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Guidance to Academia S E C T I O N I I This section provides information to the academic community on the current state of airport-oriented education in academia and opportunities to enhance academic program- ming. As such, the primary audience for this section is the academic community itself, particularly faculty, administrators, and even students who wish to enhance their airport academic programming. The information herein was derived from extensive study of domestic and international academic degree programs. The research team conducted surveys with faculty, students, and alumni of programs offering specific airport-oriented content within their curricula, and industry professionals with the desire to see graduates of these programs enter the workforce with greater depth and breadth of education as well as an enhanced level of real-world experience. Chapter 3 discusses the current state of airport education in academia. The vast majority of airport-oriented educational programming lies within what is commonly referred to as âcollegiate aviationâ programs, while to a lesser extent, airport-oriented education is found within programs of other core disciplines, mostly business, public policy, and engineering. Also discussed is the current structure of airport-oriented academic programming, focusing on how such curricula are designed. Several constraints and opportunities are pointed out, paving the way for an informative discussion on how these programs can be enhanced. Chapter 4 describes methods to enhance airport-oriented academic programming based on the findings from Chapters 2 and 3. A curriculum structure is presented that increases both breadth and depth of airport education, allows for real-world experience, and contributes to professional development through curricular and extracurricular activities. The methods described apply to programs of all types, from fully established airport management degree programs to programs without any aviation or airport content. All institutions have the potential to enhance their programming for the benefit of the airport industry.
17 The State of Airport Education in Academia C H A P T E R 3 Key Takeaways â¢ Airport academic programming is found within a small subset of the nationâs colleges and universities, mostly within traditional aviation, undergraduate programs. They are typically 4-year undergraduate, baccalaureate programs with roots in collegiate flight education. They tend to have a focus in airport operations or airport management. â¢ A handful of programs offering airport content exists in engineering programs. These programs tend to focus on airport planning and design. Few programs offer more than two airport-specific courses. The most common courses offered are introductory courses in airport operations, management, and planning and design. Less frequently, additional courses are offered that go deeper into these topics or focus on other topics relevant to the airport industry. â¢ Aviation programs generally include some airport content within other aviation courses that focus on flight, aviation security, and aviation regulations and law. â¢ Airport offerings are limited due to the curricular constraints that require a certain number of general education and core courses to be part of the curriculum. â¢ Most programs offer opportunities for additional learning through internships, although few programs require them. There is a wide range of how internships are structured among programs. â¢ Less than 30% of programs offering airport content report having formal relationships with airport industry professional organizations, such as AAAE or participate in regionally or nationally sponsored airport academic endeavors such as the ACRP Airport Design Competition for Universities. â¢ Less than 30% of programs offering airport content are accredited by the Aviation Accreditation Board International (AABI), which focuses its accreditation on flight and aviation managementânot specifically on airport curricula. â¢ Less than 20% of the programs offering airport content have full-time faculty who have any formal education in airports, are industry accredited, or have significant practical airport industry experience. â¢ Ample opportunities exist to enhance airport-oriented, academic programming by creating deeper and broader course curricula; increasing extracurricular and experiential learning opportunities; adding airport content to programs at colleges and universities that do not currently offer such content; enhancing faculty supply; and creating deeper and broader interactions between academia and airport industry professionals.
18 Enhancing Academic Programs to Prepare Future Airport Industry Professionals As described in Chapter 2, the technical needs of the current and future airport workforce are both deep and wide-ranging, covering a full spectrum of topics, from business to technology. Many of the skills required are rooted in fundamental academic topics, such as economics; finance and accounting; law; physical sciences and engineering; and many other disciplines offered at institutions of higher education. The majority of the academic programs, however, do not include any airport- or aviation-related content, either in the form of aviation- or airport-specific courses or simply using aviation case studies or applications within their courses. Relative to the totality of existing higher education programs, only a small group offers programming in aviation, and only a small subset of those programs offer content specific to airports. These programs vary widely in the depth of airport content, ranging from complete airport major degree programs to offering only one introductory airport course. They do, how- ever, offer a base for evaluating the state of academia on how well it, on the whole, is helping to prepare the next generation of airport professionals. This chapter describes an investigation of these programs, and based on the findings, offers insight into the current state of airport academic programming. Education that is relevant to the airport industry is wide-ranging because airports require a vast array of skills and knowledge to operate. Engineering expertise is required to ensure that air- ports are designed and maintained with the appropriate level of safety and infrastructure. Busi- ness and administrative skills are required to successfully operate a complex organization serving a wide range of customers and community constituents. Communication skills are required to effectively share information with airport users and the wider community. Of course, front and center are the particulars of how airports operate, from design and certification requirements to unique strategies for managing complex operating budgets to the financing associated with capital improvements. Perhaps the greatest distinction between technical training and academic education, particularly at degree-granting institutions of higher education, is that university and college academic pro- grams have the mission of providing well-rounded education in a full spectrum of subject areas (Prather and California Baptist University 2019). Although non-academic training programs focus on specific technical material only, collegiate degree programs include a wider variety of course requirements. Their mission statements often indicate that they intend to produce well-rounded graduates who will be successful in their professions and contributors to the greater community. The findings presented herein are based on a multifaceted investi- gation of academic programs throughout the United States as well as select international programs with airport-oriented content. A Survey of Academic Programs with Airport-Related Content Most academic programs offer content relevant to the airport indus- try, at least indirectly. For example, architecture programs educate stu- dents in skills relevant to designing and constructing airport facilities. Public policy programs educate students in how public agencies operate, which is relevant to all of the nationâs airports operating under some type of public governance. Even programs in the arts are relevant to air- ports because they continue to evolve their public image through public good programs, such as public displays of art, history, and musical performances. For the most part, however, most traditional degree programs do not offer any content specific to how their core disciplines apply to the airport environment. Cases where this does exist are limited to a few engineering, Less than 3% of the nationâs 6,000+ institutions of higher education offer courses in aviation, and only a subset of these institutions offers courses specific to airports.
The State of Airport Education in Academia 19 technology, business, and policy programs, or to faculty with some knowledge or expertise from previous involvement or relationship with airports. The study conducted for this guidebook identified an exhaustive list of academic institu- tions offering at minimum some sort of aviation (but not necessarily airport-specific) content, including those with programs that focus nearly entirely on flight education. Of the nationâs 6,000+ institutions of higher education, 157 institutions (less than 3%) were found to offer pro- gramming that ranges from a single aviation course offering up to a 2-year (associate) or 4-year (baccalaureate) degree in aviation. The team examined the depth and breadth of these aviation offerings, with a specific look at how they may or may not offer any airport-specific content. Also highlighted were whether these institutions have industry accreditation for their aviation degree programs or some sort of formal relationship with the airport industry. Of the 157 institutions investigated, 65 programs were found to have at least one course specific to airports. Of these 65 institutions, 42 (65%) were public institutions and 23 (35%) were private institutions. Public institutions tend to draw students from their respective states, whereas private institutions tend to have more of a national draw. Cost of tuition is one deter- mining factor for students selecting a school. For public institutions, tuition rates significantly favor in-state residents. The average in-state resident semester tuition (minimum 12 credit hours) for the public institutions in the study was approximately $4,275. Out-of-state tuition averaged $9,580 per academic term. Private institutions make no distinction regarding residency. The average tuition for private schools is approximately $15,400 per term. Of the 65 programs, 41 were found to have a readily available curriculum roadmap and catalog of courses for which to further study the depth of airport-related programming. For these 41 ârepresentativeâ programs, an in-depth investigation of their curriculum structures was performed, and surveys, focus groups, and interviews of a sampling of the programsâ faculty, students, and alumni were conducted. This thorough investigation provides a comprehensive look at the current state of airport education in academia. A list of these programs is found below. A summary of the curricula of the representative programs is provided in spreadsheet form in Appendix A. Universities with Representative Aviation Programs* â¢ Arizona State University, AZ â¢ Auburn University, AL â¢ Bowling Green State University, OH â¢ California Baptist University, CA â¢ California State University, Los Angeles, CA â¢ Central Washington University, WA â¢ Delta State University, MS â¢ Eastern Kentucky University, KY â¢ Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, FL â¢ Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Prescott, AZ â¢ Farmingdale State College, NY â¢ Florida Institute of Technology, FL â¢ Florida Memorial University, FL â¢ Hampton University, VA â¢ Indiana State University, IN â¢ Jacksonville University, FL â¢ Kansas State University â Polytechnic, KS â¢ Kent State University, OH â¢ Lewis University, IL â¢ Louisiana Tech University, LA â¢ Metropolitan State University of Denver, CO â¢ Middle Georgia State University, GA â¢ Middle Tennessee State University, TN â¢ Minnesota State University, Mankato, MN â¢ The Ohio State University, OH â¢ Oklahoma State University, OK â¢ Purdue University, IN â¢ Rocky Mountain College, MT â¢ St. Louis University, MO (continued on next page)
20 Enhancing Academic Programs to Prepare Future Airport Industry Professionals Aviation Programs Most specific airport-oriented content is found within what are known as traditional aviation academic programs within institutions organized as a college, school, or department with avia- tion in their name, denoting the recognition of its mission to focus on aviation as a degree pro- gram. Approximately 66% of the programs in the United States offering airport-specific content are colleges, departments, or academic centers of aviation or aeronautics. Approximately 33% of programs that provide some aviation education do so within wider academic units ranging from Applied Arts & Sciences to Public Health. The aviation-related degrees offered at these institutions include Air Traffic Management, Aviation/Aerospace Management, Aviation Business Administration, Aircraft Maintenance/Management, and Aerospace Technology along with Professional Pilot, Flight Technology, and other degree names for collegiate flight education programs. Among the newest aviation-related degree programs are those that involve unmanned aerial systems (UAS). Aviation academic programs, regardless of the specific degree names, are generally categorized as either flight education or aviation man- agement. Within the representative programs studied, most airport- oriented content is found within the aviation management degree programs. Flight education programs tend to have ancillary airport content relevant to pilots, and airport courses offered in the aviation management programs are available for students in flight education as well. Flight Education Degree Programs Discussions with current airport professionals who have aviation education backgrounds reveal that a significant percentage began their aviation collegiate education by enrolling in a flight education degree program, validating previous research that suggests young adults and older teenagers, initially attracted to aviation as a career, focus on becoming a licensed pilot. Along the way, however, many students find that flight training is not for them, and they seek another path to a career in aviation. They often transfer from a flight education program to an aviation management program, either within their current institution or elsewhere. Reasons for this realization are numerous and understanding them may provide opportu- nities and motivation for academic programs to further enhance their non-flight curricula, including increasing offerings in airport-oriented content to retain these students. Academic units (colleges, departments, schools) offering airport content include the following: â¢ Aviation â¢ Aeronautics â¢ Applied Arts and Sciences â¢ Business â¢ Engineering â¢ City and Regional Planning â¢ Education â¢ Public Administration â¢ Public Health and Science â¢ Technology Universities with Representative Aviation Programs* (Continued) â¢ Southern Illinois University, IL â¢ Southern New Hampshire University, NH â¢ Texas Southern University, TX â¢ University of Alaska, Anchorage, AK â¢ University of Central Missouri, MO â¢ University of Dubuque, IA â¢ University of Nebraska, Omaha, NE â¢ University of North Dakota, ND â¢ University of Oklahoma, OK â¢ Utah Valley University, UT â¢ Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology, NY â¢ Western Michigan University, MI * Aviation management-oriented curriculum that is AABI accredited and/or affiliated with the AAAE via a recognized student chapter, offers at least one airport course, and has an accessible full curriculum map for study.
