National Academies Press: OpenBook

Enhancing Academic Programs to Prepare Future Airport Industry Professionals (2021)

Chapter: Section III - Guidance to Industry

« Previous: Section II - Guidance to Academia
Page 59
Suggested Citation:"Section III - Guidance to Industry." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Enhancing Academic Programs to Prepare Future Airport Industry Professionals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26140.
×
Page 59
Page 60
Suggested Citation:"Section III - Guidance to Industry." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Enhancing Academic Programs to Prepare Future Airport Industry Professionals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26140.
×
Page 60
Page 61
Suggested Citation:"Section III - Guidance to Industry." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Enhancing Academic Programs to Prepare Future Airport Industry Professionals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26140.
×
Page 61
Page 62
Suggested Citation:"Section III - Guidance to Industry." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Enhancing Academic Programs to Prepare Future Airport Industry Professionals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26140.
×
Page 62
Page 63
Suggested Citation:"Section III - Guidance to Industry." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Enhancing Academic Programs to Prepare Future Airport Industry Professionals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26140.
×
Page 63
Page 64
Suggested Citation:"Section III - Guidance to Industry." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Enhancing Academic Programs to Prepare Future Airport Industry Professionals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26140.
×
Page 64
Page 65
Suggested Citation:"Section III - Guidance to Industry." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Enhancing Academic Programs to Prepare Future Airport Industry Professionals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26140.
×
Page 65
Page 66
Suggested Citation:"Section III - Guidance to Industry." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Enhancing Academic Programs to Prepare Future Airport Industry Professionals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26140.
×
Page 66
Page 67
Suggested Citation:"Section III - Guidance to Industry." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Enhancing Academic Programs to Prepare Future Airport Industry Professionals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26140.
×
Page 67
Page 68
Suggested Citation:"Section III - Guidance to Industry." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Enhancing Academic Programs to Prepare Future Airport Industry Professionals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26140.
×
Page 68
Page 69
Suggested Citation:"Section III - Guidance to Industry." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Enhancing Academic Programs to Prepare Future Airport Industry Professionals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26140.
×
Page 69
Page 70
Suggested Citation:"Section III - Guidance to Industry." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Enhancing Academic Programs to Prepare Future Airport Industry Professionals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26140.
×
Page 70
Page 71
Suggested Citation:"Section III - Guidance to Industry." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Enhancing Academic Programs to Prepare Future Airport Industry Professionals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26140.
×
Page 71
Page 72
Suggested Citation:"Section III - Guidance to Industry." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Enhancing Academic Programs to Prepare Future Airport Industry Professionals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26140.
×
Page 72
Page 73
Suggested Citation:"Section III - Guidance to Industry." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Enhancing Academic Programs to Prepare Future Airport Industry Professionals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26140.
×
Page 73
Page 74
Suggested Citation:"Section III - Guidance to Industry." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Enhancing Academic Programs to Prepare Future Airport Industry Professionals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26140.
×
Page 74

Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Guidance to Industry S E C T I O N I I I Consider the common saying in the aviation sector, “If you’ve seen one airport, you’ve seen one airport.” Academic programs, especially relevant to airports, are also not the same. On the other hand, there are some characteristics of academic programs that are similar throughout academia. Understanding how academia functions will certainly help industry practitioners navigate the system as well as more effectively contribute to enhancing airport academic pro- grams for the benefit of future aviation professionals. This section provides an overview of academia to the airport industry, including those work- ing at an airport and at professional firms that support airports, such as engineering, planning, and management consultants. For these sectors, recruiting to fill entry-level positions often focuses on identifying and recruiting quality graduates from academic programs. Also included is a series of strategies that industry can use to engage with academia to educate more profes- sionals for airports and the firms that support them.

