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High flyin' program
By Paul-Mark Rendon
Students will have the chance to get high this fall, as a new program in commercial flight management has been cleared for takeoff in the coming school year.
Friday's Senate meeting saw the approval of the new commercial aviation management stream to be introduced into the four-year bachelor of administrative and commercial studies program in the faculty of social science. The new program is touted as the first of its kind in Canada at the university level.
With a course structure closely resembling the existing finance and administration stream, the new program may also require students to complete rigorous hours of technical and flight training over the final three years of the program, said Keith Fleming, a history professor and special projects coordinator at Western. "Students would receive approximately 225 hours of flight training, making them candidates for entry level positions at commercial airlines."
The flight training hours will enable students to the achieve a commercial pilot's license through Empire Aviations, a partner in the program, Fleming said.
Greg Moran, Western's VP-academic, said the new program will fill the demand for degrees in the aviation industry. "Colleges don't offer degrees and there's a demand in the aviation industry for people with degrees."
Western President Paul Davenport addressed concerns expressed over the new stream's possible infringement on a traditionally college-level area of study. "We have aggressively sought out the partnership of colleges, but you've got to be able to reach a deal and we haven't reached a deal yet."
Ted Hewitt, associate dean of social science, dismissed the concern and said many programs offered in college are also offered at the university level. Hewitt added the full-cost recovery program will ensure it can fund itself. "At this junction, it would be difficult to obtain government funding."
Students who choose to complete a commercial pilot's license with their degree may be looking at tuition rates of up to $10,000 per year, Hewitt added. "That's competitive, especially with [United States] schools who are charging the same amount in U.S. dollars," he said.
The possibility of a co-op program to accompany the new stream has also been discussed, but Hewitt said it is still far from being cemented.