The State of Airport Education in Academia 21 Flight Student and Pilot Attrition Student Aptitude and Attitude A collegiate flight training program is demanding, with physical, mental, logistical, and finan- cial pressures. Some may quickly determine that flight training is not what they expected, or they may find they do not have the aptitude or motivation to operate in a cockpit environment. They may consider changing majors to a non-flight aviation program or elect to drop out of the program altogether. Federal Policy One factor adversely affecting student enrollment and retention is the result of federal legislation passed in 2013 that requires all commercial airline pilots to hold an airline transport pilot (ATP) certificate that includes a minimum of 1,500 hours of flight experience. Before this, licensed commercial pilots with as little as 250 hours of flight time could serve as first offi- cers with an airline. The legislation does allow provisions for collegiate flight students receiving professional instruction. Baccalaureate graduates from an accredited university are eligible for restricted ATP (R-ATP) license with a minimum of 1,000 hours of flight time, while associate degree graduates can qualify with 1,250 hours. Many students in a 4-year professional flight program recognize that they will have only 300 to 500 flight hours by graduation and thus, will need to find ways to build flight time, often by serving as flight instructors or through other flying assignments (e.g., banner and glider towing, skydiving, etc.). This gap in flight experience coupled with student loan repayments often makes the difficulty of achieving an R-ATP license rating a driving force to reconsider their career goals. Another example of how federal policy changes can seriously affect aviation programs was demonstrated by the FAAâs shift in the selection process for air traffic control specialists (ATCSs). Beginning in 1991, the FAA partnered with five aviation colleges to form the Controller Training Initiative (CTI) program designed to generate student interest in air traffic control (ATC) as a career choice and to provide portions of the initial controller training before entering the FAAâs Training Academy. Over the next 20 years, the CTI program grew to include 36 participating colleges and universities. Graduates of an academic-degreed CTI program were considered prime candidates for selection because they were motivated and possessed an ATC specialized education. As a result, CTI graduates were allowed to skip the initial 5-week Stage I, En Route Air Traffic Basics course. However, in 2014, FAA changed the candidate screening and selection process, relying primarily on a biographical assessment that includes personality attributes, attitudes, expe- riences, interests, skills, and abilities. Under this new practice, CTI graduates who had previously applied to the FAA were required to take the new assessment and as a result, some were not accepted. Even though FAA retained the CTI program, enrollments declined, and some institutions dropped out. Legislation attempted to reinstate CTI graduate preferences. However, in 2020, the program had yet to regain the status it had before the hiring policy changes. Socioeconomic Conditions The aviation industry is vulnerable to national and international economic and other con- ditions that directly affect the career opportunities and interests for aviation students. Over the past 20 years, macro-economic cycles have also impacted the number of students enroll- ing in flight education programs compared with other aviation degree programs. The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the global economic recession of 2008, and the 2020 COVID-19
22 Enhancing Academic Programs to Prepare Future Airport Industry Professionals global pandemic have had negative effects on the industry, which have resulted in aviation students needing to adjust their career goals and transferring to non-flight programs that are still connected to the aviation world. Career Compromise Regardless of the specific influence, the concept of career compromise in career development theory suggests that when faced with the denial of oneâs dream job, the next step will be based on the individualâs motivation for initially pursuing the career. For flight students, the driver may be ego-driven by the perceived prestige of becoming an airline pilot. On the other hand, career compromise also identifies âinterestâ as a strong driver for some. In this case, if flying professionally is not looking like a realistic option, the person may take an alternate position that allows for staying in the field of aviation. Implications and Considerations for Collegiate Aviation Programs Depending on how the curriculum is organized, some students who elect to discontinue flight training may be able to change their major to non-flight aviation or other available degree option. For some programs, the change may be easily accommodated by curriculum design, or the student may be required to take several additional courses to meet the degree requirements. In extreme cases, the inability of a professional flight student to change majors without a significant increase in coursework, time, and associated costs may result in the student dropping out. Aviation academic programs that provide flight training may adjust or redesign their curricu- lum to (1) provide flight students a better understanding of the policies and practices in busi- ness and operational aspects of aviation; (2) provide flight students the ability to easily change majors to a non-flight degree depending on circumstances; and (3) ensure that graduating flight students are not so heavily invested in flight education that they are disadvantaged or unable to compete for non-flight aviation positions if necessary as a result of the economy, layoffs, medical issues, or other factors that prevent them from pursuing flight as a career. A course curriculum in airports may be such an option. Aviation Management Degree Programs Among the 157 institutions investigated, 81 (52%) offer a 4-year degree program in aviation management, administration, or other similar business-oriented offerings. There are another 31 institutions that offer a standalone, non-flight associate degree program. Although no two programs are alike, the curriculum of most aviation management programs is found to share common attributes with other degrees, aviation or otherwise. The distinctions generally emphasize core courses that may or may not have an aviation theme. Most aviation management programs are created as alternatives to flight education programs. As such, they draw most aviation content from the professional flight perspective. Also, these programs are found to have been developed by leveraging existing business administration or other general curriculum courses, such as accounting, finance, computer applications, statistics, and business law found within the institution. Others are developed with a more technical orientation empha- sizing mathematics (calculus), physics, electrical/electronic systems, intermodal transportation/ logistics, and other fields. Most aviation management programs are broadly aviation industry-focused, with course material covering all aspects of management, such as general aviation operators, ATC, airlines, and in most but not all cases, airports. On rare occasions, there is a specific emphasis, special- ization, concentration, minor, or major degree program focusing specifically on airports. This
The State of Airport Education in Academia 23 presents an opportunity for programs to enhance their curricula by providing more airport- focused material that leads to an airport-specific degree or specialization (ACRP 2017). Airport-Specific Degree Programs and Specializations Among the institutions investigated, two were specifically noted to have airport manage- ment degree programs. The University of North Dakota, through an intercollegiate part- nership between its Nistler College of Business & Public Administration and the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences, offers a bachelor of business administration degree in airport management. The program requires more than 30 credit hours of business courses ranging from account- ing to information systems, along with 30 credit hours of aviation required courses, including courses in airport operations, planning, and safety management systems, and culminating experiences that include preparation for professional industry certification. Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology offers a bachelor of science degree in airport management. More than half of the curriculum course requirements are aviation or management-focused with airport-specific courses in airport administration, development, and management, in addition to college requirements in English, foreign languages, and technical writing as well as math, statistics, and physics requirements. A few representative programs offer a concentration or specializa- tion in airport management as part of the general aviation manage- ment degree. For example, the Aviation Administration Bachelor of Science degree program at Farmingdale State College offers a special- ization in airport management. Through this specialization, students enroll in advanced courses in airport capacity; delay and airspace modeling; airport management and finance; airport planning; and airport operations, in addition to a core curriculum with required courses in business and aviation. California Baptist University offers a concen- tration in Airport Management and Operations within its Aviation Management Bachelor of Science degree program. The concentration emphasizes airport management, planning and design, and finance and consulting, with a capstone course that prepares students for profes- sional industry certification. Approximately 40% of the representative aviation management programs offer multiple airport-specific courses as part of an aviation management degree but not as a concentration or specialization. The remaining 60% offer one course specific to airports. Non-Aviation Programs with Airport Courses In addition to aviation programs, a handful of non-aviation programs offer airport courses. Some non-aviation programs include aviation/airport content in their curriculum, many of which are found at the graduate level, mostly in engineering programs offering one or more courses in airport planning and design. Although these are not part of the representative pro- grams, the specialized nature of these courses holds a unique place in the overall spectrum of airport-oriented academic programming. Specifically, courses like these attract students to the airport industry as engineers, planners, and other professionals. Institutions with Airport-Specific Majors, Specializations, or Concentrations â¢ California Baptist University, CA â¢ Farmingdale State College, NY â¢ Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology, NY â¢ University of North Dakota, ND Engineering Programs with Airport Course Offerings â¢ University of California, Berkeley, CA â¢ Georgia Institute of Technology, GA â¢ Purdue University, IN â¢ North Carolina State University, NC â¢ Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, VA â¢ Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MA â¢ The Ohio State University, OH â¢ University of Maryland, MD â¢ University of South Florida, FL
24 Enhancing Academic Programs to Prepare Future Airport Industry Professionals Curriculum Structure of Representative Programs The representative degree programs that were studied generally follow a curriculum structure standard to baccalaureate programs throughout academia, with an average of 120 credit hours of instruction organized along broad categories that include general education, core, and courses on topics specific to the degree program. The typical breakdown of credit-hour requirements by these categories is illustrated in Table 3.1. Although aviation management programs usually follow this outline, core courses may be subdivided into aviation and non-aviation topics. Airport-specific courses are most often within the aviation core and technical elective offerings. A description of these course categories provides insights into where airport-related content is presented within these curriculum structures. General Education. General education (Gen Ed) courses are found in most undergraduate programs. They are intended to provide a broadened perspective of the relationships among the various topics universal to higher learning and for building critical thinking skills. Although these courses rarely contain much technical content directly associated with airports, some may be included in these courses. For example, a course in global issues may briefly discuss matters associated with airport-relevant content, such as global security. Non-Aviation Core. A variety of core courses that are not aviation-related are often required by all students pursuing degrees. For example, for the aviation management programs found within a business administration department, core courses in business are included in the pro- gram. Analysis of the representative programs shows the following most commonly offered non- aviation core courses in their curricula: â¢ Principles of Management â¢ Organizational Administration â¢ Macroeconomics and Microeconomics â¢ Accounting and Finance â¢ Business Law â¢ Information Systems and Technology â¢ Business Statistics and Quantitative Analysis â¢ Human Relations â¢ Strategic Planning and Marketing This suggests that most curricula contain core principles of importance to the airport indus- try. However, since these sources are ânon-aviationâ in nature, direct examples and applications of these principles to the airport environment may not necessarily be included in these courses. This provides an opportunity to enhance programming through the addition of airport- specific content into these core courses. Course Category Avg. Credit Hours # Courses General Education 24 6 College (Non-Aviation) Core 32 7 Major (Aviation) Core 32 8 Technical Elective 21 6 Open Elective 9 4 Extracurricular Activity 2 1 Total 120 32 Table 3.1. Average breakdown of representative programs.
The State of Airport Education in Academia 25 Aviation Core. The representative aviation management programs studied tend to have a significant number of courses that have a direct relationship with the aviation industry. The average number of aviation core credit hours is 45 among the representative programs with a high of 72 hours and a low of 15 hours. These courses include introductory overviews of the aviation industry in topics ranging from aviation history, regulations, and aviation sectors including ATC, airlines, general aviation, and airports. The most common aviation core courses in the representative programs include the following: â¢ Historical Perspectives â¢ Federal Regulations â¢ Meteorology â¢ National Air Transportation System â¢ Aviation Safety This cadre of courses indicates that the focus of these programs has traditionally been flight- oriented. As such, the content is more focused on the impact of these topics on flight operations, and tangentially, airport operations. It is from here that the focus on airport operations educa- tion is derived. This speaks to the opportunity to broaden the aviation core to include more aviation core topics outside of an operations focus. Technical Electives. Other more advanced aviation courses may be part of an aviation core requirement or may be offered as technical electives within the curriculum. The most common advanced core and technical elective courses found within the representative programs include the following: â¢ Airspace and Air Traffic Control â¢ Airline Operations & Management â¢ Fixed Base Operator (FBO) and Corporate Aviation Operations and Management â¢ Aviation Safety and Security â¢ Aviation Law and Regulations â¢ Air Cargo and Logistics â¢ Aviation Economics and Management â¢ Aviation Marketing and Communications â¢ Global Aviation Systems In addition to this list, all the representative programs studied have at least one airport- specific course in the curriculum, most often with the title âairport operations,â âairport admin- istration,â or âairport management,â intended to cover an introductory overview of airports as a component of the National Air Transportation System. Engineering programs offering one course tend to offer a course in âairport planningâ or âairport designâ rather than an operations- or business-focused course. In nearly all representative programs, the number of credit hours allocated to airport-specific content was small. There was an average of 6.6 airport-specific credit hours among the total number of aviation management programs. Nearly 40% of the programs have only one 3-credit-hour airport course, while one program has 27 credit hours. Table 3.2 illustrates the range of total airport-specific credit hours offered by aviation management programs. A variety of other airport-specific courses offered by many representative programs provides a more detailed exposure to the airport industry. Examples of the most common courses include the following: â¢ Airport Planning â¢ Airport Design Airport-specific courses constitute on average 5% of the total credit hours offered within typical aviation management degree programs.