61 How Academia Works for Non-Academics Most airport professionals are likely to have been enrolled in a program of higher education at some point, whether it was learning a trade, or earning an associate, 4-year (bachelor’s), or graduate (master’s or doctorate) degree at a college or university. It is from these experiences that professionals gained insights into academia. However, there was likely limited exposure to the bureaucracy that envelops the process of creating and delivering degree-granting curricula. The following provides insights into how academia works, from the administrative and operations perspectives, with the goal of better understanding how industry can participate in, as well as influence, the process of enhancing curricula to better serve the airport industry. The Administration of Academia Understanding the placement of airport-relevant curricula is important to the overall industry seeking to collaborate and strengthen a wide spectrum of courses. Sometimes, the hierarchy is easily navigable; sometimes it may be quite burdensome. Enhancing academic programs, whether a small change to one course or the creation of an entire degree program, warrants review. The airport industry can and should participate within the administrative hierarchy to strengthen any curricula. As illustrated in Figure 5.1, the hierarchy follows a standard top-down model that begins with a university board of trustees overseeing the overall direction of the institution and ends with the faculty. In between, there are administrative offices that have a hand in how academic programs are operated. The Faculty of an academic program develop and administer individual courses and are responsible for creating course syllabi, materials, and delivery methods. They are responsible for instruction and evaluation of student progress and meeting course objectives. For most aviation programs that offer airport courses, one or two members of the faculty are typically considered the subject matter experts. These faculty members are often the first point of contact for industry members who are interested in contributing to the curricula. For example, they may work with faculty to develop course topics, activities, and opportunities for industry participation, such as real-world case studies, guest lectures, and site visits. The Department Chair is responsible for overseeing the direction of the department fol- lowing policies created at the university or college level. These responsibilities include over- sight of faculty course assignments, class scheduling, and higher-level metrics of department performance. This person should be kept abreast of any activities that a faculty member may be considering to enhance classes currently offered or planned. The Department Chair is often seen as the external point of contact for the programs in the department, and as such, may also be responsible for a department advisory board, which sets the direction for internship and C H A P T E R 5 Board of Trustees University President University Provost College Dean Department Chair Department Faculty Figure 5.1. Hierarchy of academia.

62 Enhancing Academic Programs to Prepare Future Airport Industry Professionals capstone programs. The Chair may also lead strategies for development and engagement as well as seek philanthropic gifts for student scholarships and endowed faculty positions. In this role, the Department Chair is a primary point of contact should industry professionals want to participate in department-wide activities. The College Dean is responsible for overseeing the college within which the aviation pro- gram resides. Primary responsibilities for this person include setting the mission and strategy of the college as a whole, understanding that there are often many programs that exist within the college. The Dean oversees all internal functions and is the public face of the college, interacting with alumni, industry, and the wider community. The Dean engages in large-scale changes to an academic program, while the Department Chair focuses on individual courses and subject matter. The Dean reviews and endorses major program changes, and they are proposed for approval by the Provost, President, and Board of Trustees. The responsibility for overseeing the academic mission of an institution typically lies within the Office of the Provost and institution-wide leadership is held within the office of the Presi- dent. The President reports to the Board of Trustees on all matters concerning the mission of the institution, including academics, student life, alumni relations, athletics, budget, fund- raising, community affairs, and facilities planning. Most modifications to an academic program will eventually move to the offices of the Provost and the President for their review. Ultimately, the Board of Trustees formally approves program changes. Academia Is Management by Committee Along with their hierarchical structures, academic organizations are often managed by com- mittee. Committees often made up of faculty members and sometimes members of industry exist to provide group thoughts and consensus-based recommendations to the hierarchy to aid in decisionmaking for all matters in academia. For example, a curriculum committee often has the charge of evaluating and providing any recommendations to proposed curriculum enhancements, ranging from adding or removing topics in any given courses to creating new courses, specializations, minors, or major degree programs. This committee typically consists of faculty members only, but occasionally, the committee will invite outside members, including industry partners, to present their ideas at meetings. To engage with industry, some committees invite business leaders to sit as committee mem- bers. One example is a strategic planning committee, which would have the charge of pro- viding guidance to the department chair on strategic issues, such as faculty hiring, budgeting, and the overall mission of the department. An associated external advisory committee may also provide opportunities for input on the overall mission of the department. Airport pro- fessionals may participate in helping steer the direction of the program as well as to provide meaningful, long-lasting relationships between industry and the academic program. Where Aviation/Airport Programs Fit Within the Academic Environment Aviation/airport curricula may be found in numerous sections or programs at various institutions. Traditional academic topics, such as mathematics, economics, and English, are typi- cally housed in similarly named departments (i.e., the Department of Mathematics). Wider aca- demic disciplines, such as engineering, are often housed in colleges bearing that name. A College

