EKU Aviation Program Signs Agreement with SKCTC

photo from SKCTC

Students from Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College will soon enjoy the opportunity to take flight and soar, thanks to a new agreement with the Eastern Kentucky University Aviation Program.

When SKCTC students enroll in EKU’s Aerospace Technology program, they will be able to earn an associate degree with all course work offered at the Middlesboro campus. Upon completion of the degree, students can then pursue a bachelor’s degree at EKU’s Richmond campus.

SKCTC President Dr. Lynn Moore and EKU President Michael Benson signed the agreement during a recent ceremony and news conference at the Middlesboro campus.

The memorandum of understanding between both institutions validates the transfer of college credits for local students completing their Associate of Arts degree into EKU’s Bachelor Degree Aviation-Aerospace Technology concentration. In addition to the course-by-course transfer of AA credits, the agreement also allows SKCTC students to complete many EKU-specific lower division courses at the Middlesboro campus. Thus, the agreement is a 2.5 + 1.5 versus the traditional community college/university 2+2 agreement. The final 42 EKU-only credits will be completed online or at the Richmond campus, explained Ralph Gibbs, director of the EKU Aviation Program.

A third partner in the newly forged relationship is the Middlesboro-Bell County Airport and its board of directors. All Southeast student flight training will be conducted at the airport, which is conveniently situated adjacent to the community college. The Eastern Aviation: Aerospace Technology degree pathway has 25 semester hours of any aviation technical electives. Thus, all Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certificates earned at the Middlesboro airport will be accepted by EKU through the credit-by-examination process to satisfy the academic requirement.

Once completed, Southeast students will have earned their associate degree, all their FAA certificates, private through multi-engine instructor and their Bachelor’s Degree. “Even more significantly,” said Gibbs, “local students can enter the program in Middlesboro and stay close to home until they are ready to accept their first flying job with their BA degree.”  

Moore said SKCTC is “delighted about having the program from Eastern come to Southeast and to Middlesboro. The curriculum is cutting edge and innovative, and we look forward to growing the program and working with EKU to make the Aviation: Aerospace Technology Program a tremendous success. The program is certain to attract many students while preparing each for an exciting career -- one of inspiring and well-paying job opportunities that will serve them well as they move forward into the 21st Century.”

Gibbs said the program is “distinctive and groundbreaking,” adding that he anticipates more partnerships between EKU and the Kentucky Community and Technical College System.  He also predicted tremendous growth in the industry.

“The forecast need for professional pilots over the next 20 years is 498,000,” Gibbs said. “And, to meet that extraordinary industry demand, it is my goal to synergistically align EKU Aviation with as many KCTCS colleges as possible.  The demand is so large that doing so will barely make a dent in the overall demand.”  

Prospective students wising to enroll in the program should contact the Office of Admissions at any of the SKCTC five campuses spread over Harlan, Bell and Letcher counties.

Published on September 25, 2014

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