When Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s Office of Educational Outreach charted one of its new programs this fall, expectations were high. Still, while the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Remote Pilot Certification course was enthusiastically received, the office did not forsee an international award to land in its lap.
SIUE received the 2018 The Learning Resources Network (LERN) International Award for Excellence in Programming for its FAA Remote Pilot Certification course, taught by Adriana E. Martinez, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Geography. The LERN presented the award to Leslie Brock, assistant director of non-credit programs for the Office of Educational Outreach, during its annual conference held Nov. 8 in Savannah, Ga.
SIUE was one of only four organizations to win for best programming, and LERN gave out 20 awards at the conference.
“The best programming awards were given to programs that are creative, innovative or exemplary,” said Brock. “This is the first year that we’ve submitted anything for an award. Mary Ettling (interim director of Educational Outreach) suggested that we submit our application, and we were all extremely excited to learn that we won.”
“Some advantages of the program are that it brings the campus together with the community, and allows the Educational Outreach office to highlight the amazing faculty, facilities and research occurring at SIUE,” continued Brock. “This course provides a service that has been lacking, allowing the faculty to conduct their research to the fullest advantage.”
“Mary Ettling approached Susan Hume, chair of the Department of Geography, about offering a course like this, and Susan knew I was certified,” said Martinez, who has had a commercial license since August 2017.
The course prepares students for the FAA Remote Pilot Certificate exam. Those who are paid to conduct commercial flights must pass the exam in order to be certified to fly. The course covers exam materials, including airspace classifications, general rules and procedures, reading aviation maps and other aeronautical knowledge, according to Martinez.
Martinez and Brock designed and coordinated the certification program, which had 22 students this fall.
“We had 18 faculty members take the course, and the rest were from the community,” said Brock. “Dr. Jerry Weinberg paid for 10 faculty members, on a first-come, first-served basis to take the course and the certification exam.”
“Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV’s) are becoming an amazing technological tool for an astonishing variety of applications, including news reporting, search and rescue, crop management, bridge and building inspections, forest and wildlife management, film making and many more,” said Jerry Weinberg, PhD, associate provost for research and dean of the SIUE Graduate School. “Having courses on UAV certification and operation is an important step toward making these tools available for faculty to incorporate in their courses and research. It is also vital that we provide the opportunities to our students to gain advanced skills in their field of study, and vital that our faculty have access to cutting edge technology to apply to their scholarship.”
Southwestern Illinois College in Granite City offers the FAA Remote Pilot Certificate exam, and SIUE partners with SWIC in order for students to take the test, said Brock.
“The LERN award puts SIUE on the map for programming and certification,” noted Brock. “This award shows the breadth of what we offer and demonstrates that we do it well.”
Photos: Leslie Brock, assistant director of non-credit programs for the Office of Educational Outreach, accepted the 2018 LERN International Award for Excellence in Programming for the office’s FAA Remote Pilot Certification course. Brock is shown with William Draves, LERN president.
Adriana E. Martinez, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Geography, is the instructor for the FAA Remote Pilot Certification course. Martinez talks to students in the fall course (L-R) Mingshao Zhang, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering; and Donald Anderson, engineering draftsman II; and John Renken, architect II, both in Facilities Management.