the College of Business full-time faculty and several seasoned aviation professionals on the staff, including a former aircraft charter service owner and aircraft mechanic. Many of us here have a high level of enthusiasm for aviation that will undoubtedly carry over into the classroom and online, he said. Athens State offers one of the most affordable, student-friendly bachelor s degree programs in the southeast. With formal approval of the MOT AVM Minor completed in February this year, Athens State takes another step towards higher utility with its ACS partner community and technical colleges. For additional information on the Management of Technology Aviation Management Minor, contact Dr. J. Wayne McCain, Chair of the MOT Program at (256) or by at Athens has a statewide, toll-free number at (800) Just ask for Dr. McCain, or the College of Business Secretary at extension 211. We welcome your interest in the MOT Aviation Minor Program! Athens State University does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, national origin, disability, or age in its educational program, activities, admissions, or employment policies as required by Title IX of Education Amendments of 1972, Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Executive Order and all its amendments, and Executive Order (sexual preference in employment). Persons with disabilities needing accommodations should contact Maureen Chemsak, (256)
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