WMU News

Aviation launches exchange with Australian university

May 9, 2002

KALAMAZOO -- U.S. aviation students attending Western Michigan University will have a chance to expand their horizons, thanks to a new international exchange program between WMU and Swinburne University of Technology in Australia, that nation's premier pilot training college.

WMU has selected two students, Robby T. Davis of Kalkaska, Mich., and Daniel J. Centilli of Grand Rapids, Mich., to attend classes at Swinburne this fall. Both are aviation flight science majors and Centilli also is a member of the Lee Honors College. Davis will spend the fall 2002 semester in Australia. Centilli will spend both fall and winter semesters there.

In turn, three Swinburne students will travel to WMU this fall for a semester of study in the College of Aviation. The arrangement is the first WMU study abroad program designed for aviation students.

According to William Rantz, WMU assistant professor of aviation, both sets of students will take general education courses as well as such aviation classes as flight physiology and aviation safety. Because of differing flight training requirements in the two countries, the students will delay actual flight instruction until they are back at their home universities. For that reason, the program is expected to attract students who are in their first two years of university study.

"This opportunity has provoked definite enthusiasm from students on both sides of the exchange," says Rantz. "We expect more students to become involved as they learn of the program. We'll be working to let incoming students know of the opportunity so they can begin planning to take advantage of the program."

The new arrangement developed after a Swinburne instructor came to WMU to teach in the international pilot training curriculum, and Rantz traveled to Australia to present a paper. Officials at both universities began discussing the possibility of doing a faculty exchange and ultimately settled on the student exchange to begin the relationship. To coordinate the arrangement on the U.S. side, Rantz worked with WMU's Office of International Affairs and Dr. James Butterfield, associate director of the Diether H. Haenicke Institute for International and Area Studies.

Swinburne is an internationally recognized university, which offers several degree programs in aviation as well as other subject areas. Its aviation classes are taught at the Hawthorn campus, which is located just 12 minutes from the center of Melbourne, Australia's second largest city.

For more information about Swinburne University of Technology, visit <www.swin.edu.au>.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 269 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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