The recent creation and christening of the new College of Aviation and Public Services was muddled in controversy and political rhetoric as a recent regime change ended in the resignation of all but one Aviation Science Endowment Committee member.
The last meeting of the committee with the college’s new dean, Dr. Wayne Dornan, was held Sept. 4. By Thursday, the letters of resignation had been sent, leaving Aaron Moss as the last man standing.
“I didn’t resign because I agreed with the dean,” Moss said. “I’m excited for the future of the college and the direction the dean wants to take it.”
Moss maintains an enthusiasm that he couldn’t convince his former committee members to share, which has left him with the responsibilities of the entire committee. But he’s determined to make do his part and support the new dean.
Prior the resignations, the committee, established three years ago and comprised of volunteer members, was in charge of the fundraising and improvements to the aviation program at UVU. Notable accomplishments included the implementation of a course on financial literacy for pilots and the organization of an annual trip to FedEx headquarters where students could see the day-to-day workings of pilots and clock time in a flight simulator.
Dornan, who holds a B.A., M.S. and Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology, worked for years as a pilot in shoddy cargo planes as a “freight dog,” a title that he said still feels right for him.
After teaching at Middle Tennessee State University, he said, “I came here and I was swept off my feet.”
Dornan was impressed by the mission of the university and the direction of the new college, which he says is driven by what he calls “bubbling synergy.”
“I think in five years from now we’re going to be a college that’s going to have a reputation—not only within our state, but across the country—as having state-of-the-art training and education for aviation as well as public services,” Dornan said.
Dornan has brought his ideas and expertise to the table, which was the cause of the problems with the committee whose members felt that with the new direction of the university they would be underused.
“I have nothing but the best hopes and aspirations for the program and the new college,” said Mike Roan, former acting chair of the committee. “They’re going a different direction than I thought we were going or that I wanted to go with the time and energy that I donated, so it’s probably best that they go their way and I go my way.”
Dornan said he knows that the success of this program can’t sit on the shoulders of one man, so he’s started preparing a new college advisement board populated by both regional and national professionals. His goal is to make the new college something everyone can be proud of.
“We will have our students be stewards for the community,” Dornan said.
Some of the changes include recycling UVU students back into the program by offering them jobs as certified flight instructors. After graduation, students will be able to clock professional flight time as CFIs while teaching new UVU aviation students.
“We’re moving in the direction of excellence,” Dornan said. “There isn’t one single person in this college that doesn’t want it to be the best it can be.”