UNT to become first Texas public university to offer a four-year aviation program

Thursday, October 22, 2009
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DENTON (UNT), Texas – Beginning next fall Texas students interested in a career in aviation will no longer have to look out of state for an affordable four-year degree. In 2010 the University of North Texas will become the first Texas public college or university to offer a bachelor of science in aviation logistics.

The program, which will be offered by the UNT College of Business, was approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board in early October and will begin accepting students next fall.

Dr. Terrance Pohlen, director of the UNT's Center for Logistics Education and Research, said that the combination of aviation and logistics will give UNT graduates a much broader perspective than they would get from aviation programs offered at other universities.

"The flight crew, while an important and highly visible part of aviation, is just the tip of the iceberg. Every time an airplane takes off, literally thousands of dedicated people help put it in the air--from those who manage the airports and run the air traffic control system, to those who schedule flights and many others who do the jobs that need to be done," said Pohlen.

UNT's program will give students the education and the experience needed to pursue career opportunities in all facets of the aviation industry. The program will offer two tracks--one for students interested in becoming commercial pilots and another for students interested in careers related to passenger and freight movement.
"The creation of this new major at UNT is in response to the density of aviation-related businesses and career opportunities in the Dallas-Fort Worth region. DFW International is the fourth largest passenger airport in the country. The area also is home to Dallas Love Field, Fort Worth Alliance airport, American Airlines, Bell Helicopter and Lockheed Martin, just to name a few," said Dr. Steve Swartz, assistant professor of logistics.

Pohlen estimates that Texas loses 250 students to aviation programs in Oklahoma and Louisiana each year. Pohlen hopes that in the future those students will chose to stay in Texas and attend UNT.

"The need for a four-year aviation program in Texas was apparent, and UNT's location and strong reputation for logistics education made it a natural fit for a comprehensive aviation logistics program," said Dr. Wendy K. Wilkins, UNT provost and vice president for academic affairs. "Aviation is essential to the modern world economy, and this new major will allow UNT to prepare the leaders of tomorrow for an increasingly complex and challenging aviation industry."

Laura Rusnok, a senior in UNT's College of Business and president of UNT's Student Aviation Association, will be one of the first students to graduate from the aviation logistics program.

"Before I heard about UNT's aviation logistics program, I thought that I'd have to attend an expensive out-of-state college," said Rusnok. "Now I can get an affordable industry-focused education right in my own backyard."

The program will benefit from UNT's strong relationships with area community colleges. UNT plans to partner with the area two-year colleges and pilot training programs to help students interested in aviation transfer to UNT and earn a four-year degree.

Students also will benefit from the existing strengths of the nationally and internationally ranked logistics and supply chain management degree offered at UNT. Many of the aviation logistics faculty will be professors who teach in the existing logistics programs. The program also will draw faculty from a variety of departments to promote a well-rounded and interdisciplinary program. In addition, Pohlen said that he hopes UNT's Air Force ROTC detachment will become a partner.

Pohlen and Swartz combined have more than 44 years of United States Air Force experience in logistics, and both taught at the Air Force Institute of Technology. Pohlen helped design a master's program for the institute aimed at teaching cargo pilots logistics. The program is still offered today. Swartz is a commercial pilot and a graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the nation's premier aviation-focused university.

For more information on UNT's new aviation logistics major, contact the Department of Marketing and Logistics at 940-565-3120 or mktgrecp@unt.edu.

UNT News Service Phone Number: (940) 565-2108