UNT's aviation logistics program -- the first four-year program of its kind in Texas -- is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this academic year. The historical milestone is particularly meaningful as many of the program's graduates have been responsible for delivering essential supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program began after a conversation at the North Texas Council of Governments highlighted the need for four-year aviation programs. With the help of Tarrant County College, the U.S. Aviation Academy and Denton Enterprise Airport, the aviation logistics program was born and implemented in Fall 2010 at UNT's main campus.

"We decided to focus our educational programs on the non-flying aspects of the aviation industry but still show students how they could go on to obtain a pilot's license," says Terrance Pohlen, director of the Jim McNatt Institute for Logistics Research.

UNT developed the aviation logistics degree program, as well as the Bachelor of Arts and Applied Sciences program with a concentration in aviation logistics, and collaborated with TCC to provide flight training programs. A four-year degree is preferred for aspiring pilots to become a commercial pilot.

"We made a very compelling argument that our program was about the business of aviation," Pohlen says. "Pilots often move into non-flying positions later in their career, and this program enables them to successfully make this transition."

Aviation logistics students benefit from UNT collaborations with Southwest Airlines, Hillwood Properties -- which operates the Fort Worth Alliance Airport -- and Lockheed-Martin Aeronautics, all of which have provided students with internship opportunities.

History of firsts

Throughout its 130-year history, UNT has been the first to address industry needs in launching other academic programs, including:

  • The first jazz studies program in the U.S.
  • The first undergraduate emergency administration and planning program in the U.S.
  • The first bachelor's degree in digital retailing and in consumer experience management in the U.S. and the first Master of Science program in merchandising offered completely online
  • The first undergraduate program in applied behavior analysis in the U.S. and the first accredited master's program in behavior analysis in the world
  • The first graduate applied anthropology program in the U.S. offered completely online
  • The first school library certification program in the U.S. offered completely online
  • The first and only Ph.D. program in art education in Texas
  • The world's first graduate program in environmental philosophy and the world's first field station in environmental philosophy, science and policy at Cape Horn, Chile
  • The first master's program in international sustainable tourism in the U.S. and the first to require a year abroad
  • The first and only standalone M.S. program in artificial intelligence in Texas

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