How Academia Works for Non-Academics 63 of Engineering, for example, may house Departments of Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engi- neering, and the like. A College of Natural Sciences may house Departments of Mathematics, Physics, and Chemistry. A College of Arts and Humanities may house Departments of English, Spanish, Religion, and so forth. Airport curricula and aviation programs, in general, are often anomalies with respect to their fit in an academic department or college. These programs have been known to be housed either in colleges dedicated to “aviation” or in Colleges of Engineering, Business, Technology, Educa- tion, and Social Sciences. The location of the program is a sign of how the curriculum may be focused. For example, an airport curriculum housed within a college of business may focus its curricula on the business side of airports, with classes focusing on management; accounting and finance; and marketing, while a program housed within a College of Engineering may focus its curricula on topics such as airport planning, pavement design, and airspace analysis. Academic Calendar Most people are familiar with the start of the school year. Typically, new students enter their university programs during the fall and proceed by taking courses each term. A term at a uni- versity may range from 10 weeks (usually known as a quarter) to 15 weeks (usually known as a semester). There are usually breaks between terms, the longest of which are a winter break in December through the New Year, and in summer, where there may be around 12 weeks between the spring and fall terms. Faculty structure their courses based on the institution’s academic calendar. Academic cal- endars vary widely among institutions, including term start and end dates, break periods, and even calendar formats. Academic calendars operating on a quarter calendar will typically have three, 10-week terms during the academic year (fall, winter, and spring quarters). Those on a semester calendar have two, 15-week terms (fall and spring). Typically, in the summer, at least one summer term occurs with fewer classes. Students may spend their summers on internships, at summer jobs outside their course of study, or doing other activities. Faculty often spend the summer working on research projects, preparing their materials for the upcoming term, or taking vacation. During this term, however, there may also be opportunities to create courses that are more flexible with scheduling and include experiential activities, such as site visits or larger project work. Academia also runs on a fiscal cycle from July 1 through June 30. (Some colleges follow their state’s fiscal year from October 1 through September 30. For example, the fiscal year for Texas colleges runs from September 1 through August 31.) The budget planning process for an upcoming fiscal year begins 6 months before the start of a new fiscal year. During the plan- ning process, those seeking to enhance academic curricula should work with faculty to submit budgets for programs such as funding for site visits, guest lectures, and the like. The evaluation will include the program’s need and budget for adjunct faculty (those hired on a part-time, per- course basis). Industry professionals who wish to be an adjunct faculty member for a particular course should be aware of this timing. Structure of Academic Curricula The structure of academic curricula is designed so that students receive education in topics at an increasing level of depth within their major as well as other courses for a well-rounded education.

64 Enhancing Academic Programs to Prepare Future Airport Industry Professionals Course curricula consist of various categories: • General education courses • College core courses • Major core courses • Technical elective courses • General elective courses • Extracurricular activities Each course is given a certain number of credit hours, commensurate with the level of activity necessary to meet the requirements of the course (typically calculated as a function of the number of hours per week the class meets in the classroom). For example, a course that meets 3 days per week for 1 hour per class would qualify as a 3-credit-hour class. Other factors that may contribute to the credit-hour calculation are the level of laboratory participation require- ments and the number of actual hours required for an extracurricular activity. Summer intern- ships may calculate credit hours based on the number of actual hours a student may work in the internship, a typical calculation of 1 credit hour for every 100 hours worked. In general, academic curricula consist of approximately 120 credit hours. Students must complete a certain number of credit hours in the above categories to be awarded their degrees. The breakdown of credit hours by category varies among colleges. Table 5.1 is a breakdown of a 4-year bachelor’s degree program. Courses in each category are further classified by their level of technical advancement. A course numbering system may start at a “100 level” for introductory courses, and increase according to the depth of a course. Courses at the “400 level” may be more appropriate for 4th-year students and require taking lower-level courses as prerequisites. For example, Engineering 101 would be a course introducing the fundamentals of engineering, appropriate for 1st-year students, while Airport Engineering 453, Advanced Topics in Pavement Design, would be a higher-level course on this topic, often taken by 4th-year students. Each of the course categories may have courses at each level of advancement, with higher-level courses found in the major core, technical elective, and general elective categories. Lower-level courses, including several college core and major core courses, are fairly rigid in design, with standard topics, assignments, and exams. As such, there is less flexibility in adding specialized airport content to these courses. Although these courses may allow for a guest lec- ture, curricula leadership may not be amenable to adding entirely new topics, assignments, or projects. Higher-level courses, on the other hand, particularly technical and general elective courses, have more flexibility to accommodate significant enhancements. Furthermore, new courses are often created as technical electives at higher-level course numbers (such as 300- and 400-level courses). Course Category Required Credit Hours Courses General Education 24 6 College Core 32 7 Major Core 32 8 Technical Elective 21 6 General Elective 9 4 Extracurricular Activity 2 1 Total 120 32 Table 5.1. Breakdown of a 4-year bachelor’s degree program.

