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.