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Pathways to the aviation professoriate: An investigation into the attributes and backgrounds of professional pilot education faculty

David Carl Ison, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The purpose of this study was to identify the pathways professional pilot program faculty take to reach their positions as faculty in aviation programs. Data were collected through a survey that was distributed via the internet using Survey Monkey. Pathways were defined by investigations into the occupational and educational histories of the faculty. Also, demographic attributes of the faculty were collected to create a comprehensive picture of the faculty. Statistical analysis of the survey data was conducted using SPSS Graduate Pack software. The researcher also sought to establish the motivations and influences that guided professional pilot program faculty along their pathways to the professoriate. Data about these internal and external stimuli were collected through semi-structured interviews. Interview transcripts were coded and analyzed through the use of Nvivo qualitative research software to identify these themes.^ The findings of the study indicated that professional pilot faculty take a range of occupational and educational pathways to reach their positions in aviation higher education. Two primary pathways were identified: the military and the non-military (civilian). Each of these subgroups had unique attributes and distinctive career paths. Although faculty take two primary, separate paths to the professoriate, all faculty reach their current position with similar levels of academic and flight credentials as well as length of industry experience. Aviation faculty of all types were found to be highly qualified and had extensive aviation experience.^

Subject Area

Education, Higher|Education, Vocational

Recommended Citation

Ison, David Carl, "Pathways to the aviation professoriate: An investigation into the attributes and backgrounds of professional pilot education faculty" (2009). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3350009.