How Academia Works for Non-Academics 65 Understanding a program’s curricula in terms of courses in each category at each level, and the potential availability of adding a small amount of airport-oriented content through additional material in some courses and larger enhancements in others will be most helpful for industry professionals wishing to contribute to the enhancement of academic curricula. Detailed informa- tion about a program’s curriculum may be found on the program website or in the institution’s course catalog. The details and structure of a particular course are provided in the course’s syllabus. Although the course title and description are constants, the course delivery can vary from term to term and from instructor to instructor. Delivery methods often include the choice of materials and resources used (such as textbooks and other reading materials), specific assign- ments, exams, and term projects. More recently, delivery methods include in-class meetings and online learning. As long as the course delivery is intended to meet the learning objectives of the course, faculty teaching the course have considerable latitude in creating the course syllabus. Academia and the Online Learning Environment Increasingly, academic programs are offering online courses, which may or may not align with traditional academic calendars. Because online courses do not require physical space, nor do they require lectures to be delivered and attended by students at the same time (known as synchronous class delivery), the ability to be flexible is tremendous. The inclusion of online courses in academic curricula, including aviation programs, is maturing, with widely prolific Internet access, well-established LMS software platforms, and student acceptance of this type of learning. In early 2020, online courses went mainstream with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, when nearly all institutions of higher education moved to online delivery for all curricula. Online courses will be a significant component of curricula for the foreseeable future. Industry members have many opportunities to contribute to online courses, from the creation of videos that may be shared with the class to participation in online discussion forums with the students. How Curricula Are Created Academia admittedly moves slowly. Unlike the private sector in which a project may move from concept to implementation in days or weeks, significant enhancements to an academic curriculum are likely to take a minimum of months. In some cases, minor enhancements to the curriculum, such as adding an assignment, guest lecture, or site visit to a given class, can be planned and implemented relatively quickly. Never- theless, planning for weekly activities for a given class is typically planned out in 1 to 3 months before the class starts. Creating new classes requires approximately 12 to 18 months from concept to implementation. Here are the steps to this process: 1. Concept creation. This may be done by a faculty member who is interested in the topic, or through a department-motivated effort, based on the strategic plan for the curriculum. The concept document will include a class title and a short description of the course topics, objectives, prerequisites, and possible materials.

