June 04, 2010

SIUC to offer aviation program at N.C. college

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Students at a community college in North Carolina will now be able to earn a bachelor’s degree from Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s nationally recognized aviation management program.

The off-campus offering at Craven Community College is a “2+2” program,” in which students first obtain an associate degree in aviation systems technologies there, and then transfer into SIUC’s aviation management program.

SIUC faculty will continue to teach upper level courses at the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station at Cherry Point, N.C., adjacent to the community college’s Havelock, N.C. campus. The community college’s main campus is in New Bern, N.C., approximately 30 minutes away.

The two schools signed the articulation agreement Thursday, June 3, at Craven Community College’s campus in Havelock.

“We are excited about this partnership with Southern Illinois University Carbondale and the opportunities it will offer students to continue their educational endeavors,” said Craven Community College President Catherine Chew. “Our goal at Craven is to create as many learning options for students as we can. We are pleased that this agreement creates a pathway for students in our Aviation Systems Technology program to earn a bachelor’s degree from an innovative and forward-looking university.”

Terry A. Owens, interim dean of the College of Applied Sciences and Arts, is enthused about the articulation agreement. It is one of 22 agreements that programs in the college have with community colleges throughout the country, he said.

“This gives us an opportunity to provide services to our military and civilian students and to increase enrollment,” Owens said. “We’ve increased the number of agreements in recent years understanding that we have to have better cooperation with community colleges.”

SIUC faculty and adjunct faculty will teach the classes on the weekends, said David A. NewMyer, chair of the Department of Aviation Management and Flight. The aviation management program will build upon technical training students already received in aviation maintenance, aviation flight, avionics technology, air traffic control, aircraft operations support, and other aviation-related technical fields.

The aviation management program has been in place at the military base in Cherry Point since 1976 when NewMyer was the University’s first instructor there. He is currently overseeing the aviation management independent study program there.

“The great thing about this is we now have a civilian partner and this solidifies the deal,” he said.

The program is “absolutely a great opportunity for the students in the North Carolina area and predominately the students at Marine Corps Station-Cherry Point who earn their associate degree through Craven Community College,” said Judith A. Rawls, director of the College of Applied Sciences and Arts’ off-campus academic programs.

“We are reaching out more to the community colleges and they are reaching to us. We are excited about that,” she said.

NewMyer anticipates 15 to 20 students will participate each year in the bachelor’s degree program from the community college. The program will offer courses in a weekend format that spans four semesters. Students will attend class every other weekend from 8 a.m. to 4:50 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, with three weekends of classes completing a course. There is also an independent studies course that goes throughout an entire 16-week semester.

NewMyer and Rawls emphasize that the same material and instruction students will receive in the aviation management program at Cherry Point is the same offered at SIUC’s campus. Adjunct faculty may teach some of the courses, but SIUC faculty will also serve as instructors, NewMyer said. Other universities that teach off-campus aviation courses at the undergraduate level do not generally use campus faculty but rely mainly upon adjunct faculty, he said.

The aviation program at Craven Community College has a new building, new equipment and “solid faculty,” NewMyer said.

“Our staff at Cherry Point are going to Craven once a week setting up an office and talking to students there,” he said.

SIUC’s aviation management program has three additional off-campus locations -- U.S. Marine Corps Air Station-New River in Jacksonville, N.C.; Mount San Antonio College in Walnut, Calif.; and Palomar College in San Marcos, Calif.

“Craven Community College, like us, also serves the Marine Corps. We are working on a partnership to serve the Marine Corps and the local community with this program,” NewMyer said.

“We’ve been at Cherry Point longer than any other off-campus aviation management program location. I want to see us succeed and this is going to help us do that,” NewMyer said. “It’s good for the students, the two institutions, and the Marine Corps.”

The agreement also provides a valuable recruiting tool for the program and the University, NewMyer said. For non-military affiliated students, the agreement also provides benefits.

“It’s a cooperative agreement that is going to help Craven Community College because they can say we have an on-site partner where you can get a bachelor’s degree and you don’t have to leave eastern North Carolina,” NewMyer said.

For more information on SIUC’s aviation management classes at Craven Community College, contact program adviser Warren Culbreath or office assistant Brenda Halpin at 252/466-2779. For more information regarding the college’s off-campus programs, contact Rawls at 618/453-7275.