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MTSU aerospace education celebrates 60th year of g...

MTSU aerospace education celebrates 60th year of graduate courses sending teachers sky-high

K-12 teachers wanting a different summer educational opportunity — one that includes learning how to fly an airplane and various aspects of aviation — can apply to attend MTSU’s basic and advanced graduate courses in aerospace education in June.

Organizers are celebrating the 60th anniversary of the basic course, said Phyl Taylor, assistant director. Both courses are being offered this year from 8 a.m. to noon June 11-22. The final three days, June 25-27, are designated for a field trip.

MTSU’s Department of Aerospace offers the courses, for which applicants can receive three free hours of graduate credit — a value of more than $2,500 — so they can take what they’ve learned about aviation, aeronautics history, and science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, back to their classrooms this fall and in the future.

A Midstate K-12 teacher prepares to send her rubber band-propelled airplane into the air during a prior aerospace education graduate course held on campus and at the MTSU Flight Operations Center at Murfreesboro Airport. (MTSU file photo by Randy Weiler)

A Midstate K-12 teacher prepares to send her rubber band-propelled airplane into the air during a prior aerospace education graduate course held on campus and at the MTSU Flight Operations Center at Murfreesboro Airport. (MTSU file photo by Randy Weiler)

“We continue the tradition of providing aerospace education to Tennessee educators and, ultimately, to the students in the state’s K-12 classrooms,” Taylor said.

Including the three hours of graduate credit, benefits include:

• Introductory free flight lessons in the fleet of MTSU Diamond DA40 aircraft.
• A field trip to Pensacola Naval Air Museum in Florida.
• A tour of MTSU’s air traffic control simulation lab.
• Credit toward teacher licensing renewal, master’s and specialist in education degrees and more.
• Many materials, hands-on STEM activities and motivational techniques geared to help students understand the effects of aviation and aerospace on society.
• An array of internationally recognized guest speakers and lecturers in aviation and space.

MTSU aerospace logoThe scheduled guest speakers include retired NASA astronauts Robert “Hoot” Gibson and Rhea Seddon of Murfreesboro; local airport managers Chad Gherke and John Black; Southwest Airline pilot Tom Fielder; and Steve Glover of Cookeville, Tennessee, with the Civil Air Patrol. MTSU’s Wendy Beckman, department chair and air traffic control simulator lab; Joe Hawkins of aviation maintenance; Doug Campbell of unmanned aircraft; and Paul Craig of the NASA Flight Operations Center-Unified Simulation Lab also will speak.

The advanced course, which is led by MTSU pilot Terry Dorris, includes aeronautical charts, cross-country flight planning and aviation weather factors.

Both courses include instruction about basic aerodynamics and aircraft systems, aircraft performance and weight and balance, airport operations, an introduction to unmanned aircraft systems operations and an introduction to careers in the aviation industry.

Karla Wright of Atlanta, Georgia, is once again the elementary and middle school instructor.

Applicants must be Tennessee residents and K-12 teachers from any subject area.

The graduate courses are sponsored by the Tennessee Department of Transportation Division of Aeronautics.

For more information, email Phyl.Taylor@mtsu.edu or call 931-212-4552.

MTSU has more than 240 combined undergraduate and graduate programs. Aerospace is one of 11 College of Basic and Applied Sciences departments.

— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)

Aerospace course hot air balloon

Midstate K-12 teachers attending a previous aerospace education graduate course at MTSU prepare to release their hot air balloon. (MTSU file photo by Randy Weiler)


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