ECSU signs agreement with LCC, two other community colleges
Pictured, seated, from left are Dr. Rebecca Roush, vice president of Academic Affairs, Sandhills Community College, Dr. Rusty Hunt, president, Lenoir Community College, Dr. Karrie Dixon, chancellor, Elizabeth City State University, and Nicholas Yale, aviation director at Guilford Community College. Also representing LCC, back row, are Maggie Brown, dean of Industrial Technologies, Jeff Jennings, program chair of Aviation Management and Career Pilot Technology, and Dr. Deborah Grimes, senior vice president of Instruction and Student Services. Submitted photo
ELIZABETH CITY — Lenoir Community College and two other North Carolina community colleges have joined forces with Elizabeth City State University to educate the next generation of aviators.
During an articulation agreement ceremony Friday, ECSU officials signed agreements with officials from Guilford Technical Community College, Lenoir Community College and Sandhills Community College. The agreement with the colleges will bring community college transfer students to ECSU’s signature aviation science program in Elizabeth City.
“This is an important partnership with three very exciting community colleges,” said ECSU Chancellor Dixon. “Aviation Science is our signature program that makes us unique from any other university in North Carolina.”
ECSU is the only four-year university in North Carolina offering a bachelor’s degree in aviation science. The university currently operates a 10-fleet airplane flight program and will launch a bachelor program in unmanned aerial systems, or drones this fall.
The three community colleges currently offer aviation programs and according to school officials, have not been able to transfer students to a public North Carolina university to advance their aviation degree work, until now.
LCC President Dr. Rusty Hunt said his program has been in operation for 49 years, educating students in aviation management and flight instruction.
“But what we have not had in the past is the ability to partner with a North Carolina four-year program,” he said. “We have had to send students elsewhere.”
Nicholas Yale, the aviation director at Guilford Community College, said this agreement is providing a “pathway that wasn’t there before.” He noted that students who wish to move up the aviation career ladder require a bachelor degree and this agreement will give them that opportunity.
“This is an historic event,” Yale said. “It is key to the development of the industry and of the students.”
Currently, the aviation industry is experiencing a shortage of pilots and more pilots are due to retire over the next decade, making aviation one of the fastest growing career fields in the country. Drone technology, according to ECSU Aviation Science Program Director, Dr. Kuldeep Rawat, offers more than 400 areas for career advancement, including agriculture, homeland security, and emergency management.