26 Enhancing Academic Programs to Prepare Future Airport Industry Professionals â¢ Environmental Aspects of Airports â¢ Airport Economics and Finance â¢ Airport and Airspace Capacity â¢ Airport Management (including certification) Programs that offer a concentration in airport management generally include a minimum of 3 to 4 airport-specific courses (9 or more credit hours). From this analysis, it is clear that oppor- tunities exist for more programs to deepen their airport-specific content through additional courses offered either as aviation core or technical electives. Open Electives. Open electives are offered to allow the student to gain a broad education. These electives may also allow for internships and work-study programs. Open electives may present an opportunity for students to take additional airport-oriented courses, even if not offered by the program if the course or courses offered by another institution can be approved for credit. Of the representative programs, open elective opportunities are limited, primarily due to the limited number of credit hours allocated as such. Despite the limited number of allocated credit hours, there are opportunities to further enhance airport-related content by taking advantage of these elective hours, through additional coursework or experiential learning opportunities, such as internships. Internships. Internships and co-op employment serve as experiential learning opportuni- ties. They can also be a component of the broader accreditation requirements. Of the representa- tive programs, 79% do not require an internship. Relatively few programs accept an internship as an elective (3 to 12 credit hours) for fulfilling the degree requirements. A Deeper Look at Airport-Specific Courses Most aviation management programs have at least one airport-specific course. Usually, the course is titled airport operations, airport administration, or airport management and is intended to cover only the basics of airports as a component of the National Air Transportation System. Airport-specific courses, defined as those courses with âairportâ in the course title and whose syllabi suggest that the majority of the course content is specific to airports, most often cover an overview of the management and administration of airports, the planning and design of airports, and airport operations. They may be part of an aviation core or offered as a technical elective. Airport Credit Hours No. of Programs Percentage 3 26 40% 4 to 6 20 31% 7 to 9 8 12% 10 to 14 6 9% 15 + 5 8% Total 65 100% Table 3.2. Aviation management programs with airport-specific credit hours.
The State of Airport Education in Academia 27 Fundamental/Introductory Airport Courses Nearly all curricula among representative programs have at least one airport course that is usually programmed to deliver an overview of airports as an air transportation facility. Topics typically include a historical perspective as well as legislation that directly influence airport operations and development. Characteristics of airports including activity metrics (operations and enplanements); FAA classifications; governance; administration and organiza- tional structures; fiscal activity; and various other topics are also included. Table 3.3 presents a compilation of basic airport courses among the 65 aviation management programs. Throughout academia, the most prolific airport course topic is one that provides an over- view of airport management. Course titles that include topics related to airport operations and administration may include elements of management, including introductions to airport administration, operations, and planning. Most engineering programs that offer an airport course focus on airport planning and design. Airport Planning and Development Courses The second most common airport course topic found in the curriculum of aviation manage- ment programs involves the planning and development of airports. Usually, these topics are especially relevant to airport consultancies, which provide entry-level employment, especially for programs known for providing qualified and capable graduates with a certain level of knowledge regarding the airport planning process, FAA airport design criteria, and other technical areas. Table 3.4 presents a compilation of courses related to airport planning and development among the 65 aviation management programs. In addition to the number of programs found in Table 3.4, most non-aviation programs offer- ing at least one airport course have a course in airport planning and design that aligns with their planning and/or engineering degree programs. The topics of some airport planning and development courses are combined, such as airport planning and design, airport planning and management, and so forth. These courses may be designed around a specific text, such as Young and Wells, Airport Planning and Management (2019) or Horonjeff, McKelvey, Sproule, and Young, Planning and Design of Airports (2010), or Prather, Airport Management (2015). Other Airport-Specific Course Topics Other airport-specific courses are aligned with common topics that can be viewed as a specialty. Airport marketing is a business-oriented topic that usually includes airlines in the coursework. Airport Security has been a prominent topic since 9/11. Airports share a responsibility with Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for passenger activity; however, security Topic No. of Courses* No. of Programs Offering Course Percentage of Total Programs Airport Management 50 46 71% Airport Operations 26 34 52% Airport Administration 14 12 18% * There are several courses that include multiple topics, such as airport operations and administration or airport operations and management, and they may be counted twice. Table 3.3. Basic airport topics (65 programs).
28 Enhancing Academic Programs to Prepare Future Airport Industry Professionals of the airfield and other areas of the airport is the primary concern of airport management. Courses also include the study of international airports as a function of the global air trans- portation network. Table 3.5 presents a summary of the most common of these courses among the 65 aviation management programs. Generally, airport-specific courses are offered in later stages of an overall curriculum. In the case of programs where one airport course is offered, that course may be most commonly taken during the studentâs final year of study. As a result, by the time the students are exposed to airports in this context, they are ready to graduate without having the opportunity to learn more. This presents an opportunity for programs to offer airport content, particularly fundamental/introductory airport courses, earlier in their curricula, as early as the first year in some cases. Aviation Courses with Airport-Specific Content Aviation courses that are not specific to airports often cover material that is airport-specific, within a wider syllabus of topics. For example, most aviation programs offer a course in aviation regulations, which typically includes airport-related regulatory issues. The relationship between airline operations and the airports is often discussed in airline management and airline opera- tions courses. Airspace around the airport is addressed in the context of obstructions to runway approaches in ATC courses. FBO, corporate, and general aviation operations often have material covering airport activity as a topic. Table 3.6 provides the percentage of the representative programs in which aviation courses that are not airport-specific may contain airport-related topics and provide opportunities to include airport content in the course. Most aviation programs also offer courses focusing on career preparation and professional development. Professional skills, such as communications, public speaking, and technical writing, are also pertinent to the aviation workforce. The most commonly offered courses include those in professional communications and career development. Topic No. of Courses* No. of Programs Offering Course Percentage of Total Programs Airport Security 10 9 14% Airport Safety 3 3 5% Airport Marketing 3 3 5% Airport Law 2 2 3% * There are several courses that include multiple topics, such as airport safety and security or airport administration and finance, and they may be counted twice. Table 3.5. Other airport topics. Topic No. of Courses* No. of Programs Offering Course Percentage of Total Programs Airport Planning 37 34 52% Airport Design 16 15 23% Airport Finance 9 9 14% Airport Environmental 5 3 5% * There are several courses that include multiple topics, such as airport planning and design or airport planning and management, and they may be counted twice. Table 3.4. Airport planning and development topics (all programs).
The State of Airport Education in Academia 29 Career Development, Capstone, and Culminating Experiences General accreditation criteria for higher education are moving institutions to ensure that their program curricula include a capstone course or culminating experience. Although a capstone project is not quite at the level of a thesis, it is generally organized to provide an opportunity for students to apply their collective knowledge, experience, and analytical and communication skills gained during their matriculation to a real-world topic. A capstone project may require a technical report about the identification, evaluation, and summation of the topic and delivery of an oral presentation or participation in a poster session. The capstone project may be an airport-specific issue. Among the 41 representative programs, 24 have a specific course listed as a capstone project or culminating experience. It should be noted that AABI accreditation requires evidence of a culminating experience, either in the curriculum or in practice. Some programs hold out internships as a culminating experience; however, they generally include a formal report and presentation requirement. Other course topics may include career preparation activities. One example includes preparing for the AAAEâs Certified Member (CM) examination. The CM credential is widely recognized by the airport industry as evidence of a comprehensive level of understanding of airports. The exam is based on a broad variety of topics including the following: â¢ Operations, Security, Maintenance â¢ Planning, Construction, and Environmental â¢ Finance and Administration â¢ Communications and Community Relations There are four modules aligned with these topics that provide the body of knowledge for preparation for the 180-question exam. At least three aviation programs have a course specifi- cally for preparing for the exam in the curriculum. These are usually offered near the end of the program and are sometimes included as a culminating experience. Another program that is used by some aviation programs as a culminating experience is the studentâs participation in the ACRPâs University Design Competition. ACRP annually sponsors a national competition among colleges and universities for innovative approaches that address airport issues in categories including airport operations and maintenance; runway safety/ runway incursions and excursions; airport environmental interactions; and airport manage- ment and planning. The competition offers cash prizes for first, second, and third place winners. Some schools have a course syllabus designed to allow aviation and non-aviation students to participate in the competition for credit. Other Activities Supporting Airport-Specific Education Other sanctioned or ad hoc student activities relevant to airports are part of the collegiate aviation education experience. Topic Percentage of Total Programs Aviation Regulations and Law 88% Aviation Safety and Security 72% Airspace and Air Traffic Control 36% Aviation Economics and Finance 32% Table 3.6. Aviation courses with airport-specific content.
30 Enhancing Academic Programs to Prepare Future Airport Industry Professionals All the 65 aviation management programs studied have at least one aviation-related student organization or club. The most common of these include the following: â¢ Alpha Eta Rho Aviation - Professional Fraternity (AHP) â¢ Women in Aviation International (WAI) â¢ Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) â¢ National Intercollegiate Flying Association (NIFA) â¢ National Gay Pilots Association (NGPA) â¢ Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OBAP) â¢ International Society of Air Safety Investigators (ISASI) â¢ American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) Through its academic relations committee, AAAE promotes the establishment of student chapters for supporting student interest in the airport industry. AAAEâs mission for the student chapters is centered on promoting the professional development of students engaged in the study of airport operations, administration, management, and development. The organization also seeks to instill the understanding that professional airport management embodies both technical knowledge and professional skills and responsibilities among stu- dent members. Benefits for these academic chapters include member access to the organizationâs web- site and select material and resources. Complementary registration for the annual conference for the faculty advisor and the chapter president, and reduced registration is also offered. Currently, there are 25 AAAE student chapters among the 41 representative aviation management programs. Through these chapters, students have opportunities to learn more about the airport profes- sion through guest speakers, site visits, and participation at industry conferences and meetings. A number of the airport-specific courses use AAAE training materials as class resources, such as the Airport Certified Employee (ACE) and the CM body of knowledge modules. Other national associations, such as the Airports Council InternationalâNorth America (ACIâNA), National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), and University Aviation Asso- ciation (UAA), have informal relationships with aviation management students and faculty through participation in their annual conference events. NBAA hosts a career day at its annual meetings that includes a substantially reduced registration rate and a career seminar with a sponsored lunch. Faculty Faculty serve as the focal point of most academic programs, and aviation management is no exception. All educational institutions require an adequate number of qualified and capable faculty to teach the topics of each course, some requiring specific and detailed technical knowledge and experience. For the institutions investigated for this research, supplying full-time faculty with an airport focus to meet the educational needs of the industry was a challenge. Less than 50% of the 41 representative programs investigated have airport courses taught by full-time faculty that have both terminal degrees and professional experience in airports. Of the programs that do have full-time experienced faculty teaching airport content, the quality of the faculty is generally perceived to be excellent. These faculty are published authors of research papers and textbooks, hold senior roles in industry professional organizations, and have strong relationships with the airport industry. Their stories are unique; however, as colleagues, faculty share a passion for the industry, their enthusiasm for teaching about its various aspects, and for helping graduates achieve entry-level employment positions.
