AUBURN UNIVERSITY – The aviation management program at Auburn University will soon see better facilities and other improvements designed to make it available to more students and responsive to changes in the aviation industry.
“We’re putting a plan in place that addresses some recent challenges and puts the program in a position to grow,” said Bill Hardgrave, dean of Auburn’s College of Business.
Hardgrave has recommended maintaining the aviation management program in the College of Business. The program recently suffered the loss of two faculty members, one who died and the other who announced his retirement effective later this month.
Auburn has offered aviation education since 1941. The program focuses on the knowledge and skills needed by airline and other aviation professionals.
“By having a major in aviation management, the legacy of aviation at Auburn is preserved,” said Hardgrave. “It also helps promote the aviation industries in the state by providing graduates who are well-prepared to work in the field.”
“Auburn is one of the few institutions in the nation that owns its own airport and offers aviation management,” said Auburn Provost Tim Boosinger. “We are excited about the future and the program’s opportunities and look forward to working with the Aviation Accreditation Board International to maintain the program’s accreditation.”
Auburn University officials are also exploring ways to strengthen the program. One recommendation includes partnering with a commercial firm that would allow the expansion of flight training beyond students in the College of Business. Outsourcing flight education to a professional flight school, or PFS, partner would provide the opportunity for flight instruction to any Auburn student, community member, Southern Union student, Tuskegee University student or high school student wishing to obtain pilot ratings or simply learn to fly.
For those wishing to move into flying as a career, the PFS partner will provide an FAA-certified program leading toward an Airline Transport Pilot, or ATP, certification. By opening the flight school to all students and community members, the number of flight students would likely increase, thus bringing additional funding to the Auburn University Regional Airport.
“The increased opportunity for enrollment should also further the state’s aviation presence by producing more aviation professionals,” said Hardgrave.
The plan also includes recommendations for improved facilities at the Auburn University Regional Airport. Flight simulators currently housed in an off-campus facility will be relocated to the airport once improved facilities are available. “Overall, the plan allows for short-term improvements that lead to long-term solutions,” Boosinger said.
Auburn University will refer the existing degree in professional flight management to the University Senate’s Academic Program Review Committee for review and if the program is discontinued will work with the enrolled students to ensure they are able to complete their degrees.