66 Enhancing Academic Programs to Prepare Future Airport Industry Professionals 2. Draft syllabus development. A draft syllabus consists of a course title, a short paragraph describing the learning objectives of the course, a suggested number of credit hours, pre- requisite courses, and materials and resources to be used. Day-to-day instruction elements of the syllabus are usually reserved for the instructor to create each term. The proposed instructor or a small committee of faculty with subject matter expertise in the topic creates the initial draft syllabus. 3. Review of the concept and syllabus by an internal department-level program curriculum committee. The concept may be modified and sent back to the initial creators. This may be an iterative process. 4. Next steps. The fully vetted course is sent up for review by a college-level academic pro- gramming committee. This committee vets the course against larger strategic and opera- tional constraints, such as content conflicts with other courses in the college. Once approved by the committee, the course will typically be approved as a conditional class and allowed to be offered the following term. Once the course has been offered multiple times over mul- tiple years, the course is sent up to the university-level academic committee for recommenda- tion for inclusion in the official course catalog, ultimately approved by the university’s board of trustees. This approval often occurs 2 or more years from the course concept. Role of Faculty and Staff Faculty, staff, administrators, and students are crucial to the success of any academic program. The faculty are considered the subject matter experts and are responsible for developing course content and structure as well as delivering courses and working with students to give them the best opportunity to succeed in their educational pursuit and future careers. Each category of faculty has levels of authority and responsibility for contributing to academic programming. Full-Time Faculty The core educational foundation of any academic unit consists of the quantity and quality of its faculty. There will be at least one to three faculty members with doctoral degrees, including the department chair. Most full-time faculty have several years of professional and technical experience in their fields in addition to their academic credentials. Often the program is sup- ported by part-time adjunct faculty, who teach specific courses. Depending on the institution, full-time faculty may be granted tenure or are engaged in limited-term, tenure-track appointed assignments. Some institutions may hire faculty on a long-or short-term contract basis. Tenure Tenure is a system of employing faculty for an indefinite term that can only be terminated for cause (e.g., criminal behavior, ethics violations, etc.), financial exigency, discontinuance of the program (for educational reasons), change in economic conditions, or other extraordinary circumstances. Tenure is designed to protect the academic freedom of educators, to allow them the opportunity to conduct research, and to publicly express their particular views (including open dissent) without fear of censorship or restriction. Tenure intends to preserve academia’s core responsibilities to promote research to advance the body of knowledge, and to communi- cate that knowledge for the public good. Tenure-Track Faculty Tenure-track faculty are given a set period in which to demonstrate a record of scholarship through published research, teaching, and service to the institution, department, and industry.

How Academia Works for Non-Academics 67 Faculty who fail to achieve a minimum acceptable standard of scholarship, usually determined by an established committee, are typically terminated at the end of their term. Clinical (or Practice) Faculty Clinical faculty at an institution that offers tenure may be assigned much of the same teaching and service responsibilities as other faculty. However, they are generally relieved of the indepen- dent research requirements the institution expects for tenure. Clinical faculty are usually given the responsibility to teach a full load of courses, often consisting of a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester (equivalent to four 3-credit-hour courses). Adjunct Faculty Adjunct faculty are commonly employed as part-time or contingency teachers, usually for general education courses or highly specialized courses beyond the expertise of full-time faculty. Employment commitments to teach as adjunct faculty generally extend for only one semester. Over the past several years, institutions are relying on increasing numbers of adjunct faculty as a means to mitigate the cost of full-time faculty while ensuring that the curriculum is adequately delivered. Academic Rank Aside from employment status, faculty are usually given an academic title or rank com- mensurate with their experience, time in service, research production, and other measures of academic success. In addition to the recognition of the faculty member’s scholarship, academic rank also serves as a basis for compensation and other benefits offered by the institution. The titles and general characteristics of traditional academic rank include the following. Professor As a formal title, a full professor is the terminal rank for faculty promotion and normally requires holding a doctoral degree. Prefixed titles such as “Distinguished” or “Endowed” describe special circumstances. The title “Emeritus” is conferred to honor retired faculty. Note: Faculty are often informally addressed by students as “professor” to recognize their status as faculty. However, it is generally understood that the use of the title does not represent their official academic rank recognized by the institution. Associate Professor The title of associate professor represents a mid-level rank for full-time faculty. They often hold a doctoral degree and tenure status if applicable. Assistant Professor Assistant professors are normally the entry-level academic rank for full-time tenure-track faculty. Although not always a requirement, they may hold a doctorate or are engaged in a doc- toral program and eligible for promotion to associate professor upon completion of the degree. Clinical Professor (Professor of Practice) At institutions that offer tenure, faculty are given the title of clinical professor to recognize that they are not following a tenure-track appointment but are engaged in teaching specialized courses. A clinical professor will usually hold a doctorate or other terminal degree (e.g., J.D., M.D., etc.).

