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New Psychology & Aviation Degree Programs Approved by Board of Regents

May 14, 2020

The Texas Tech University System Board of Regents approved two new degree programs for Angelo State University at the board’s videoconference meeting today (May 14), including ASU’s second doctoral program.

The approved degree programs are a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) in counseling and a Bachelor of Commercial Aviation (B.C.A.). Both programs will now be submitted to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) and Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) for final review and approval.

The Psy.D. in counseling will be offered through the Department of Psychology and Sociology within ASU’s Archer College of Health and Human Services. Classes for the new counseling program are slated to begin in the fall 2021 semester.

ASU’s proposal to establish the new Psy.D. in counseling is in response to the overwhelming need for more professional psychologists. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the employment of psychologists is projected to grow by 14 percent through 2028, adding thousands of new positions. However, for the seven current psychology counseling doctoral programs in Texas, there were over 800 applicants for only 45 available positions in 2018-19. Graduates of ASU’s new program will be eligible for licensure as a licensed psychologist in Texas and to immediately enter the workforce.

Dr. Don Topliff “Counseling psychology is a real strength here at ASU,” said Dr. Don Topliff, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Adding this practice doctorate will add to that strength and provide highly trained professionals in a critical need area of mental health.”

The B.C.A. degree will be offered through the Department of Management and Marketing within ASU’s Norris-Vincent College of Business, with classes slated to begin in the spring 2021 semester. It will also include two degree tracks, Flight Operations and Aviation Management. Students in the Flight Operations track will attain pilot certifications up to and including:

Students in the Aviation Management track will prepare to become airport managers and fixed-base operations operators, as well as for other positions in aviation administration. Both tracks will consist of 120 credit hours of coursework, while the Flight Operations track will also require 250 clock hours of flight instruction and flying time. Two donations totaling $800,000 will fund the purchase of two flight simulators, while all flight instruction will be conducted through a FAA-approved, certified flight school that will provide all equipment, instructors and maintenance.

ASU’s proposal to establish the new B.C.A. is in response to the projected need of nearly 800,000 new pilots over the next 20 years. Several federal studies indicate the Air Force, Marines and Navy are all suffering from a drastic shortage of pilots. Adding to those issues is the impending retirement of up to 60,000 civilian pilots over the next five years. According to a report from the economic modeling company, Emsi, there will be a need for 87 pilots trained every day for the next 20 years to meet the projected need.

“Even though the aviation industry is in a sort of pause right now,” Topliff said, “with the number of pilots that will be required to retire over the next few years, and more products moving by air, this looks to us like an opportunity for ASU to grow in an area underserved in Texas. The program will train pilots and, as importantly, train logistics and aviation managers that will be in demand.”

The two new degree programs would bring ASU’s total degree offerings to 45 bachelor’s degrees, 30 master’s degrees and two doctoral degrees.