Newsletter March 2020

Christina Bloebaum

I hope this newsletter finds you safe and well. The last few months have been busy ones in the College of Aeronautics and Engineering. The most recent coronavirus (COVID-19) precautions to teach remotely has only changed the format in which we deliver information to students, not our level of commitment to excellence. Our faculty and staff worked diligently to move all face-to-face courses to remote delivery in a matter of days. I am so very proud of the amazing job our faculty and staff have done in making sure our students’ needs are addressed. Kent State’s theme that Flashes Take Care of Flashes has been put into action in the classroom and out of it! A great example is Professor Darwin Boyd, who worked with staff members Sarah Luptak and Mark Ashmore to quickly order parts from multiple sites, create kits, and mail them to the students in Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC) II, so that when classes resume virtually after Spring Break, they will all be able to continue with their labs at home. And then there are our amazing Flight faculty and staff who have worked to shift course content delivery and move content online so our Flight Students can continue progressing as much as possible until the airport opens once more.

Because of our need to avoid gatherings, we have postponed or canceled campus events until further notice. However, this has spurred our creativity as we are now working on a host of remote events and even summer camp experiences for the upcoming months. We have embraced a variety of distance collaboration tools, including Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Collaborate Ultra. All faculty and staff are available through these media, as well as phone and email and we look forward to connecting with you at any time!

Reflecting on recent months, the spring semester kicked off with our faculty and staff engaging in seminars and a workshop on Generation Z – the generation of students in our programs now and in the upcoming ten years or so. We absolutely believe in a Students First mindset and are working hard as a College, rethinking everything we do so we can deliver the education students need, in the way that will benefit them most, so as to produce the forward-thinking professionals needed in industry, government and academia.

Just this month, seven of our professional pilot/flight technology students were given qualified offers by Delta, showing the success of the Propel Program and quality of our graduates. These students are on a pathway to a Delta career.

Our faculty have also been working with industry partners on the development of new programs for undergraduate and graduate students. By Fall 2020, we expect to see our first doctoral program in the College – a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering. Along with this new program are a host of other graduate and undergraduate programs that will significantly expand our offerings, even while opening the doors for greater research engagement.

On the research front, our faculty have already brought in almost four times the research funding of last year – and we still have three months left in our fiscal year! Our faculty and staff are also heavily engaged in outreach and professional development, including plans for the Fall NIFA Region III Safecon Conference. We are also proud to report that Associate Dean Joycelyn Harrison, Ph.D., was selected as a 2020 Dominion Energy and Library of Virginia “Strong Men and Women” in Virginia History honoree. You will read more about her distinction in this newsletter.

We look forward to continuing to engage with our friends to move the College of Aeronautics and Engineering forward in ways that are beneficial for our students, our partners, our region and state. If you haven’t been on campus recently, we would love to connect with you virtually. We are developing a host of videos that will highlight our facilities. We would love to show you all the exciting things going on and discuss how you can help us advance our mission as a College.

I wish you the best of health and look forward to engaging with you soon!

Christina L. Bloebaum