The State of Airport Education in Academia 31 Most faculty teaching airport courses are adjunct (part-time) posi- tions. These adjunct faculty generally have direct airport experience, some of whom are still employed full-time in the airport industry. Although many are experienced in the field, they do not generally have terminal degrees, nor have they been formally trained in teaching undergraduate courses. Because airport subject matter is highly special- ized, aviation academic programs have traditionally relied on adjunct faculty to teach airport-specific courses, usually the more common air- port management, operations, and administration courses. Adjuncts are generally accessible locally through senior leadership at the communityâs airport. In some cases, they may not have been formally trained in academic instruction, and thus, they may have varying levels of experience with teaching skills involving multiple learning styles. There is a need to expand the availability of faculty to teach airport-oriented courses that will enable students to gain a well-balanced aviation education to prepare for entering the workforce on an airport-related career path. Recruitment from the airports and other related industries may be a start. Yet, some may need to enhance their teaching skills for an advancing techno- logical environment and the evolving learning styles of new college students. Graduate students in aviation programs may be another source for expanding the number of faculty. Mentoring graduate students, engaging in research projects, and providing opportunities to gain practical experience in the airport field can enhance their capabilities to teach airport-related content. As opposed to most other academic disciplines that generate faculty through graduate pro- grams, there are a limited number of such programs in aviation. Of the representative programs studied, less than one-third offer masterâs-level degree programs, and only Embry-Riddle Aero- nautical University and Florida Institute of Technology offer doctorate degrees in aviation. There are no graduate programs that offer airport masterâs or doctorate degrees. Generating faculty relies on graduates from other disciplines, such as engineering or education, who also have an interest and familiarization (through research or professional practice) in airports. This is a rare combination. Thus, this presents opportunities to create pathways for current faculty to become more experienced in airports and for existing airport professionals to be trained as future instructors, and to create a pipeline of graduates with the education and experience to become the next generation of airport-oriented faculty. Program Effectiveness in Preparing Graduates for Airport Careers As validated in this research, current academic programs have various levels of coverage pertinent to the eight identified MCO occupations of the airport industry. Table 3.7 provides a summary of the percentage of programs that offer at least an introductory level of education in these identified occupations. Table 3.7 illustrates several aviation management programs covering two or more course topics that address the wide range of skill sets that industry perceives are required for meeting mission-critical needs (Cronin et al. 2016, p. 94-96). The table also shows that there is little cov- erage for airport-specific civil engineering and airfield electrical systems among the eight critical occupations. These may be out of the realm of aviation management curricula but should still be encouraged for consideration at engineering schools. Some programs are successful in providing at least introductory levels of education in what was identified as MCO and other airport professional topics. However, many lack the depth and breadth of topical areas needed by the industry. Less than 50% of the 41 representative programs investigated have airport courses taught by full-time faculty that have both terminal degrees and professional experience in airports.
32 Enhancing Academic Programs to Prepare Future Airport Industry Professionals Informal Emphasis on Professional Development and Communications Investigation of the programs indicates that cursory attention is paid to educating students on being a professional and effective communicator in the industry. Professional develop- ment is said to include what are commonly known as soft skills or business acumen, including such topics as adapting to corporate culture, following up on task assignments, being a pro- active contributing member of an organization, and the like. Effective communication skills range from the ability to give formal presentations and deliver clear and effective techni- cal written reports, to informal communications skills, such as writing correspondence or posting on social media. The academic programs investigated tend to concentrate on com- munications skills learning in early non-aviation core and general education courses, such as English Composition. Rarely are these courses designed to specifically address the culture of the airport industry. Advanced courses in the curriculum attempt to address the need to improve professional and communications skills, but often this becomes ancillary to the core content of the course. This realization offers great opportunities to enhance professional development and communications education through the addition of course content in this area that leverages early-year courses and applies directly to the airport industry (Young et al. 2013). Limited Experiential Learning and Real-World Applications Although nearly all the programs investigated offer what may be considered experiential learning and real-world applications, the level and depth to which these are offered vary significantly among the pro- grams. For example, many of the programs offer these opportunities as extracurricular options for internships or co-op opportunities, without earning credits toward graduation. Other programs focus experiential learning opportunities on site visits, field trips, and visits to campus by industry professionals. Yet, others have deep and broad experiential learning opportunities, ranging from for-credit study toward industry certification exams to participation in national research competitions to industry capstone projects. This speaks to the opportunity for aca- demic programs to further engage with industry and create more formal experiential learning opportunities for their students. Occupational Category Programs Offering Some Level of Coverage Airport Operations 71% Airport Development 57% Airport Planning 50% Airport Finance 43% Airport Security 29% Information Technology 15% Airport Engineering* < 1% Airport Electrical Technology** < 1% * Topic areas covered are limited to engineering-specific degree programs. ** Research did not discover any academic courses specific to airport electrical technology. Table 3.7. Academic programs addressing industry needs. I think the best way to enhance curricula is to engage industry so that they are aware of what is being taught and why so that they understand the context for making recommendations for changes. â Professor, Aviation Management Program
The State of Airport Education in Academia 33 From this detailed examination of academic programs, it can be seen that there are opportu- nities to enhance airport-oriented topic coverage at all levels of a curriculum. Airport-related content may be included in general education and core courses, and a more robust study of specialized airport topics may be added through higher-level technical and general elective courses. All programs can benefit their students by providing more real-world experience that may be gained through in-class project assignments, site visits, internships, and extracurricular activities.
34 Enhancing Academic Programming Although most existing aviation-oriented academic programs give some cursory level of airport-oriented education, opportunities exist to enhance these curricula to better meet the needs of industry. Also, programs that do not traditionally offer course content in aviation- or airport-related topics, such as traditional programs in business, public policy, and engineering, open up great opportunities to introduce airport content into these programs. Finally, there are ample opportunities to provide students in academic programs with more practical real-world experience. This chapter provides illustrative examples of how academic programs of all types can contribute to enhancing airport-oriented education. Two of the most important insights for academia that surfaced from this studyâs research on the airport workforce are as follows: â¢ Many MCO jobs are not addressed by airport disciplines, but rather by fields of study that may have little exposure to real-world airport settings; and C H A P T E R 4 Key Takeaways Airport academic programming may be enhanced by the following: â¢ Increasing the depth and breadth of existing course curricula through offering a set of broad fundamental and cross-cutting courses, and a set of advanced courses in the areas of airport operations and maintenance; airport business and administration; and airport planning, design, and engineering. â¢ Expanding airport education to colleges and universities that do not currently offer airport content through the addition of fundamental airport courses and adding airport content to existing course curricula in relevant programs, such as business, engineering, and technology programs. â¢ Increasing experiential learning opportunities through culminating experiences, such as capstone courses, internships, extracurricular activities, site visits to industry, participation at industry conferences and meetings, research opportunities, and program-sponsored symposia and guest lectures. â¢ Modernizing course delivery methods using online learning management systems and associated digital platforms. â¢ Enhancing interaction with industry through guest lecture opportunities, adjunct faculty appointments, capstone and research project mentorship, and participation on academic program advisory boards.
Enhancing Academic Programming 35 â¢ Academia lacks an expansive or in-depth education in traditional airport topics that are particularly relevant to the execution of occupations, such as airport management and airport operations. Furthermore, as airports increasingly operate under a business enterprise model rather than the historical government agency model, airport academic programs may consider enhancing their curricula by including more business and policy-oriented topicsânot limiting topics to traditional operations, planning, and development courses. Even courses in airport administration need to evolve from the traditional paradigm of teaching about the airport industry in the context of business; that to thrive, airports must be competitive, lean, efficient, and customer-friendly. Airports are a dynamic environment, with constantly evolving imple- mentations of technology, budget models, and customer solutions. Airports are also constantly adapting to widely changing environments, from economic swings to socio-demographic and political landscapes, to global pandemics, to changes in travel behavior. As such, academic pro- grams should be both more flexible to the changing environments and more hands-on practice, so that students matriculating through these programs can have real-world experience before graduation. Cronin et al. (2016) note that among the eight airport occupations identified as MCOs to the industry by more than 700 industry stakeholders, half of those occupations are served by courses and programs that are not within aviation and might have little to no intersection with the aviation schools. For example, airport jobs related to IT, financial analysis, electrical, and engineering are often filled by talent that has yet to be exposed to the airport environment and the unique work demands of this ecosystem. Further, a fifth occupation among the eight MCOs, project planning, often brings in graduates from business schools and other programs outside of aviation. Two reasonable conclusions from revisiting this body of research are as follows: â¢ Airport/aviation programs may create curricula within an existing course structure or as a separate course to provide education in these technical disciplines that is specific to the work requirements performed on the job; and/or â¢ Airport/aviation programs may work to cultivate strong partnerships with other disciplines to encourage the use of airport-specific case studies within those disciplines that allow students to apply their technical knowledge to airport scenarios. Cronin et al. (2016) also conducted a detailed review of airport training and education pro- grams to determine the extent to which essential competencies required to perform the eight MCOs are addressed. For example, the report indicates only 50% of programs focus on the inter- pretation of airport regulations and safety and security procedures that are fundamental to the airport environment. Further, mission-critical topics, including IT security risk/cyber security, are not covered by most airport-oriented academic programs. These findings are validated by the current research effort. To speak to the second observation, which reveals most aviation management and airport operations courses are too narrow in scope, the current research suggests programs need to feature coursework and supplemental projects as well as experiential learning opportunities that expose students to the types of work activities in which they will be engaged in their future job roles. This might include providing shadowing opportunities for students to learn what landside operations entail or providing case study scenarios as part of coursework or capstone projects that involve safety challenges that students have to work collaboratively to solve. Course projects that require students to respond to airport challenges and apply current regu- latory requirements can also serve as a means of developing the requisite knowledge and skills required for the future workforce.
36 Enhancing Academic Programs to Prepare Future Airport Industry Professionals To this end, enhancing airport curricula requires a multifaceted approach to meet these needs: Enhancing Depth. Most airport topics, with the exception of airport operations, tend to get cursory, if any, coverage in current curricula. There are opportunities to deliver advanced courses in airport operations, business, policy, and planning. Enhancing Breadth. Most airport curricula do not include the vast breadth of core edu- cation in areas relevant to airports as business enterprises, important public transportation centers, and complex engineered systems. There are opportunities to broaden curricula to business, policy, and engineering topics. Enhancing Practical Real-World Experiences. One of the most commonly heard themes during this studyâs surveys, interviews, and focus groups is that graduates of academic programs need more real-world experiences within their programs. There are opportunities to enhance curricula with internships and capstone projects that engage industry as well as other activities that allow students to interact with the airport industry in learning about and addressing current aviation issues. This chapter provides ideas and concepts about how any academic program, whether it is one with already established airport curricula or one shaping a new program, can become stronger by increasing its depth, breadth, and experiential learning for the benefit of the airport industry. This is presented through a series of building blocks for an enhanced academic airport program, as illustrated in Figure 4.1. This chapter discusses options for curriculum structure, course offerings, delivery methods, and experiential learning options, such as internships and extracurricular opportunities. A series of building blocks illustrates how programs may be enhanced at any level, from those that have zero aviation content to those that already have a degree program or specialization in airports. The building blocks are foundational and build by introducing airport content into an existing curriculum, broadening a curriculum with fundamental foundational courses in topics of importance to airport professionals, and deepening a curriculum in focus areas that align with the mission-critical needs of the industry through advanced core and technical elec- tive courses. The building blocks also include methods for programs at any level of enhance- ment to support academic programming through innovating delivery methods and activities that encourage experiential learning and ways to champion programs with faculty leadership and industry-partnered activities. Curricula Structure and Course Offerings To meet industry needs, a wide spectrum of opportunities exists to improve educational depth and breadth by introducing courses in curricula that address the operational, busi- ness, and engineering/planning needs of airports. Furthermore, curricula structures can be envisioned that allow students to focus on a given area of interest, while also providing a well- rounded airport education. To achieve this, a curriculum structure of a series of fundamental and cross-cutting courses; three curriculum tracks that provide depth in their respective topics; and capstone, culminating experiences, internships, and extracurricular offerings is presented. This enhanced curriculum structure follows the set of building blocks with fundamental and cross-cutting courses taken relatively early in the curriculum. A set of core and elective courses following a particular track to provide depth to the program is offered in later years, and an
Enhancing Academic Programming 37 assortment of culminating experiences follows to add real-world applications to the program. This is illustrated in Figure 4.2. The keys to this structure include the following: â¢ Intro to Aviation and Airports 101 offered early in curriculum â¢ Fundamentals courses are prerequisites to trackâs core â¢ Technical electives build on core (various prerequisite requirements) â¢ Multiple internship opportunities â¢ Multiple culminating experiences in 4th year *Extracurricular activity is encouraged throughout the curriculum. Extracurricular activity in later years may be more formalized (study for industry certification, participation in national research competitions, or work-study). This curriculum structure is detailed below. It is important to note that this proposed structure is not intended to be a one-size-fits-all curriculum. Rather, the information provided within this structure is intended to be offered as âitems on the shelfâ from which any academic program can select to enhance its curriculum. Introducing airport content into a curriculum with introductory subject matter â¢ Intro to Aviation course â¢ Airports 101 course â¢ Add airport examples into existing courses Broadening curriculum with fundamentals courses â¢ Fundamentals of Business â¢ Fundamentals of Public Policy â¢ Fundamentals of Engineering Technology â¢ Introduction to Data Analytics â¢ Professional Development and Communications Deepening curriculum with airport focus tracks including core courses, technical electives, and culminating experiences â¢ Airport Operations and Maintenance track â¢ Airport Business and Administration track â¢ Airport Planning, Design, and Engineering track â¢ Technical electives â¢ Capstone courses Supporting curriculum with enhanced delivery methods and real-world experiences â¢ Online and blended curriculum delivery â¢ Internships and co-ops â¢ Extracurricular offerings Championing the program with faculty leadership and industry partnerships â¢ Faculty champion â¢ Adjunct faculty appointments â¢ Industry bridge / pipeline programs â¢ Promoting the program to industry Figure 4.1. Building blocks for an enhanced academic airport program.
