Aviation graduates' competencies, 2000–2007: Perceptions of aviation educators and industry representatives in the United States
John B. Bridewell, University of South Dakota, United States
University of South Dakota . Awarded
This study surveyed the perceptions of collegiate aviation educators, collegiate aviation institution representatives, and aviation industry stakeholders who were members of the University Aviation Association as of February 5, 2007. Survey forms were sent to 353 prospective participants and there was an overall response rate of 47.6%.
The survey consisted of a list of 16 knowledge and skill competencies with Likert-type responses for each participant to indicate the level of importance each placed upon those competencies for collegiate aviation graduates and of the level of satisfaction each had that collegiate aviation graduates actually possessed those competencies upon graduation. Two open-ended questions pertained to the strengths and weaknesses of collegiate aviation programs or their graduates. Another allowed for general comments.
The statistical analyses indicated that all three groups were most satisfied with graduates' technical skills and least satisfied with communications skills. Analyses indicated that a balance of technical skills and a liberal education was essential for program success. All knowledge and skill competencies were shown to have high to very high importance levels, but only medium to high satisfaction levels. Results indicated that graduates were perceived to possess all stated competencies, but to a lesser degree than desired. Successful collegiate aviation programs existed, but there was room for improvement. Success was program or graduate speck, with no ubiquitous definition of what constituted a successful collegiate aviation program.
Aviation industry needs must be addressed by academia for any collegiate aviation program to be successful, but results indicated that the aviation industry needs to take a larger role in the development and refinement of collegiate aviation programs. Finances for institutions, programs, and students were a major concern for the foreseeable future. Administrators should consider how their actions affect the overall success of their programs.
Bridewell, J.B. Aviation graduates' competencies, 2000–2007: Perceptions of aviation educators and industry representatives in the United States. Ph.D. thesis, University of South Dakota.
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