February 25, 2009

Aviation flight earns full national accreditation

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Department of Aviation Flight is an integral part of the University’s nationally recognized aviation program.

The aviation flight program is now recognized as among the nation’s elite from an academic perspective, as well. Two years of work resulted in the program’s full national accreditation by the Aviation Accreditation Board International -- an organization that accredits collegiate aviation degree programs.

The aviation flight program received accreditation last week at AABI’s Winter Meeting in Jacksonville, Fla.

According to the organization’s Web site, accreditation means an educational degree program “has met stringent industry standards of quality. It ensures that graduates have received quality training and education and are capable of performing a broad range of professional responsibilities.”

“It’s another affirmation of our quality,” said David A. NewMyer, professor and chair of the Department of Aviation Management and Flight. “We’ve always thought we have done a good job and competed well with other programs.”

AABI accreditation affirms the aviation flight program meets national aviation accreditation standards related to curriculum, faculty, equipment and related items, NewMyer said.

This is the first time the aviation flight program sought accreditation.

Aviation flight, aviation management, and aviation technologies are signature programs at SIUC, and a part of the College of Applied Sciences and Arts.

“The AABI accreditation further signifies the quality of the aviation flight program,” Associate Dean Terry A. Owens said. “ We are very fortunate to have great leadership, outstanding students, excellent faculty and a very supportive staff.”

The aviation flight program is also accredited by the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges, and is certified by the Federal Aviation Administration.

SIUC started with a self-study in 2007 and submitted it to AABI in 2008. Representatives of the organization came to campus for a site visit in September and reviewed the program in numerous areas, including curriculum, faculty, facilities, and aircraft maintenance records, NewMyer said.

The accreditation is for five years through 2014, NewMyer said.

SIUC is one of 28 aviation flight programs in the nation are now accredited, NewMyer said. Another 75 to 100 aviation flight programs -- including several within the National Intercollegiate Flying Association Region VIII in which the SIUC’s Flying Salukis compete -- do not have accreditation, NewMyer said. Aviation flight programs in the region not nationally accredited by AABI include the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Indiana State University, and Lewis University, NewMyer said.

The accreditation also ensures the aviation flight program keeps pace with changing national aviation academic standards. SIUC next will work on accreditation of the aviation management program over the next several years, NewMyer said.

NewMyer emphasized the pivotal role that faculty, staff and students play in the aviation flight program’s quality. He thanked those who assisted in preparing the self-study document, including field representative David Jaynes, assistant professor, chief flight instructor and program coordinator John K. Voges, accountant II Kathy Lloyd, assistant chief flight instructor Keith Mortag, and program administrative assistant Lori Robertson.