38 Enhancing Academic Programs to Prepare Future Airport Industry Professionals Introductory Aviation and Airport Content Introducing airport content into a curriculum with introductory subject matter â¢ Intro to Aviation course â¢ Airports 101 course â¢ Add airport examples into existing courses First and foremost, enhancing curricula with airport-oriented content starts with at least the most introductory courses on the aviation industry and airports. These courses include the following: Intro to AviationâAn overview of the aviation industry, to include an understanding of all sectors, including government structures (FAA, National Airspace System, ATC, etc.), civil users (commercial airlines; cargo; charter and corporate aviation; general aviation; aeromedical; agricultural aviation; future users of UAS), and airports. Airports 101âAn introduction to the airport industry, to include an understanding of the types of airports that exist, their roles within the national airspace system, their roles within a com- munity, the customers they serve, the organizational structures that they fit in, and operational components. The course would also provide introductory material of the topics covered more in-depth in advanced courses in a deeper curriculum, including airport operations; finance and administration; marketing and air service development; maintenance; and planning and design. Most aviation and airport programs already offer these courses; however, for those institu- tions that do not have aviation content and are interested in enhancing their curricula in this area, these two courses are the first to add. Year 1 Autumn Term Spring Term Summer Term Gen Ed College (Aviation) Core Gen Ed College (Aviation) Core Gen Ed Gen Ed College (Aviation) Core Fundamentals Course Intro to Aviation Fundamentals Course Year 2 Autumn Term Spring Term Summer Term College (Aviation) Core College (Aviation) Core AIRPORT ROTATIONAL INTERNSHIP Gen Ed College (Aviation) Core College (Aviation) Core Gen Ed Fundamentals Course Fundamentals Course Fundamentals Course Airports 101 Year 3 Autumn Term Spring Term Summer Term Gen Ed Gen Ed AIRPORT SPECIALIZED INTERNSHIP College (Aviation) Core General Elective Airport Track Core Course Airport Track Core Course Airport Track Core Course Airport Technical Elective Year 4 Autumn Term Spring Term Summer Term General Elective General Elective Airport Technical Elective Airport Technical Elective Airport Technical Elective Airport Capstone Extracurricular Activity Figure 4.2. Example enhanced program curriculum structure.
Enhancing Academic Programming 39 Adding Airport Examples into Existing Courses The airport environment has applications to nearly all areas of study in academia. Simply adding airport examples into existing classes can provide both airport education and motivation for further study. Fundamental and Cross-Cutting Courses Fundamental and cross-cutting courses applicable to all interests and elements of air- ports include the following. Although these courses are intended to be fundamental, and not necessarily specific to the airport environment, use of airport examples can be most beneficial in these courses. â¢ Fundamentals of BusinessâAn introduction to the elements of a business environment, to include intro to economics, finance, accounting, marketing, communications, organizational structures, operations, customer service, human resources management, and the nature of professionalism in industry. Example airport exercise: Become familiar with an airportâs strategic plan and annual report. â¢ Fundamentals of Public PolicyâAn introduction to how public policy oper- ates, to include high-level education on federal, state, and local government levels, laws and regulations, and governmental procedures. Example airport exercise: Attend a local airport town hall meeting or government meeting where the airport is on the agenda. â¢ Fundamentals of Engineering TechnologyâAn introduction to engineering principles with a focus on properties of mechanics, aerodynamics, and electrical systems; IT; and an overview of engineering specializations to include mechanical, civil, and electrical engineering as well as IT. Example airport exercises: Study the operational performance of an aircraft that commonly uses a nearby airport; take a site visit to an airport and tour the airfield; study the runway configuration, pavement construction, and electrical lighting systems. â¢ Introduction to Data AnalyticsâIntroduction and application of data analytics tools, methods, and purposes. Apply data analytics software tools (spreadsheets, visualization tools, programming packages) to airport data to seek business and operational insights. Example airport exercise: Review and analyze historical airport operations data, create charts, and illustrate possible future demand levels. â¢ Professional Development and CommunicationsâA course focusing on developing pro- fessional skills needed for success in the airport industry, to include the development of oral, written, and presentation communications skills, project planning, time management, and an understanding of professional culture. Example airport exercise: Create a short professional presentation about an airport, discussing one of its challenges. These courses already exist in some form or fashion at most academic institutions, although they may not contain any aviation or airport content. If this is the case, conversations with faculty teaching these courses may yield the possibility of adding such content. Airport content integrated into the courses would be of great benefit. In addition, these courses introduce the topics described. Courses throughout any curriculum would then advance and reinforce these topics. This is particularly important in the area of professional development and communications. These fundamental cross-cutting courses form the basis of a curriculum that would serve as a foundation for an enhanced airport academic program. Broadening curriculum with fundamentals courses â¢ Fundamentals of Business â¢ Fundamentals of Public Policy â¢ Fundamentals of Engineering Technology â¢ Introduction to Data Analytics â¢ Professional Development and Communications
40 Enhancing Academic Programs to Prepare Future Airport Industry Professionals Focus Tracks, Technical Electives, and Experiences for Deeper Learning In addition to gaining education in these fundamental core courses, an enhanced curriculum might include tracks of deeper core and elec- tive courses focusing on the following areas: â¢ Airport Operations and Maintenance â¢ Airport Business and Administration â¢ Airport Planning, Design, and Engineering Each track consists of a set of core courses and a selection of pro- posed technical elective courses. Core courses provide a required depth in the track, while the technical electives are designed to build on the core courses to provide the student with the opportunities to go even deeper into specialized topics. In most curricula, technical electives are available for any student, regardless of the track they choose. However, it would be common for the core courses for each track to be prerequisites for technical elec- tives relevant to that track because the topics presented in technical electives are intended to be advanced study based on introductory material found in the core courses. Within each of the following courses are topics and activities that may not only be applied in a standalone course but also included in other courses on relevant topics. For example, the use of social media by airports can be relevant to any course in social media communications or marketing. Focus Track: Airport Operations and Maintenance This track focuses on the daily management of the physical airport environment, to include the airfield and nearby airspace; terminals and other buildings; and landside (roadways, parking, transit systems, etc.) facilities and infrastructure. A working knowledge of how these systems operate safely and should be maintained is stressed. This track is most similar to existing airport curricula of programs that exist within aviation management programs. These programs focus their curricula on aviation-related topics and specifically focus their airport-related content on airport operations (see Figure 4.3). Core courses for this track include the following: â¢ Airport Certification. This course would cover the requirements for an airport to achieve FAA certification to accommodate commercial-service aircraft, covering more than 30 key items in the Airport Certification Manual, per 14 CFR Part 139. â¢ Airport Terminal and Landside Operations. This course would cover the issues concerning the effective management of airport terminals and landside facilities. â¢ Airport Safety and Security. This course would cover the essential elements of airport operational safety and security. Technical electives pertinent for this track may include but are not limited to the following: â¢ Obstruction Evaluation/Airport-Airspace Analysis. This course covers the procedures for creating published arrival, approach, and departure procedures for airports, known as United States Standard for Terminal Instrument Procedures (TERPS), and the airspace protec- tion requirements to ensure these procedures operate in safe and navigable airspace, per Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) Part 77 and TERPS airspace clearance requirements. Deepening curriculum with airport focus tracks with core courses and technical electives â¢ Airport Operations & Maintenance track â¢ Airport Airside Operations â¢ Airport Terminal and Landside Operations â¢ Airport Safety and Security â¢ Airport Business & Administration track â¢ Airport Accounting and Finance â¢ Airport Policy and Administration â¢ Airport Marketing and Communications â¢ Airport Planning, Design, and Engineering track â¢ Airport Design â¢ Airport Master Planning â¢ Airport Land Use Compatibility Planning â¢ Technical electives â¢ Capstone courses
Enhancing Academic Programming 41 â¢ Pavement and Infrastructure Maintenance. This course covers the practice of maintaining airport pavements and other airfield infrastructure. â¢ Operational Safety and Safety Management System (SMS). This course covers the aspect of maintaining the operational safety of airport operations, including the implementation of airport safety management systems. â¢ Airfield lighting, signage, markings, and electrical systems. This course provides in-depth coverage of the operation of airfield lighting, signage, markings, and electrical systems. â¢ Airport Security. This course covers the spectrum of issues, rules, regulations, and practices associated with maintaining the security of airports. â¢ Airport Winter Operations. This course covers the elements of maintaining the safe opera- tion of airports during winter conditions, to include snow and ice removal, aircraft deicing, and other conditions associated with winter weather. â¢ Environmental and Wildlife Hazard Management. This course covers the requirements to maintain safe and land use compatible airport operations in the face of environmental challenges, including wildlife hazards, air quality, water quality, and noise impacts. Year 1 Autumn Term Spring Term Summer Term Gen Ed College (Aviation) Core Gen Ed College (Aviation) Core Gen Ed Gen Ed College (Aviation) Core Fundamentals of Business Intro to Aviation Fundamentals of Engineering Technology Year 2 Autumn Term Spring Term Summer Term College (Aviation) Core College (Aviation) Core AIRPORT ROTATIONAL INTERNSHIP Gen Ed College (Aviation) Core College (Aviation) Core Gen Ed Professional Development and Communications Fundamentals of Public Policy Data Analytics Airports 101 Year 3 Autumn Term Spring Term Summer Term Gen Ed Gen Ed AIRPORT OPERATIONS INTERNSHIP College (Aviation) Core General Elective Airport Safety and Security Airport Terminal and Landside Operations Airport Certification Airport Electrical Systems Year 4 Autumn Term Spring Term Summer Term General Elective General Elective Wildlife Hazard Management Airport Winter Operations Irregular Operations Airport Capstone Extracurricular Activity Figure 4.3. Example enhanced curriculum: Airport Operations and Maintenance track.
