The University of Toledo and Bowling Green State University will collaborate to help meet the aviation industry’s growing worldwide demand for pilots, airport administrators and other aviation practitioners.
The two universities have signed a letter of agreement to develop the Northwest Ohio Aviation Education Consortium, which will build upon BGSU’s long-standing Aviation Studies Program.According to university leaders, the partnership’s initial efforts will center on recruiting students from China and other parts of Asia. That international focus is the result of the projected growth in aviation as the Chinese government loosens previous restrictions on general aviation.
“The demand for higher education in aviation-related fields in China and Asia is tremendous,” said UT President Lloyd Jacobs. “Working together, BGSU and UT are well-positioned to serve this largely untapped market.”
BGSU President Mary Ellen Mazey echoed the potential of the partnership. “This collaboration will reach far beyond UT and BGSU,” she said. “It will benefit our communities, the region and the state of Ohio.”
The consortium will explore additional educational programs and opportunities in aviation studies utilizing the resources in northwest Ohio after completing the initial phase focusing on international students.
Plans call for international students to begin their studies in Toledo. After completing classes for an associate degree at UT, students will begin flight training and the course work toward a bachelor’s degree at BGSU.
BGSU offers bachelor of science in technology degrees in flight technology and operations and in aviation management and operations. The program is housed at the Wood County Regional Airport adjacent to the Bowling Green campus.
BGSU and UT officials say the consortium is strengthened by existing partnerships the two universities have with other organizations.
UT has signed a letter of intent with a Chinese university — Northwestern Polytechnical University, Shenzen Campus — to develop an aviation program. That university is expected to be one of the primary sources of students for the new consortium.
Chuck Lehnert, UT vice president for corporate relations, singled out the efforts of 5 Lakes Global Group and its president, Simon Guo, for their role in introducing Northwestern Polytechnical to northwest Ohio university officials.
“We have developed strong partnerships with a number of Chinese institutions, and this is an excellent opportunity to bring two great universities in northwest Ohio together to expand on the strength of BG’s aviation program in a way that will benefit both schools as well as the region,” Lehnert said.
In February, BGSU announced that it had contracted with North Star Aviation Inc. to provide flight instruction for the University’s aviation program.
North Star Aviation, a full-service general aviation company based in Mankato, Minn., has established an Ohio company and will operate the training department as Bowling Green Flight Center LLC.
According to Dr. Venu G. Dasigi, interim dean for the College of Technology, Architecture and Applied Engineering, the arrangement will enable BGSU to expand the aviation program without increasing university costs for new equipment or additional personnel.
“Our aviation students will benefit from their ability to provide an up-to-date fleet of planes and state-of-the-art equipment,” Dasigi said. “Our partnerships with UT and Bowling Green Flight Center will help us meet the rapidly growing demand for trained commercial pilots both domestically and internationally.”