The Use of Industry Advisory Boards in Support of Collegiate Aviation Programs

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Gail Avendaño
Samantha Bowyer


Abstract-Research problem: Aviation Accreditation Board International (AABI), the organization that accredits aviation degree programs, requires that programs seeking accreditation work with aviation industry professionals in the development and assessment of their programs. (AABI Accreditation Criteria Manual, February 24, 2023). There is no formal directive regarding how aviation programs and industry partners must work together, however, and no best practices relating to the use of industry advisory boards have been researched for aviation degree programs as they have been in other academic fields. Research questions: (1) How do aviation degree programs incorporate industry feedback? (2) How are industry advisory boards being used in support of aviation degree programs? Literature review: Literature in other fields regarding the use of advisory boards in the development and assessment of academic programs has offered insights into stakeholder benefits and suggested best practices, but research on the use of industry advisory boards in collegiate aviation programs is significantly lacking. Methodology: A survey link was shared with all current UAA and AABI members with the goal of determining how common it is for programs to have an industry advisory board. If the programs reported having an industry advisory board, additional survey questions sought to identify the benefits and challenges of having an industry advisory board, as well as the common characteristics of the boards. Findings: Advisory boards are commonly used to support aviation degree programs. However, there is a wide variation in terms of how they operate. This study offers a beginning framework for learning how industry partners and aviation programs are currently working together and suggests areas of additional needed research in order to identify best practices. 

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