Aviation professor chosen as head of national association

An SIUC aviation professor will be installed next month as the head of the University Aviation Association, a national organization that works with different colleges’ aviation programs and requirements.

Jose Ruiz, a professor of aviation management and flight, will soon take the role held by aviation college chairperson David NewMyer from 2009 to 2010.

NewMyer said Ruiz has an outstanding scholarly background with a book, articles and grants to his credit.

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Ruiz has served on the college’s faculty senate and has been a member of the UAA from the time he started working at the university 17 years ago, NewMyer said.

Ruiz has also attended nearly all of the UAA’s national meetings and has served on various committees within the organization.

NewMyer said Ruiz has the personality needed for the job.

“He is just a very personable, people-oriented person,” NewMyer said. “When you’re leading an organization with hundreds of people, that’s critical to making everything work.”

Carolyn Williamson, executive director of the UAA, said in a statement that the association is proud of Ruiz’s appointment.

“In his 17 years of service to the organization, Dr. Ruiz has gained the respect of his colleagues in aviation education — not only for his scholarship but for his willingness to serve and his ability to lead.”

Ruiz said one of his goals is to build membership within the organization, but that one specific matter will be at the top of his list.

Students who graduate from the college typically have anywhere from 300-400 hours of flight time, Ruiz said, said he and regional carriers usually require 500-700 hours of training to be hired. New regulations may change that number to 1,500, and Ruiz wants to offset the requirements with advanced aviation classes that could provide higher quality education rather than quantity of training.

“We really feel that it’s not so much the flight time that is a reflection of expertise as it is the quality of training and breath,” Ruiz said. “It’s something we’re going to pursue during the course of this year.”

According to the association’s website, the UAA formed 65 years ago, has 105 accredited colleges and more than 525 members. The association is not-for-profit and has an objective to be an open forum for all collegiate aviation education.

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About Karsten Burgstahler

Karsten Burgstahler can be reached at kburgstahler@dailyegyptian.com or 536-3311 ext.255.

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