68 Enhancing Academic Programs to Prepare Future Airport Industry Professionals Visiting Professor Faculty with a limited-term contract (usually a 1-year appointment) and normally holding a doctorate are known as visiting professors. They may be from another institution and assigned to teaching and research responsibilities. Instructor and Lecturer Faculty holding a non-terminal degree with a full load of teaching assignments but no research responsibilities or expectations are instructors or lecturers. Adjunct Professor Limited part-time, contingency, or on-call faculty often with assignments to teach specific courses for a semester are adjunct professors. Aviation Faculty Because aviation is a small, diverse, and dynamic industry, aviation programs often face challenges recruiting and retaining qualified faculty with the appropriate academic credentials and experience to teach. The composition of faculty at a typical aviation management program may include four to seven full-time 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 have experience as commercial or military pilots, while others may have a business background. No two programs are alike. Other faculty may have risen through the academic ranks—beginning as undergraduate aviation students, serving as flight instructors after graduation, and upon completing an advanced degree, becoming qualified to teach academic courses. Although many faculty in an aviation program hold an advanced degree that may be aviation- specific (e.g., master’s in aeronautical science, aviation business administration, etc.), few hold a doctorate in an aviation-related degree. As of this guidebook’s publication, only Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and the Florida Institute of Technology offer aviation-specific doctoral degree programs. In cases where faculty come from the ranks of retired military or professionals, aviation pro- grams can leverage their budget by relying on the faculty pensions or other retirement benefits to supplement compensation and benefit packages. It has been observed that the compensation for aviation faculty is lower compared with their peers at their institution’s other departments. Also, the average age of faculty at aviation programs can exceed 65, with faculty relying on Medicare benefits for their primary medical insurance. Some aviation programs encourage faculty to pursue research grants and consulting opportu- nities to bring in additional revenue to the program to support graduate research and teaching assistants as well as to provide supplemental income to the faculty member. A common theme among aviation programs appears to be the passion shared by faculty for the industry and their enthusiasm for helping graduates achieve entry-level employment positions. As subject matter experts, the faculty have the authority to add subject matter, assignments, and other activities to the class to expand learning opportunities. This includes the authority to

How Academia Works for Non-Academics 69 invite members from industry to participate in course delivery. Faculty members often reach out to industry members to seek and disseminate the industry’s perspective to their class. Faculty members often recognize that industry members have more recent and practical expertise in the subject matter. This is why industry participation in academia is so important. How Industry Can Work with Academia Professionals already in the airport industry can contribute significantly to enhancing academic curricula in many ways. Chapter 6 provides specific guidance on these types of opportunities.

70 C H A P T E R 6 Academic Opportunities A wide range of opportunities exists for members of the airport industry to contribute to the enhancement of academic programs for future airport professionals. For any academic program, successfully providing a technical or professional education requires at least some connection with the industry that their graduates are seeking to enter. These relationships are vital to ensure that curricula remain current and relevant, providing a measure of practical and useful knowledge necessary for graduates to successfully compete for entry-level workforce positions. Industry connections also help students gain better perspectives of the real-world environment as well as provide opportunities for networking, internships, and a more direct path to employment. Committing to Engage—Personal Steps The first step in participating in the academic process is simply to commit to engagement. Becoming involved with an academic program is rewarding in many ways. Perform a brief self-assessment. Ask yourself why you are interested. • What skills or knowledge would you like to share? • How could your airport or organization help you in your pursuit? • Are there programs or schools for which you have an affinity, such as your alma mater? Knowing what you can and want to bring to the relationship will form the foundation for your engagement. Investigating the Possibilities Next, investigate the possibilities. Determine which academic institutions you may be able to engage with most easily. Institutions to look for are those that (1) may be close to your current location, (2) have a program (aviation or otherwise) that may cover material that is in your area of expertise, and (3) have a faculty or staff person with whom you already have a working relationship. Example 1. Local Focus. Community colleges throughout the United States offer 2-year associate degrees in a variety of general knowledge (rather than aviation- or airport-specific) subjects relevant to skill sets required at airports. Graduates of these programs are often prepared for entry-level technology-oriented and administrative positions. With guidance from industry partners, these graduates may be able to gain valuable knowledge of their learned craft as it applies to airports, making them better prepared for success in the airport industry. Opportunities to Participate in the Academic Process