42 Enhancing Academic Programs to Prepare Future Airport Industry Professionals â¢ Management of Operations During Airfield Construction. This course covers the strategies used to manage safe airport operations during periods of construction and other unusual conditions on an airfield. â¢ Commercial Terminal Airline Tenant Operations. This course covers the strategies asso- ciated with managing a commercial airline terminal, to include gate operations manage- ment, concession operations, passenger processing, and other operational components of the terminal environment. â¢ Curbside and Parking Operations. This course covers the strategies for operating an airportâs curbside and parking facilities. â¢ Terminal Facilities Maintenance. This course covers the strategies for maintaining airport terminal facilities, such as gate areas, jet bridges, concessions, restrooms, IT infrastructure, and other building infrastructure. â¢ Operation of Surface Roads and Transit Systems. This course covers the strategies for managing airport surface roads and transit systems. â¢ Management of Irregular Operations. This course covers the strategies to manage an airport under irregular operating conditions, such as severe weather, external events, diverted aircraft, and the like. â¢ General Aviation Airport Operations. This course covers the particulars of managing a general aviation airport, including understanding of small aircraft operations, operations at non-towered airports, FBO operations, and hangar operations. â¢ Airport Information Technology. This course covers the management of IT systems at airports, including flight information systems, security systems, internal administrative systems, public Wi-Fi access, and the like. Focus Track: Airport Business and Administration This track focuses on managing the airport as a business enterprise, most often as a public agency, to include applications of policy, finance, marketing, capital plan- ning, revenue management, customer service, communications, and other business interests (see Figure 4.4). Core courses for this track include the following: â¢ Airport Accounting and FinanceâAn in-depth investigation of the accounting and finance strategies used by airports for the day-to-day financial management and long-term capital needs of the airport. â¢ Airport Policy and AdministrationâAn in-depth investigation of the administrative prac- tices and policy strategies of airports, to include airport governing structures, interaction with local, state, and federal governmental agencies. â¢ Airport Marketing and CommunicationsâAn in-depth investigation of how airports market and communicate with their customers and community partners. Topics include air service development, social media communications, and so forth. Technical electives pertinent for this track may include but are not limited to the following: â¢ Airport Properties ManagementâAn in-depth look at managing airport properties. Topics include management of FBOs, hangar management, and non-aeronautical properties. â¢ Airport Concessions ManagementâAn in-depth look at how to manage an airport concessions program, to include retail; food and beverage; entertainment; car rental; and other passenger services. Topics include tenant management; contracts; rates and charges; customer service; branding; quality control; and so forth. â¢ Airport ConsultingâA study of the role of consultants and contractors in the airport industry. Topics include requests for proposals, requests for qualifications, and requests for bids as well
Enhancing Academic Programming 43 as FAA requirements for a competitive selection process and best practices for consultants and contractors. â¢ Air Service DevelopmentâAn investigation of strategies to acquire air service into an air- port that meets the needs of the community. Topics include strategic demand analysis, matching demand to proposed service, identifying providers, marketing, incentive pro- grams, and so forth. â¢ Community EngagementâA study of how airport management may effectively engage with its community of neighbors, tenants, and governing bodies, and other stakeholders. â¢ Social Media StrategiesâInvestigating how airports may leverage social media platforms to assist in public communications, marketing, advertising, and handling unusual situations. Example applications include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and interactive web- site development. Year 1 Autumn Term Spring Term Summer Term Gen Ed College (Aviation) Core Gen Ed College (Aviation) Core Gen Ed Gen Ed College (Aviation) Core Fundamentals of Business Intro to Aviation Fundamentals of Engineering Technology Year 2 Autumn Term Spring Term Summer Term College (Aviation) Core College (Aviation) Core AIRPORT ROTATIONAL INTERNSHIP Gen Ed College (Aviation) Core College (Aviation) Core Gen Ed Professional Development and Communications Fundamentals of Public Policy Data Analytics Airports 101 Year 3 Autumn Term Spring Term Summer Term Gen Ed Gen Ed AIRPORT MARKETING INTERNSHIP College (Aviation) Core General Elective Airport Accounting and Finance Airport Administration and Policy Airport Marketing and Communications Airport Properties Management Year 4 Autumn Term Spring Term Summer Term General Elective General Elective Social Media Strategies Community Engagement Air Service Development Airport Capstone Extracurricular Activity Figure 4.4. Example enhanced curriculum: Airport Business and Administration track.
44 Enhancing Academic Programs to Prepare Future Airport Industry Professionals â¢ Airport Business AnalyticsâAn advanced study in applying data analytics toward gaining airport business insights, to include operational and revenue performance, customer service quality measurement, and competitive performance. â¢ Airport Communications Under Irregular OperationsâAdvanced study in how to effec- tively communicate the state of the airport and directions for airport users in the face of unusual circumstances, such as extreme weather, infrastructure disrepair, external socio- political events, and pandemics. â¢ Global Airport SystemsâFocusing on the enterprise models of airports around the world. Focus Track: Airport Planning, Design, and Engineering This track focuses on the future of the physical airport. Working knowledge of the engineering and planning of airport infrastructure is the desired goal (see Figure 4.5). Core courses for this track include the following: â¢ Airport DesignâA comprehensive overview of the elements of airport design. Elements include geometric design of the runways, taxiways, and safety areas; placement of airfield Figure 4.5. Example enhanced curriculum: Airport Planning, Design, and Engineering track. Year 1 Autumn Term Spring Term Summer Term Gen Ed College (Aviation) Core Gen Ed College (Aviation) Core Gen Ed Gen Ed College (Aviation) Core Fundamentals of Business Intro to Aviation Fundamentals of Engineering Technology Year 2 Autumn Term Spring Term Summer Term College (Aviation) Core College (Aviation) Core AIRPORT ROTATIONAL INTERNSHIP Gen Ed College (Aviation) Core College (Aviation) Core Gen Ed Professional Development and Communications Fundamentals of Public Policy Data Analytics Airports 101 Year 3 Autumn Term Spring Term Summer Term Gen Ed Gen Ed AIRPORT PLANNING INTERNSHIP College (Aviation) Core General Elective Airport Design Airport Land Use Compatibility Planning Airport Master Planning Electrical Systems Design Year 4 Autumn Term Spring Term Summer Term General Elective General Elective Airport Noise Modeling Terminal Design Capacity and Delay Analysis Airport Capstone Extracurricular Activity
Enhancing Academic Programming 45 signs, lights, and markings; runway orientation analysis; pavement design; airport capacity analysis; and terminal and landside facilities design. â¢ Airport Master PlanningâA comprehensive overview of the elements of airport master planning. Elements include community participation, goal setting, facilities assessment, fore- casting, and capital planning. â¢ Airport Land Use Compatibility PlanningâAn introduction to the physical elements of consideration with respect to airports and surrounding land uses. Elements include obstruc- tion evaluation/airport-airspace analysis; noise impact modeling; water and air quality assess- ments; and traffic impacts on areas surrounding the airport. Technical electives pertinent for this track may include but are not limited to the following: â¢ Engineering Design of AirportsâAdvanced study of geometric design of the airfield. This covers enhanced topics, to include design of unusual airfield elements such as bridged run- ways, end-around taxiways, heliports, and other interesting examples. â¢ Electrical Systems DesignâStudy of the design of airport electrical systems, including the design of airfield electrical infrastructure and large building facilities. â¢ Pavement DesignâStudy of the design of airfield pavements, including soil and drainage analysis; design of rigid and flexible pavements; pavement maintenance and repair; and pave- ment friction and functional condition analysis. Use of FAARField FAA Pavement Design model. â¢ Airport System PlanningâStudy of the planning of a system of airports on the national, state, regional, and local levels. â¢ Airport Construction and Project PlanningâStudy of the process of planning and managing an airport construction project. â¢ Airport Noise ModelingâAdvanced study of airport noise impact modeling using industry- accepted models (AEDT). â¢ Land Use PlanningâAdvanced study of airports and their economic, environmental, and transportation impact of surrounding land use. â¢ Capacity and Delay AnalysisâAdvanced study of airport capacity and delay analysis using industry-accepted models (SIMMOD, TAAM, etc.). â¢ Terminal DesignâAn advanced course in the historical, current, and future elements of designing a commercial airport terminal. Focus on terminal geometries; aircraft parking and gates; passenger facilities; and ground access infrastructure. â¢ Design of Parking and Ground Access SystemsâA specialized course in parking facilities design and design of ground access systems, such as terminal curb fronts; intra-airport transit systems; rental car facilities; and facilities to accommodate new and future modes of trans- port, ranging from shared vehicle services to autonomous ground vehicles. â¢ Computer Automated Design (CAD)âApplication of CAD to the design of airport airspace, airfield, terminal, and ground access facilities. â¢ GISâApplication of GIS to the airport planning environment, to include geographic layer- ing, mapping, and data integration. â¢ Designing for the User ExperienceâConsideration of design thinking; passenger-experience preferences and the use of artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and other technologies in the design process. Supporting the Curriculum with Culminating Experiences A complete curriculum will be supported with activities that allow students to apply what they have learned in the classroom to practical real-world situations. Ways to achieve these culminating experiences are through capstone courses, internships, and extracurricular activities.
46 Enhancing Academic Programs to Prepare Future Airport Industry Professionals Capstone Courses Some of the most productive components of enhanced curricula are courses that allow students to apply what they have learned in their studies to a real-world issue over an entire term. These courses are typically known as capstone or culminating experience courses. They generally occur in the senior year of a program. Within these courses, students are grouped into small teams (usually 3 to 5 students per team). The team is then assigned a real-world issue to work on through the term. These issues should come from the real world. Most often, an issue is brought to the class from industry. For example, an airport involved in a master planning process may consider a capstone course that provides students the opportunity to assist in the planning process in ways such as developing activity forecasts through data collection and modeling. Or perhaps, if an airport is interested in enhancing its social media strategy, students can perform an analysis of other airport social media platforms. The instructor should consider how best to support students, including making professional connections for student teams with airport industry personnel. In these courses, students are responsible for both addressing the issue and presenting their findings at the end of the class. It may be possible to present the findings at the airport to the airport professionals with whom the students interacted. These presentations allow the students to refine their formal communications skills. An example capstone course syllabus is provided in the resources section of the guidebook. As the syllabus illustrates, students are guided in the elements of completing term-long projects, including problem statement development, literature reviews, data collection, analysis, deter- mining findings, and presenting results. Experiential Learning Opportunities Educational activities that take place outside of the classroom, known commonly as experiential learning, may be considered more enriching experiences than traditional classroom learning. Each of the previously described courses may include some component of experiential learning. Examples include real-world applications of the topics covered through course term projects, site visits to facilities of relevance to the topic covered, or integrated partnerships with industry professionals within courses. Experiential learning can also occur outside of courses themselves, including internships and co-ops, and extracurricular opportunities, such as participation in student organizations that focus on the airport industry; national research competitions; and program-sponsored guest lectures, symposia, and conferences. Experiential learning is the practice of facilitating the education process by incorporating hands-on opportunities for students to apply what they have been taught in the classroom. There are many forms and formats for experiential learning. Some may be short term, lasting only a couple of hours or a day, while others may take weeks or longer. The academic application of experiential learning can be incorporated into a course syllabus by offering a specific individual or team assignment. It can also be integrated into a lab associated with Supporting curriculum with enhanced delivery methods, internships, and extracurricular offerings â¢ Internships and co-ops â¢ Extracurricular offerings â¢ Online and blended curriculum delivery
Enhancing Academic Programming 47 a course or as a standalone course. In most cases, experiential learning generally occurs outside the classroom setting but requires deliberate control of the learning outcome that will result. Some programs offer an experiential learning opportunity by participating in the ACRPâs University Design Competition as a one- or two-semester course. Other extended forms of experiential learning involve internships and co-ops. Although creating an experiential learning opportunity for students requires unique consid- erations specific to the course, the following are general guidelines: â¢ Develop goals. â¢ Consider various experiential learning opportunities that will allow students to achieve these goals. Ideas include the following: â Volunteer as an airport ambassador â Assist with an airport master plan update â Assist with a full-scale emergency exercise â Ride along on airfield self-inspections â Assist with planning for an airshow â Support public hearings for a runway extension â Conduct passenger satisfaction surveys â Conduct research related to wildlife incidents, foreign object damage (FOD) incidents, or medical calls â Develop a training program that achieves regulatory compliance for all personnel â Assist with aircraft operations traffic count â Perform research of ACRP projects related to a specific topic â¢ Contact industry professionals to secure experiential learning opportunities for students. â¢ Assist with matching students (considering individual student interests) to specific experien- tial learning opportunities. Innovative Curriculum Delivery Methods As stated in Chapter 3, the research conducted for this guidebook revealed that the majority of aviation and airport-specific academic programs are delivered in the traditional manner of academia; classroom, lecture, and textbook-based over a defined academic calendar. However, this traditional template of teaching, both within and outside of aviation programming, is changing rapidly. There is no doubt that the delivery of enhanced airport academic programming will be very different in the near future. Particularly, the new age of advanced communications and learning technologies, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, are contributing to revolutionary changes in the delivery of higher education. It would be remiss to not consider innovative delivery methods when enhancing airport academic programming. Traditional and New Technological Distance Learning Methods Beyond the traditional college campus, some institutions with aviation programs have expanded their brand by providing degrees and courses through extended or satellite campuses. Many of these are associated with military bases and other remote locations. For example, while Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University has campuses located in Daytona Beach, Florida, and Prescott, Arizona, it also has an additional 130 campuses located globally and administered by a separate Embry-Riddle Worldwide program. Many courses through Embry-Riddle Worldwide are delivered in a traditional face-to-face setting and taught primarily by available adjunct faculty. Historically, before the advent of modern communications technology, the only alternative to face-to-face instruction was the correspondence course. This form of course delivery
