Research Projects

Enhancing Graduate Academic Programs for Career Advancement in the Airport Industry

The proposed research is designed to expand the research of ACRP 06-06 – Cultivating Talent in the Airport Environment, and ACRP 06-07 – Enhancing Academic Programs to Prepare Future Airport Industry Professionals both of which are still in progress. Many collegiate aviation programs examined in ACRP 06-07 offered master's degrees in business administration, public administration, or aeronautical science that included airport related coursework and in some cases a concentration option. The proposed research will follow the work plan from the previous research by examining the curricula, syllabi and other attributes of each graduate degree program. A guidebook will be prepared to include recommendations for airport-related coursework, concentration curriculum and other resources for academic institutions.

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

Among the collegiate aviation programs that were examined in ACRP 06-07, 19 also offered a graduate degree that had a relationship to the aviation industry. Typically, these master degree programs involved business administration, public administration, or aeronautical science. Most all of other institutions offered graduate degrees however without a direct tie to aviation or airports.

Graduate degrees generally require 40 or more credit hours (13 courses) of instruction, many with a thesis or capstone component. Core coursework generally involves 7 - 8 courses with the balance designated as electives or for a specific concentration. Among the aviation-related electives, some programs may or may not have specific airport courses. The research would evaluate current programs that could benefit airport professionals and others interested in enhancing their careers by offering airport-oriented courses.

Objective (What is the desired product or result that will help the airport industry?)

The proposed research will build upon the research of ACRP 06-06 and 06-07 by examining graduate level academic programs that have an aviation-related concentration, relevant airport-centric coursework, or the potential to develop courses that would benefit airport industry professionals for career enhancement.

Opportunities to link certain graduate programs (e.g., Masters degree in Public Administration (MPA)) with industry accreditation programs such as ACI's Airport Management Professional Accreditation Program (AMPAP) will be investigated with the goal of identifying the potential for providing reciprocity between specific academic and professional coursework.

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

The proposed research would follow the work plan outlined in ACRP 06-7 and would be comprised of several distinct elements:

1. Identify and document curricula and other requirements of aviation-related masters and doctoral level programs currently offered by academic institutions. Other graduate programs that have the potential to add aviation/airport related coursework will also be identified.

2. Perform a comprehensive literature review to identify and summarize studies that have addressed graduate-level aviation programs.

3. Develop and implement a survey to collect specific demographic, attitudinal questions (Likert scale) and other observations from current students, alumni, and airport professionals in general.

4. Assess the efficacy of these existing graduate programs for enhancing the career of airport professionals through focus groups and interviews.

5. Prepare a guidebook outlining recommendations for airport-related coursework, concentration curriculum and other resources for academic institutions.

Cost Estimate and Backup (Provide a cost estimate and support for how you arrived at the estimate.)

It is estimated that the proposed research will require 1,200 hours (150 days) to prepare and conduct the surveys, compile and analyze the data, and report the findings. Using a composite fully-loaded labor rate of $150 per hour, labor costs are estimated to total $180,000. Costs for travel, survey distribution, and other expenses is estimated at $20,000. Total estimate cost for the proposed research is $200,000.

The proposed research is expected to be conducted over a period of approximately 12 months in order to capitalize on two full academic semesters. Allowances for project panel review of draft progress, interim, and final reports are included in this timeframe.

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.

The proposed research builds on and extends the research from the following ACRP Projects.

ACRP Synthesis 18: Aviation Workforce Development Practices

ACRP 06-04 Phase I - Identifying and Evaluating Airport Workforce Requirements (including the results published in Web-Only Document 28), Phase II - Guidebook on Building Airport Workforce Capacity (published as ACRP Report 186).

ACRP 06-06 – Cultivating Talent in the Airport Environment (in progress)

ACRP 06-07 – Enhancing Academic Programs to Prepare Future Airport Industry Professionals (in progress)

ACRP Synthesis 103 - Promoting Aviation Career Education in High Schools and Community Colleges

ACRP Project 01-34 - Developing Innovative Strategies for Aviation Education and Participation (published as ACRP Report 202)

Other research resources include:

The making of the modern airport executive: Causal connections among key attributes in career development, compromise, and satisfaction in airport management (Byers – 2004)

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Idea No. 512