Dr. Ron Ferrara, a 26-year member of the MTSU aerospace faculty, has been appointed interim department chair.
Dr. Tom Cheatham, dean for the College of Basic and Applied Sciences, made the announcement June 20.
Cheatham had asked Ferrara to serve as interim chair for the 2012-13 academic year while a national search is conducted for a permanent chair. The Tennessee Board of Regents recently notified University officials that Ferrara’s appointment had been approved.
“Dr. Ferrara has served as chair previously and has the respect of his colleagues,” Cheatham said. “He will do a great job as chair in aerospace in the coming year.”
Ferrara replaces Dr. Wayne Dornan, who stepped down earlier this year, has served as aerospace chair since joining MTSU in 2003.
“Dr. Dornan will continue to serve the department as a faculty member and director of special projects,” Cheatham said.
Ferrara, whose aviation background and MTSU career began in maintenance in the Flight Operations Center at Murfreesboro Airport, previously served as department chair from 1993 to 2000. He has served as aerospace graduate coordinator since 2000.
As interim chair, Ferrara said he will oversee curriculum, personnel, faculty workloads, airport operations, maintenance of aircraft and more.
“We have four separate budgets, we have contracts with Murfreesboro Airport and the city, property leases and we work closely with the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and the TSA (Transportation Security Administration),” he said.
Ferrara added that he has immediate objectives he hopes to accomplish.
“My primary goal is to re-engage faculty in the day-to-day operation of the department,” he said. “… I want to get everybody back together as one team and work for what’s best for the department and not one concentration” and for faculty to “get back to the basics—teaching and interacting with students.”
“Our department always has been a strong department,” he continued. “It has a very good reputation in the industry and with the FAA and other universities. I want to see that remain high.”
Ferrara said he had intended to retire Aug. 1, 2013, but he said his plans might change.
“If some projects I’ve been working on for years come to fruition, I might stay a little longer,” he said. “If not, my plan is to retire.”
He performs research in aviation history and is working on a special project for the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum.
Ferrara earned his bachelor’s at the University of Connecticut in 1968. He also obtained an associate’s degree from Western Kentucky University in ’79, a master’s in ’82 and doctorate in ’93 from the University of Kentucky and a second master’s degree from MTSU in 2007.
— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)