Another first in flight for Odegard School


Paul Lindseth has had a lot to celebrate during his first year at the helm of UND’s John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences (JDOSAS).

As dean, he’s seen the dedication of the state-of-the-art Robin Hall, a record number of student flight hours logged, and this week – another first.

On July 21, the Aviation Accreditation Board International (AABI) voted to grant accreditation to UND’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) degree, making it the first UAS degree program accredited by AABI under newly established UAS criteria. Accreditations for the JDOSAS’s Commercial Aviation and Air Traffic Management degrees were also reaffirmed, as they have been since AABI was established in 1992.

“It’s the tradition of the Odegard School to push the envelope in making sure we are keeping up with societal needs as far as what’s going on in the UAS industry,” Lindseth said. “It speaks to our history – a tradition of excellence, the entrepreneurial spirit and leading the collegiate environment in degree programs. It’s pretty exciting.”

“We have had many firsts in our department,” said Aviation Department Chair Jim Higgins. “We were the first in the country to start an undergraduate UAS program. Now we are the first UAS program to become accredited under the new criteria. We see tremendous growth ahead in the department, and with that growth will come continued opportunities for our students.”

Writing the rules

As one of the country’s leaders in UAS education, UND was an essential player in helping AABI craft the blueprint for the curriculum, safety, and experiential learning standards of this quickly-evolving field. Mark Dusenbury, assistant chair of assessment for UND Aviation, co-chaired the committee that formulated AABI’s new UAS accreditation criteria.

“We went through getting feedback from industry and other institutions,” Dusenbury said. “We looked at, historically, what criteria had been out there and what had been done in other realms – not UAS – and tried to figure out how we would create criteria to measure a program.”

UND Assistant Chair of UAS Paul Snyder says the accreditation process is a chance to look at the program and make sure it is aligned with the current needs of the industry. He said a portion of the AABI’s […]

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