48 Enhancing Academic Programs to Prepare Future Airport Industry Professionals involved a structured but self-paced sequence of readings from a course text and other materials (including VHS lectures) followed by written homework assignments that were sent by mail to the instructor. The instructor then graded the assignments, including corrections and other constructive comments, and returned them by mail to the student. The final exam may have been proctored through a prearranged monitor. Alternately, the course may have used other means to assess the degree of learning. Although there are still institutions that offer correspondence courses, todayâs technology provides a vastly superior alternative medium for education. With the rapid adoption of Internet technology beginning in the early 1990s, educational applications that took advantage of the capabilities exploded. Educational technology (also known as EdTech or EduTech) adapted the use of terminals tethered to central mainframe computers, and later, to personal computers to provide computer-based training (CBT) and learning programs. Public access to Internet technology through personal computers was facilitated by services such as America OnlineTM (AOL), CompuserveTM, and other companies that introduced email, bulletin boards, chat rooms, and newsfeeds. One of the first academic institutions to offer online courses was the University of Phoenix in the late 1980s. In 2002, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was one of the first academic institutions to offer course material, including lecture videos and notes, online as open-source material through its OpenCourseWare project. Since that time, the quality, content, and number of academic courses delivered online have evolved significantly. Another phase in the evolution of online education was the emergence of massive open online courses (MOOC). In 2001, Stanford University pioneered MOOCs by offering an advanced computer applications course (artificial intelligence) online for free. Enrollment totaled over 160,000, with 20,000 completing the course. This experience inspired the creation of UdacityTM, a commercial online education service. CourseraTM and EdXTM are similar platforms that offer free or fee-based collegiate-level courses. Students choosing to enhance their level of knowledge, or pursue academic degrees, via online learning must possess additional skills to be successful. For example, students must be self-motivated. This includes checking email, engaging in discussion boards, and meeting assignment deadlines. Students must also exercise time management skills. Especially if enrolled in multiple courses simultaneously, students must remain abreast of assignment deadlines and stay on task to avoid getting behind. Students should also understand that the quality of online learning may vary from course to course. At the same time, students have the opportunity to use Internet tools to conduct research, for example, to enhance their learning experience. Note: A brief search using the term âaviationâ on each of these platforms resulted in only one courseâCyber Security Policy for Aviation and Internet Infrastructureâoffered in col- laboration with the University of Colorado as part of its Homeland Security and Cyber Security Specialization program. Online Learning Through New Technologies Historical distance learning platforms have evolved to a new level of maturity, particularly with the proliferation of high-speed Internet, powerful personal computers and mobile devices, and cloud computing platforms. It is now relatively easy to establish a class; post syllabi and materials; present videos and other media; hold discussions; distribute and grade assignments and exams; perform extensive course
Enhancing Academic Programming 49 projects; and otherwise completely manage an academic class through online technology. To facilitate this, most universities have subscribed to formal online Learning Management Systems (LMS), such as Blackboard, Google Classroom, or Canvas. Leveraging these LMS platforms to deliver airport curricula would certainly enhance course depth and breadth, enable the ability to at least provide âvirtualâ real-world applications, and increase accessibility, because students may be able to access the course and interact with the instructor and fellow students from anywhere in the world if they have sufficient Internet access. Synchronous Versus Asynchronous Delivery Online learning can be either synchronous or asynchronous. Synchronous learning takes place in real time, with students and the instructor logging in at the same time to attend an instructor lecture or have a class discussion through a video conferencing tool. Although students often perceive synchronous learning as more engaged, this form of online learning removes some of the flexibility inherent with online learning, that is, all students must plan to complete course- work (i.e., log on) at the same time. On the other hand, asynchronous learning allows students to log on at any time to access course material. Typically, the instructor has recorded lectures or screencasts and uploaded these to the LMS to be viewed by students at their convenience. There are generally course deadlines to which students must adhere, but learning can take place at any time based on the studentâs preference. The Internet technology has facilitated the ability for instructors and students to collabo- rate remotely. The expanded bandwidth and the field of available applications have profoundly enhanced this ability. SkypeTM, GoToMeetingTM, ZoomTM, Google MeetTM, and Microsoft TeamsTM are among the more popular applications that provide audio, video, and screen sharing capabilities for conducting synchronous teaching in class interactions. Other technologies that have been used to enhance courses include the following: MediaSite. MediaSite is a controlled video hosting service (much like YouTube but with addi- tional protections for who can view or post videos). It also integrates directly with most LMS platforms. TopHat. TopHat is a platform that allows for digital interaction among class instructors and participants through real-time surveys and discussion boards. Voice Thread. This platform allows students the opportunity to upload a slide presentation and make voice comments on each slide. This allows a group of students to give a presentation remotely for viewing by an instructor and other students. Note: The response by academia to the COVID-19 pandemic has served to accelerate the use of these applications. Many faculty who have had little experience with online teaching have been forced to adapt their material to prepare for and deliver their courses online, which has certain challenges. Fortunately, this unexpected transition occurred at a time in which technol- ogy was highly evolved, allowing faculty to transform a home office or bedroom into a classroom with highly engaging content. Hybrid (Blended) Courses Hybrid courses are designed to blend face-to-face and online learning, making use of the primary advantages of both delivery methods to enhance the studentâs learning experience. The pedagogy and methods are generally based on face-to-face course content delivered on campus
50 Enhancing Academic Programs to Prepare Future Airport Industry Professionals but rely on opportunities to use online resources to make more efficient use of time and to improve the effectiveness of instruction, using additional opportunities for matching studentsâ preferred learning styles beyond PowerPoint lectures. As with online course development and preparation, hybrid courses require significant effort upfront by the instructor. During the course, the students are expected to invest in the same or even more work to contribute to their learning. Extracurricular Opportunities The education and experience students receive from participating in academically oriented extracurricular activities is as important as formal classroom study. These activities include interactions with national and regional professional organizations; program-sponsored field trips and site visits; attendance at program-hosted seminars, job fairs, symposia, and guest lec- tures; and attendance and participation in industry conferences. In most curricula, extracurricular activities do not typically grant course credit toward gradu- ation; however, they are important components of an academic education, and students are often strongly encouraged to participate. Internship and Co-Op Opportunities Perhaps one of the oldest and most common forms of experiential learning is through an internship or co-op opportunity. The concept of an internship or co-op is to provide a connec- tion between what is taught in the classroom and real-world practices. During the internship experience, students learn through observation and application of their knowledge as it is prac- ticed in the field, bringing that expanded perspective back to the classroom. Although the terms co-op and internship are sometimes used interchangeably, there are some characteristic differences. A co-op usually involves a formal paid full-time (40 hours per week) employment position with assigned duties. An internship may be more informal, often less than full-time, and may or may not involve compensation. Some internships are not structured with assigned responsibilities, but rather the intern is rotated through departments acting more as an observer as opposed to a member of the team. Other internships may involve work on a specific project. In poorly structured experiences, interns may be given menial or make-work assignments, such as making copies or filing papers. Most employers value candidates who have some relevant work experience; however, in the survey of aviation management programs, most do not require a co-op or internship. Most programs do offer the opportunity for students to earn academic credit for internships as tech- nical elective credit. Airport-related internships are designed to provide opportunities for students or recent graduates to gain valuable experience in airport management, before entering into full-time entry-level employment. Airport management benefits because interns are short-term addi- tions to the workforce, and they are educated, focused, and enthusiastic people. In some cases, an internship acts as an intentional or de facto extended interview for potential candidates for a full-time position. The internship position may be dedicated to a given department (such as administration, operations, or facilities) or it can be rotational and act more like a shadowing program for observing the various facets of airport activities. Rotational internships allow the intern to gain insights into all airport departments, providing the intern a more holistic view of the airport. On the other hand, spending time in one department provides more in-depth knowledge of that department.
Enhancing Academic Programming 51 Airports located in cities where an aviation program exists will likely have at least one intern- ship that draws from upper-division students. These internship positions will likely be highly coveted and competitive and will be exclusive to a select pool of outstanding students. Other airports may offer internships on a regional or national basis with no set preferences over any particular aviation program. These internships will also be highly competitive. Programs that do not have established relationships with airports with internships will often recommend that students seek out their own internships. This can be problematic, however, especially if the academic program requires students to complete an internship before gradua- tion. For this reason, it is most helpful to students if the academic program develops connections with local airports and connects these students to internship opportunities. Developing and managing internship programs are not trivial activities. Guidance in doing so is provided in the form of an internship checklist and templates in Section IV. Student Organizations with Affiliations with National and Regional Organizations Formally recognized student organizations and clubs are some of the most common extracurricular offerings in academia. These clubs are wide-ranging in their activities and may include professional groups, social groups, and sports. Some student organizations aim to provide more exposure to an industry or career path. There are several aviation student organizations recognized throughout the academic commu- nity, including the student chapters of AAAE. Affiliations with national and regional professional organizations provide many opportunities for interaction between academia and industry at many levels and offer support to the academic education process. Students and faculty who participate in these organizations are given a much broader and balanced perspective of contemporary poli- cies and issues, thereby enhancing their airport educational pursuits. Aviation programs will often provide students with opportunities to participate in student chapters of national and regional aviation associations and other events. Aviation-oriented national organizations that support student chapters include the following: â¢ Alpha Eta Rho National Aviation Fraternity (AHP) â¢ American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) â¢ The Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) â¢ The National Intercollegiate Flying Association (NIFA) â¢ Women in Aviation International (WAI) â¢ International Society of Air Safety Investigators (ISASI) Of these organizations, the AAAE is widely recognized as the professional organization most directly partnered with academic institutions through their student chapter program. Becoming a recognized student chapter of the AAAE provides the student chapter (and its members) access to AAAE content, reduced registrations to AAAE meetings and conferences, assistance with professional development, and access to career and internship opportunities. Members of student chapters may receive some of the same benefits as regular members, including the organizationâs publications and access to their website, which may contain member directories, resource documents, and other valuable information. Students attending national or regional conferences may also be offered complimentary or reduced registration fees. The Academic-oriented programming at AAAE national meetings includes formal sessions for students in topics ranging from the latest needs of the airport industry to how to create a professional resume. Meetings also offer career fair information sessions with industry and research presentation opportunities.
