FAA, KSU to take flight with new air traffic controller program

John Hitch

Next fall, Kent State will become Ohio’s first and only campus to offer a bachelor’s degree program for air traffic controllers.

Isaac Richmond Nettey, associate dean of the College of Technology and senior academic program director of aeronautics, received news in late October of the FAA’s decision to choose Kent State as one of 23 schools to house the Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative program.

The push for more air traffic controllers comes in response to large number of the approximately 14,000 controllers who are set to retire in the next decade, according to the Department of Labor.

Nettey placed a ceiling of 20 students on the initial group, but will increase the limit to 50 the following year. The capacity of students in the program at one time will be 150, he said.

Aeronautics currently has almost 300 students, making it the largest in the state.

The aeronautics administration must now hire faculty and construct the training simulator to accommodate the program by the start of the Fall 2008 semester.

Working lockstep with guidelines from the Federal Aviation Association and Aviation Accreditation Board International, the university continues to diversify its eclectic aviation curriculum. Aeronautical studies, aeronautical systems engineering technology, aviation management and flight technology are the current fully accredited concentrations.

The rights to create the simulator/classroom in Van Deusen Hall will go to “the most competitive bidder,” Nettey said.

Nettey said the search for instructors should also prove competitive.

“There is tremendous interest from KSU aeronautics alumni now working in the field.”

Contact College of Technology reporter John Hitch at [email protected].