University Aviation Association presents awards

The University Aviation Association (UAA) recently presented five awards to educators from around the nation.

The William A. Wheatley Award for 2012 was presented to Dr. Elizabeth Bjerke, associate professor and assistant chair of Assessment, Aviation Department, at the University of North Dakota (UND).

Bjerke is active in numerous national and international aviation related organizations, and is one of only nine educators from across the country to serve on the Board of Trustees for the Aviation Accreditation Board International (AABI). She is active also in the Women in Aviation, International organization and serves as faculty advisor for the UND chapter of the organization.

As a FAASTeam Lead Representative, Bjerke helps promote aviation safety in the state of North Dakota. She has also been a member of the National Association of Flight Instructors and is a Master Certified Flight Instructor. She developed a Flight Education capstone course to facilitate the functioning of the Aerospace Learning Center, in which volunteer students tutor underclassmen in flight related courses. With a strong emphasis on the importance of experiential learning, Bjerke developed the groundwork for Flight Education majors to create Podcasts concerning aviation topics.

Bjerke’s research efforts have focused upon collegiate aviation education and student persistence. Over the past five years, she has published over a half dozen peer-reviewed academic research articles in a variety of aviation journals. Most recently, she has been actively engaged in the Pilot Source Study and has been named the Principal Investigator for Phase IV of the Study.

The Wheatley Award, presented at the UAA Fall Education Conference Awards Banquet on September 28 in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, is presented annually to a professional educator who, for more than 10 years, has made outstanding contributions to aerospace education.

The V. L. Laursen Award was awarded to Dr. J. Anthony Sharp of Elizabeth City State University. The award recognized Sharp for teaching excellence in collegiate aviation education.

Sharp is director of the Aviation Science Program, Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) in North Carolina. He is an Airline Transport Pilot, a Certified Flight Instructor for airplanes, instruments, and multi-engine aircraft, and a Certified Ground Instructor for advanced and instrument pilot instruction with more than 12,000 flight hours. He has been certified as a Master Aviation Educator by Master Instructors LLC.

For more than 30 years, Sharp has been involved in aviation education, with much of his work devoted to the promotion and advancement of aviation among youth, women, and minorities. He established the first FAA Aviation Career Education (ACE) Academy Program at ECSU, with middle and high school academy programs. This includes an all-girls camp that features professional aviation women who, through talks and visits to their work sites, are able to show girls how they achieved success in aviation. Sharp also worked with the Boy Scouts of America to establish an Aviation Exploring Unit Post at ECSU to work with youth between the ages of 14 and 21.

Since Sharp became department chair in 2007, ECSU’s aviation program has grown from 17 students to 140. The program now has eight minor programs, and is the only four-year aviation program in North Carolina. Sharp has been appointed by the Governor of North Carolina to serve on the NC Aeronautics Council, the state’s advisory board to the Secretary of Transportation.

The Laursen Award honors former Trans World Airline Captain Vern L. Laursen, a highly respected member of the airline industry whose expertise and knowledge are well known throughout the aviation community. Captain Laursen made significant contributions in the areas of flight training, equipment, and procedures, and was renowned for his technical and administrative abilities in evaluating flight simulator and visual system applications.

The Frank E. Sorenson Award was presented to Dr. David Ison, assistant professor of aeronautics; discipline chair – Aeronautics, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Worldwide Campus. The Sorenson Award recognized Ison for “outstanding achievement of excellence in aviation research/scholarship.”

Ison is an innovative and talented teacher, a skilled researcher, and a leader in national aviation education. Prior to becoming an educator, he was an airline pilot for approximately 10 years. While serving on the faculty of Rocky Mountain College, he became a certified dispatcher, and developed related courses. A prolific author, Ison has written more than 135 magazine articles. His book, Oral Exam Guide: Aircraft Dispatcher, the first aircraft dispatcher-specific publication of its kind, has been published by ASA.

Ison is on the editorial board of the International Journal of Professional Aviation Training & Testing Research, and is a reviewer for the Journal of Aviation Technology and Engineering, as well as the Journal of Online Learning and Teaching. He is editor of the Collegiate Aviation Review (CAR) and promotes higher standards in the research published in the journal. His efforts brought the research within the CAR to an international audience by insuring its adoption by major research databases accessible from universities, libraries, and computers across the globe. Ison has also been working with the Journal of Aerospace/Aviation Education Research to become available electronically to further its readership and accessibility.

Sponsored by the University of Nebraska at Omaha, the Sorenson Award is presented to professional educators who have made substantial scholarly contributions to the field of aviation, comparable to the achievements of Dr. Frank E. Sorenson, a pioneer in the field of aviation education, a renowned educator, and a prolific writer.

The 2012 John K. Lauber Safety Award was awarded to Dr. Don Arendt, Manager of FAA Flight Standards SMS Program Office. The Lauber Safety Award recognized Arendt for achievement that demonstrates clear advancement of aviation safety. A dedicated safety professional, he championed the idea, development, and implementation of Safety Management Systems (SMS) in the United States.

Arendt’s career has been distinguished by an untiring commitment to the aviation community. He undertook the daunting challenge of adapting the design of SMS from ICAO standards and existing SMSs to fit U.S. operators. He created the SMS Pilot Project to encourage operators to work hand in hand with their FAA oversight offices. The resulting SMS focus group, comprised of airlines and various aviation service providers, reviewed SMS standards and provided real life examples of SMS development for use by aviation organizations. Arendt developed and delivered numerous presentations on SMS and personally assisted flight trainers in developing their SMSs.

Today, Arendt is considered by many to be the father of U.S. Safety Management Systems, with a vision of safety that permeates every airline and every aspect of aviation.

The Lauber Safety Award honors Dr. John K. Lauber, a pioneer in the field of aviation safety and human factors. Dr. Lauber was a two-term member of the National Transportation Safety Board, vice president of Corporate Safety and Compliance at Delta Air Lines, and vice president of Training and Human Factors at Airbus Industries.

Finally, the 2012 University Aviation Association’s (UAA) President’s Award has been presented to Dr. David A. NewMyer, chairperson and professor, Aviation Management and Flight, Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

The award was presented to NewMyer in recognition of nearly 30 years of dedication and outstanding service to the organization. He served as president in 2009-10 as the organization addressed some of the most significant legislative challenges of its 65-year history. A tireless proponent of the organization, NewMyer served two terms on the Board of Trustees and as chair of the Scholarship Committee for 17 years and a member of the Publications Committee for more than 20 years. NewMyer’s areas of teaching specialty include Airport Planning and Airline Management.

He earned a doctorate in Education Administration and Higher Education from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, master’s degrees in Political Science (Metropolitan Studies) from Drew University (New Jersey) and in Transportation from Northwestern University (Illinois) and a baccalaureate in History and Government from the University of Redlands (California). NewMyer is the author of 54 articles in professional, aviation-related refereed journals as well as primary author or co-author of 39 technical reports on aviation, airports and transportation planning.

The University Aviation Association, a nonprofit organization, represents more than 525 members consisting of educators, students, high schools, two- and four-year collegiate institutions offering aviation degree programs, and organizations and industry representatives that support collegiate aviation. The UAA also serves as the voice of collegiate aviation education to government, industry organizations and the general public.

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