Opportunities to Participate in the Academic Process 71 Example 2. Areas of Expertise. If you are an airport planner, programs in architecture, urban planning, policy, and government affairs are all relevant. Similarly, if you are in airport finance, marketing, or upper levels of administration, business schools are excellent programs to contact. Programs specific to aviation and airports are often open to enhancement by bringing to the classroom real-world knowledge and deeper discussion of the topics currently offered. Matching your skill sets with the needs of these programs will result in a best-fit for you to enhance their offerings. Example 3. Your Alma Mater. Your college may have an AABI-accredited aviation program or a non-aviation technical program. As an alum, you will know the strengths of the program, and how you can contribute your industry expertise. Making Contact Once you have identified opportunities within one or more academic programs, the next step is to contact a person who will be most helpful in developing the relationship. Depending on your type of desired engagement, the initial contact will most likely be either a particular faculty member or the program’s chair. Making initial contact with a faculty member would be most appropriate for some level of desired engagement on a classroom level. For example, offering to give a guest lecture on a course assignment topic or host a site visit would be welcomed by faculty members who are teaching courses relevant to your knowledge base. Alternatively, desir- ing to teach an entire course, offering internships, or participating on an advisory board may be best addressed with the chair. Faculty and program chairs are typically accessible and welcome industry participation. Engagement Options Engagement options have different levels of commitment, ranging from only a few hours per year to several hours per week. Some options offer direct interaction with students and faculty, while others provide more interaction with program administrators. These options do not require a significant capital investment. Typical costs associated with these opportunities are limited to time commitments, travel expenses (if the institution with which you are working is not local), and perhaps the production of some materials. Teaching and Lecturing Opportunities Students truly enjoy learning from those directly in industry. Your real-world experience provides insights into current issues with a perspective that enhances the topics learned in the traditional academic setting. Whether you engage once during a semester or every week, your presence as a professional within the industry would be a most welcome enhancement to any curriculum. These opportunities include adjunct faculty appointments, guest lecturer appoint- ments, and site-visit hosts. Adjunct Faculty Appointments Many institutions rely on adjunct faculty. These part-time faculty do not earn tenure; they are paid per course. Generally, adjunct faculty are a cost-effective method to bring in additional expertise to benefit students. Airport professionals, especially those having earned a master’s degree, can provide significant value to an aviation program by bringing real-world issues and applications into the classroom. This arrangement is often rewarding for the airport professional

72 Enhancing Academic Programs to Prepare Future Airport Industry Professionals as well because they are giving back to the next generation, thereby doing their part to ensure a capable and knowledgeable future airport workforce. Although it is the responsibility of full-time faculty and administrators to formally create and schedule courses within a curriculum, as an adjunct faculty, you will have much control over the management and delivery of the classes to which you are assigned. This includes the creation and delivery of lectures, assignments, examinations, projects, and other activities. Class sessions may occur several days a week, often during business hours. On some occasions, classes may be scheduled after traditional business hours, during lunch hours, or on a limited-days-per-week schedule. Courses meet for the number of hours per week according to the courses’ number of credit hours. For example, a 3-credit-hour course will meet 3 hours per week. As an adjunct faculty, be prepared to spend time, in addition to in-class lectures, preparing your materials, evaluating assignments and exams, and meeting with students during scheduled appointments. A common measure of time required is to add three times as many hours per week to the number of credit hours for a class. Thus, for a 3-credit-hour course, a total time commitment would be approximately 12 hours per week for your faculty responsibilities. Guest Lecture Appointments Another method for investing in the next generation of airport professionals is to serve as a guest lecturer. Aviation faculty are typically very accommodating, especially if an industry pro- fessional is interested in speaking to their students. This often requires initiative by the airport professional, as faculty usually are hesitant to bother industry professionals with such a request. Site-Visit Hosts Aviation students are eager to leave the classroom and visit industry sites of interest. Airports are well-received by students, especially if an Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting demonstration is included. If a local aviation program has not requested or participated in an airport tour, reach out to the program chair or aviation management/airport management faculty member. Offer to host the instructor and students at the airport for a morning or afternoon tour of the airfield, terminal building, and cargo facilities. Although such a site visit will likely require scheduling months in advance, it will be beneficial for the students and airport staff as well. Capstone Project Sponsors Aviation students are generally required to complete a capstone or senior project in their final year in the program. These projects benefit from a real-world focus, rather than a purely theo- retical view. Students benefit when industry professionals invest in them and their projects. Be willing to assist a student, whether that requires participating in a phone interview, giving a tour of airport facilities, or simply acting as a sounding board. The result may provide far-reaching benefits for the industry. Administrative and Philanthropic Opportunities Advisory Board Membership The mission of a program’s advisory board is to provide advice or guidance to the strategic direction of the program. Industry representatives provide valuable insight into the current and future needs of airports and may suggest how best to address them in the academic program. The level of effort of advisory board members typically includes one or two in-person meetings

