On December 10, 2010, President Potter said “Accreditors noted the deficiency of the curriculum and, for two years, no progress was made.” That’s an odd statement to make considering the fact that AABI, the accrediting team, didn’t audit the SCSU Aviation Department until July, 2009. That means they didn’t examine SCSU’s curriculum until that time.
President Potter has repeatedly said, though not consistently, that the Aviation program was too expensive. Let’s examine that rather than take it as Gospel truth. If a person based their opinion on this article, they’d likely think that President Potter’s story isn’t steeped in the truth:

SCSU doesn’t own a single plane; it’s one thing that makes this aviation program really unique. We started out as an Aero club, it’s a student-run organization that owns the airplanes. That’s how our department started, with enthusiastic people that wanted to learn to fly and it just grew from there,” said Jessica Miller, member of the Aviation Ambassadors.

Actually, the airplanes aren’t the most expensive equipment Aviation students use. The flight simulators might be. Again, SCSU didn’t pay for the simulators. Student fees paid for about 90% of the cost of the newest simulator.

The new simulator cost approximately $100,000. Student fees paid for over 90% of that expense. Likewise, SCSU doesn’t pay for the flight time flight students buy. That’s paid for by the students, too.

In other words, the only expense that SCSU pays for are the professors and staff of the Aviation Department. During the 2010-2011 school year, the total amount spent on 4 fulltime professors and 4 adjunct professors was $275,499.

That isn’t a big investment for SCSU considering the fact that there’s a substantial, lengthy worldwide airline pilot shortage. It’s miniscule considering the fact that MNSCU Chancellor Steve Rosenstone once said this:

One state leader put it clearly when he said: “Changes in workforce needs are coming like a freight train, and we are very quickly going to go from high unemployment to ‘Where are the workers?’”

Chancellor Rosenstone, if meeting the changing workforce needs are as important as you suggest they are, why haven’t you reversed President Potter’s foolish decision to eliminate SCSU’s Aviation Department? Boeing is forecasting the need for hundreds of thousands of airline pilots in the Pacific Rim alone. That’s before considering the tens of thousands of airline pilots that will be needed for domestic flights over the next 15 years.

The bottom line is straightforward. President Potter isn’t being honest about the curriculum or the cost of the Aviation Department. Chancellor Rosenstone isn’t being honest about putting a high priority on meeting the workforce challenges of the near future and the now.

The time for integrity is now. Proper prioritizing of SCSU’s resources should’ve happened ages ago. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened. It isn’t a stretch to think it won’t happen during a Potter administration.

Thanks to President Potter’s decision, alot of students will be forced to get their flight degrees from more expensive universities. It’s hard to think that Minnesotans hired him to make that type of decision.

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6 Responses to “Is the SCSU Aviation department expensive?”

  • Jethro says:

    Do you get the feeling Potter and Rosenstone are playing tug of war with each other?

  • Tim Brion says:

    I am a private pilot based at St Cloud Regional Airport and I am appalled with President Potter’s decision. I believe that the SCSU Aviation Students are some of the best young adults I have ever had the pleasure to meet. They are mature, bright, and hard working. No leader or person with half a brain would make such a poor decision. How do you turn your back on character, passion, and integrity? It is imperative for our leaders to recognize quality and opportunity. Mr President you failed. It is time for you to be a leader…do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do.

  • IndyJones says:

    I graduated from SCSC and while there was a member of the Aero Club. I never did learn to fly while at college but did maintain an interest in aviation and became an aircraft mechanic. Now pilots and managers in the aviation business earn more than I did but still I made more in a year than the combined income of both a professor and adjunct professor mentioned in the reported expenses in this article. Now what professor would not like to hear that his students were not only employeed but making more than he does…the goal of real educators. Do we really need more liberal arts graduates or do we need people with actual “go to work skills”. There are only so many management jobs at Starbucks. Lets get smart and train for the future and if SCSU doesn’t provide that education and training then go elsewhere. Purdue in Indiana offers a great program.

  • Jethro says:

    Aviation faculty: $275,499
    Out of state marketing firm: $1/2 million
    ISELF: $20 million+
    Potter desperately trying to get his aviation closure story straight: Priceless!

  • Patrick says:

    Aviation was targeted by the COSE Dean for closure before the reorganization process started. MPR report (5-2-12) Dr. Malhotra, SCSU Provost and VP, says St. Cloud State has refocused on creating graduates with a broad base of knowledge, not just ones ready for a specific job. Clearly he doesn’t understand the Aviation domain. By his logic many other programs should have been closed also; many that were kept open have nothing to do with the President Potter’s mission “new focus on science, technology and engineering”. Are Maholtra and Potter even on the same page?

    Nope that I can see but hey ya gotta spin it like you see it.

  • Gary Gross says:

    Check out this post. It deals with those issues directly.

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