52 Enhancing Academic Programs to Prepare Future Airport Industry Professionals students attending these events are often exposed to a rich array of educational and professional activities, including renowned speakers; expert panel discussions; and exhibits and displays of the industryâs applied technologies, products, and services. In most cases, student chapters are required to be officially recognized by the institution to receive financial support and other resources. The sponsoring organization may also require registration and the meeting of minimum criteria (i.e., members, annual report, etc.) for the student chapter to be recognized. Chapters will be organized with a charter, bylaws, and a slate of officers responsible for the governance of the chapter. A faculty or staff advisor is usually required as well to assist and guide students. Faculty advisors are encouraged to participate in AAAE activities through the organizationâs academic relations committee. Regional chapters of AAAE are quasi-independent affiliates of the national organization, with separate leadership and financial resources. In addition to their own annual conference, they each host a specialty conference (e.g., Southeast ChapterâFinance and Administration; Northwest ChapterâFacilities; and Southwest ChapterâAirport Management Short Course) open to the national membership and others. Students are welcome to take advantage of these events, again with complimentary or reduced registration, sometimes in exchange for assisting staff with the preparation and support of the event activities. The NBAA hosts their annual Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE) every year, alternating between Las Vegas, Nevada, and Orlando, Florida. (Note: The annual event has grown so large that these are the only two venues in the nation large enough to accom- modate the exhibits and have sufficient lodging for attendees.) As part of the annual conference agenda, NBAA offers a âCareers in Business Aviation Dayâ for students on the last day of the event. Besides a steeply discounted registration, students and educators are given full member access to the exhibition hall; the static displays of aircraft; and a special career development seminar with panel discussions and lunch provided. Many exhibitors at these and other similar events are FAA, state aviation organizations, and airports among other related product and service providers. Some state organizations may foster a close association with in-state programs and provide similar benefits to students, particularly since many of the regular members may be alumni or supporters. The Ohio Aviation Association and the Texas Department of Transportation, for example, regularly support students through discounted access to conferences and routinely allocate one session of their annual meetings to student presentations of airport-related research. Field Trips and Site Visits Participation in organized field trips and attendance at aviation events are among other popular activities for students and faculty to develop closer working relationships with industry. Field trips to major airports, as well as airline and aerospace headquarters and facilities, provide an opportunity to observe and learn in the real-world aviation environment. Knowledge- able tour guides can offer answers to many questions that arise from seeing things firsthand. Arranging field trips and site visits begins with creating or leveraging relationships with airport industry professionals. Visits to local facilities are more easily scheduled than longer distance trips that may require air travel or overnight stays. Guest Lectures and Symposia Hosting a guest lecturer or a panel of invited speakers in a symposium format to discuss cur- rent aviation issues is another common means to provide students and faculty with a direct con- nection to industry professionals. Alumni and local industry leaders are a readily available and
Enhancing Academic Programming 53 accessible resource for guest speakers. Some organizations will have a speakerâs bureau or similar list of people who have volunteered to be a speaker. A symposium, lecture series, or other special event may also be a forum to provide the program with access to experts in the field. These events may also be open to the public and provide opportunities to gain publicity about the program as well as a potential revenue source. Career Fairs Institutions and academic programs will organize and invite industry to attend one or more career fairs during the academic year. Many aviation programs will hold a career event that spe- cifically targets aviation industries and organizations that may be interested in recruiting their students. Some events include the opportunity for panel discussions on career topics and per- sonal interviews. Students greatly benefit from such aviation-specific events. For example, each year, The Ohio State University Center for Aviation Studies hosts an âAviation Industry Nightâ event. During this event, a panel of aviation industry experts present their perspectives on the state of the aviation industry and participate in a discussion with attendees. Following the panel discussion, a networking reception is held, which includes interactive networking with industry organizations. This event is widely acclaimed with more than 300 attendees, most of whom are students, who find tremendous value in learning from industry in this forum. Research Activities Research is another way for industry and academia to develop partnering relationships. Research grants, sponsored research, and consultancies are other opportunities for industry and academia to develop partnering relationships in addition to supplementing revenue for the academic program. Research grants usually involve competitive or solicited projects from governmental agencies or other organizations that involve subject matter for the benefit of the public. In many cases, academia and businesses will form a team to conduct the research. Faculty and students from academic programs have the opportunity to be part of this process. For example, the FAA has an office of research that manages both internal and external research efforts. One initiative where a certain amount of the FAAâs research budget is allocated is to the ACRP to administer applied research projects and activities to address contemporary issues related to airport opera- tions, administration, and development. ACRP regularly solicits research proposals for specific topics from qualified interests, and often academic/industry teams are developed to respond. There are many other research grant programs that provide opportunities to engage faculty and students in research. This guidebook, for example, was developed by a team of researchers from both academia and industry. ACRP also administers the graduate research award (GRA) program as another opportunity for interaction between academic and industry interests. The GRA program solicits proposals from graduate students (masterâs, PhD) for scholarly research topics, usually a component of their thesis or dissertation, that are reviewed by industry professionals. Successful students are awarded a generous stipend to support their research and to ultimately prepare a scholarly article for publication in the Transportation Research Record or other journals. Finding the Faculty Champion Regardless of the activity, finding the right faculty member to lead a particular extracurricular effort is key to success. Faculty participate and support extracurricular activities in many ways, such as acting as the faculty advisor to a student organization, making connections with
54 Enhancing Academic Programs to Prepare Future Airport Industry Professionals industry on behalf of the students, teaching and assisting with administrative responsibilities (such as management of a student organizationâs finances), or simply generating excitement for these extracurricular activities. Developing Faculty There are not many established resources for developing faculty for supporting airport- related courses. One opportunity may be to actively recruit faculty from the ranks of airports and airport-related businesses to consider a teaching appointment. There are 20+ masterâs-level aviation programs in the country that may provide another resource for faculty candidates. Graduating students with airport experience may be recruited to teach. Access to airport-focused faculty may also be leveraged through intercollegiate agreements that allow students to enroll in online airport courses for credit that are provided by one program and open to others. It is a common practice among NCAA athletic conferences (e.g., Big 10, Big 12, SEC) to share research, academic, and in some cases, financial resources, including faculty. Following this model, there may be opportunities to offer several advanced aviation-oriented academic courses to aviation management students to help narrow this competitive gap and to develop better-qualified professionals for the aviation workforce. One example may be to organize a consortium or collaborative agreement among aviation management programs to offer an extensive series of advanced academic courses on various aviation-related topics. Such a consortium would provide access to aviation-focused educators and other available adjunct faculty currently teaching at various collegiate aviation programs. The course syllabi would be adapted to follow agreed-upon guidelines for upper-division academic coursework and hybrid or online delivery. The courses would be designed to provide an enhanced depth of knowledge so that graduates can compete successfully for entry-level career positions. Qualified faculty resources for collegiate aviation programs will always be a struggle, especially for specialty areas such as airports. This will require greater attention on looking for opportuni- ties to provide a pipeline for faculty to teach a broad array of airport-specific courses. Because aviation is a small, diverse, and dynamic industry, it is often difficult for aviation programs to recruit and retain qualified faculty with the appropriate academic credentials and experience qualified to teach. The composition of faculty at a typical aviation management pro- gram may include 4 to 7 full-time faculty and several adjunct faculty. Like most institutions, full-time faculty come from a broad array of academic backgrounds and professional experience. In some cases, aviation faculty may have retired from a military or professional career. Many aviation program faculty will have experience as commercial or military pilots, while others may come from a business background. No two programs are like. Other faculty may have risen through the academic ranks. They often begin as undergraduate aviation students, serve as flight instructors after graduation, and upon completing an advanced degree, become qualified to teach academic courses. Championing the program with faculty leadership and industry partnerships â¢ Faculty champion â¢ Adjunct faculty appointments â¢ Industry bridge/pipeline programs â¢ Promoting the program to industry
Enhancing Academic Programming 55 Partnering with Industry One of the great challenges in enhancing academic programming for airports is finding faculty with the education and experience to teach courses, advise extra- curricular activities, and otherwise contribute to the program. One solution to this challenge is to actively engage with current industry professionals. Professionals working in the industry can provide a tremendous wealth of practical knowledge to the students, and with some prepara- tion, guidance, and training, may be able to lead such efforts both in and out of the classroom. Such activities include conducting guest lectures or seminars; supporting capstone projects and research activities; advising student organizations or clubs as an industry liaison; or teaching courses as adjunct faculty. Industry Professionals as Adjunct Faculty Many industry professionals have little experience in academia, and hence should be guided on how to manage a class, deliver lectures, and create assignments and exams. It is good practice to bring these professionals to a place of comfort in the classroom in a strategic manner, first by offering one guest lecture, then a series of lectures, mentoring a project team, creating and supervising an assignment, developing a syllabus, and becoming comfortable with LMS before ultimately being given the complete responsibility for a course. Most often, adjunct faculty are actively mentored by a full-time member of the faculty. Industry Bridge/Pipeline Programs Some programs may have an established relationship with specific aviation employers to place their graduates. The relationship is usually based on the employersâ experience with the quality of the programâs graduates to fit their workforce needs, and they seek to hire the programâs âbest and brightest.â Some employers may have a succession plan, under which successful candidates are promoted and replacements hired to continue the cycle of bringing in new personnel. In some cases, there may be competition among employers for these highly valued candidates. Promoting the Expertise of an Academic Program Academic programs can both enhance their curricula and promote their current expertise by a series of activities that benefits the programâs students, faculty, and industry partners. Not-for-Credit Short Courses and Seminars As educational institutions, aviation programs can give back to the industry by hosting semi- nars, symposia, and short courses that address specific and relevant topics. They provide an opportunity to showcase the programâs faculty as well as serving as continuing education oppor- tunities for industry professionals. Specialty seminars and short courses can establish the pro- gramâs expertise, and by bringing industry to the campus, provide networking opportunities that can extend to students and other faculty. Successful events can also serve as a revenue center for supporting the program and the institution financially. These short courses and seminars can also be offered to students. Student participation as assistants in managing these events is a great learning and networking experience as well. Sponsored Research Sponsored research projects typically involve specific business interests to support their mission and goals. Conducting academic research offers the sponsoring entity an opportunity
56 Enhancing Academic Programs to Prepare Future Airport Industry Professionals to demonstrate independent investigations and observations conducted with scientific and ethical integrity. Sponsored research provides opportunities to financially support students, faculty, and additional resources the program may need. It also serves to bolster the programâs academic âresume,â showing their involvement in industry interests and expertise. Consultancies Many programs have faculty with expertise in specific airport-industry topics. These faculty may be called on by industry to collaborate in a consulting capacity. Most institutions allow faculty to engage in extracurricular work activities as consultants as long as it does not appear to conflict or otherwise interfere with the institutionâs interests and faculty memberâs responsibilities. Many institutions encourage consultant work not only to enhance faculty compensation but also to enhance the prestige of the faculty member and the associated program. There may be restrictions on the use of the institutionâs facilities, equip- ment, or other resources; however, in many cases, this may be allowable as incidental use or through reimbursements. Some institutions have established policies to reduce overhead charges for faculty performing consulting to industry. Depending on the project, students may be able to assist faculty on consulting work. This provides these students an excellent opportunity to gain industry experience, while also working on a real-world project with the faculty member. The academic program benefits by (1) contributing to industry, (2) receiving financial and other support, and (3) providing a direct relationship to industry that in turn, provides oppor- tunities to enhance the curriculum and provide faculty and students with practical experience in industry matters. Industry gains by tapping into the academic disciplines for the expertise of faculty, institutional resources, and energy provided by faculty and students. It also accesses timely, cost-effective independent research. Job Placement Assistance Programs The overarching goal of aviation management programs is to successfully place graduates into positions that are aligned with their career interests. Beyond preparing them academi- cally to enter the workforce, institutions will provide additional resources and activities for matching qualified graduates with industry. It is common for the institution to have a central- ized office to serve as a resource for providing a variety of services to students and employers. Services to students may include career counseling, job search assistance, resume preparation, and interview skill tips. Employers are offered direct access to students for internships and entry-level jobs. Current employment opportunities will be posted by the institutionâs central career office to ensure that all students have access to the announcements. Some programs will have their own platform for job postings and require employers to register before posting positions. In these cases, registered employers are offered the use of facilities for recruiting visits, on-campus inter- views, and so forth. In some cases, they may be allowed to review student resumes. Another job posting/job search resource that institutions subscribe to is Handshake. Handshake is a commercially comprehensive job search database specifically designed to assist students and alumni in finding and applying for internships and degree-related jobs. Employers may also subscribe to Handshake to post positions that target specific programs or academic specialties.
Enhancing Academic Programming 57 Summary This chapter identifies methods of enhancing academic curricula to provide students more education about the airport industry. Opportunities include greater depth and breadth in course curricula that are of importance to the industry, particularly to the MCOs, and additional opportunities to infuse experiential learning that provides real-world learning experiences are described. Enhanced course curriculum consists of a broad base of fundamental and cross-cutting topics in business; policy; engineering and design; and aviation, including introductory material to the world of airports, three tracks representing these three general topic areas, which consist of advanced core courses as well as a selection of technical electives, a capstone or culminating experience, and internship opportunities. Enhanced methods of delivery, focusing on online programming, using advanced LMS platforms, and multi-media technology were presented. Opportunities to enhance airport education through extracurricular offerings include the following: student organizations, guest lectures, symposia, research opportunities as well as internships and co-op opportunities. Section IV provides the resources to make this happen, including sample curriculum struc- tures, syllabi, internship templates, and external resources.