Opportunities to Participate in the Academic Process 73 per year, quarterly conference calls, and perhaps the writing of white papers. Advisory board members are usually chosen at the discretion of the program chair. Personal and Financial Support Any participation in enhancing academic curriculum is considered an act of giving. Philan- thropic contributions also provide academic programs with opportunities to enhance curricula through the acquisition of new materials and infrastructure; funding to support scholarships; and paid internships as well as funds for students and faculty to travel for out-of-town site visits, attend industry conferences, and so forth. For example, some programs have received grants to provide all students with tablets that aid in on-site education. Others have used these resources to subscribe to educational journals and databases and to purchase field equipment. Financial and in-kind contributions by industry and individuals provide much-needed sup- port to help various elements of the aviation program. The institution will usually have a devel- opment office or similar unit that is responsible for accepting and disbursing contributions from industry, foundations, and individuals. Large donations may offer naming rights for a building, auditorium, or room, while smaller financial contributions are also recognized. Many institutions host an annual Day of Giving as a focused event to solicit contributions from alumni and friends, often as a competition among other programs on campus. Contribu- tions can be designated to specific purposes and may be matched by businesses that have a pro- gram to do so. In-kind contributions from industry can be in the form of equipment (including aircraft), hardware, tools, software, or other items that may be useful for training and education. Scholarships provided directly by industry are another form of financial support that benefits aviation program students. Scholarships need not be specific to tuition assistance; they can be offered to help students and faculty attend industry events.

Next: Section IV - Reference Materials »
Enhancing Academic Programs to Prepare Future Airport Industry Professionals Get This Book
×
MyNAP members save 10% online.
Login or Register to save!
Download Free PDF

Airports and their support industries have changed significantly over the past several decades. It is imperative that academic programs continue to evolve with these changes to better prepare the next generation of airport industry professionals.

The TRB Airport Cooperative Research Program's ACRP Research Report 230: Enhancing Academic Programs to Prepare Future Airport Industry Professionals provides guidance to assist academia in preparing graduates for careers as airport industry professionals.

A supplemental presentation is available.

  1. ×

    Welcome to OpenBook!

    You're looking at OpenBook, NAP.edu's online reading room since 1999. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website.

    Do you want to take a quick tour of the OpenBook's features?

    No Thanks Take a Tour »
  2. ×

    Show this book's table of contents, where you can jump to any chapter by name.

    « Back Next »
  3. ×

    ...or use these buttons to go back to the previous chapter or skip to the next one.

    « Back Next »
  4. ×

    Jump up to the previous page or down to the next one. Also, you can type in a page number and press Enter to go directly to that page in the book.

    « Back Next »
  5. ×

    To search the entire text of this book, type in your search term here and press Enter.

    « Back Next »
  6. ×

    Share a link to this book page on your preferred social network or via email.

    « Back Next »
  7. ×

    View our suggested citation for this chapter.

    « Back Next »
  8. ×

    Ready to take your reading offline? Click here to buy this book in print or download it as a free PDF, if available.

    « Back Next »
Stay Connected!