Research Projects

Building Academic Programs to Cultivate Future Airport Industry Professionals In Reserve

Develop updated academic curriculums and requirements to cultivate airport industry professionals to meet existing and future needs.

Background (Describe the current situation or problem in the industry, and how your idea would address it.)

Airports and their support industries have changed significantly over the past several decades, however many academic programs have remained stagnate in their academic requirements, failing to evolve with the industry reliant on their training. Current academic curriculums generally still prepare students for initial positions in airport airfield operations, while most current and future trends in the profession are reliant on a comprehensive approach to airport management and consulting careers incorporating Engineering, Finance, Planning and Technology, in addition to Operations. As a means to prepare students for an effectual career in the airport industry, this research project would engage academics, consultants and airport sponsors to develop a model academic curriculum template to provide a foundation for eventual career success. This effort would likely focus on an evaluation of the current and future succession requirements as outlined by both airport sponsors and consultants. This would then be followed by a comparison of existing academic curriculums and graduation requirements. The comparison of industry needs versus the current academic environment would establish a "gap" from which to build a refined track for future students to fulfill positions in current and future airport and consulting professions. Ultimately, this research would seek to bridge the gap that currently exists to ensure both employee, organizational and industry success.

Approach (Describe in general terms the steps you think are needed to achieve the objective.)

Establish an academic baseline: Research and document current curriculums for 4
r, and possibly post
graduate, programs in Airport/Aviation Management, Aeronautics, Aviation Business Administration, and
similar programs. Determine the current requirements and process to achieve program accreditation through the
Aviation Accreditation Board International.
Work with airports and consultants to determine current and anticipated future employee knowledge base and
skill sets.
Research industry trends to determine future employee knowledge base and skill sets.
Perform a gap analysis between identified industry needs (current and future) (airport and consultant) and the
current academic curriculums.
Identify requirements for academic program accreditation and compare against existing curriculums and
proposed future curriculums.
The research shall include:
Research and Inventory:
Existing academic curriculums
Current and future knowledge base of existing and future industry needs.
Identify areas meeting existing and future needs
Identify areas not meeting existing and future needs
Develop recommended college level academic curriculum to include core and elective courses.
Identify additional academic program needs/requirements such as mandatory internships, thesis
and/or final examinations as a means to accentuate and/or demonstrate knowledge.
Recommend redefined process for academic program accreditation.
Identify recommended continuing education needs for current and future industry professionals.
The research project shall include:
Meetings or phone conferences academic institutions ;
Meetings or phone conferences with airport operators ;
Meetings or phone conferences with airport consultants ;
Meetings or phone conferences with recent aviation related academic program graduates;
Meetings or phone conferences with private aviation employment search firms (head hunters);
Meetings or phone conferences with academic program accreditation officials;
Final deliverable shall include:

  1. A guidebook (primer).
    Proposed college level curriculums for varying academic programs (Airport/Aviation Management,
    Aeronautics, Aviation Business Administration, and similar programs).
    Includes detailed focus areas of study within each course.
    Includes graduation requirements (GPA requirements, internship requirements, these requirements,
    and/or final program examination requirements.
    Include a checklist of areas of exposure to be met during an internship
    Sample thesis requirements
    f) Sample industry final program requirement examinations
  2. Model template/requirements checklist for academic accreditation.
  3. Model from which to develop and provide future students with a relative ranking of an academic institutions
Cost Estimate and Backup (Provide a cost estimate and support for how you arrived at the estimate.)

A budget not to exceed $200,000 should be sufficient for research, recommendations, and guidebook development.
Significant gaps currently exist between the knowledge base of new graduated from college level (undergraduate and
graduate) program
s in Aviation Management and related fields. As the industry changes, less correlation between
prospective employees and aviation employers will exist. This research would aim to bridge the existing and
perceived future gaps between degree program and real
world environments.
Help redefine outdated academic curriculum and produce a more effective aviation related workforce by establishing
recommended (industry standard) program and accreditation guidelines.
Similar research has been performed by NCHRP. This would be beneficial for ACRP practitioners.

Related Research - List related ACRP and other industry research; describe gaps (see link to Research Roadmaps above), and describe how your idea would address these gaps. This is a critical element of a synthesis topic submission.

NCHRP Report 20-72 -Tools to Aid State DOTs in Responding to Workforce Challenges

ACRP Report 75 – Airport Leadership Development Program

Idea No. 60