Dixon: Aviation science enrollment growing faster than ECSU's


Karrie Dixon, chancellor at Elizabeth City State University, discusses the university's goals for 2019 in the Chancellor's office on campus, Friday.


By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Friday, April 19, 2019

Elizabeth City State University's aviation science program is beginning to live up to its billing as the university's signature program with its enrollment now growing at twice the pace of the campus’s overall enrollment growth.

ECSU Chancellor Karrie Dixon told the Committee of 100 at its lunchtime meeting Wednesday that aviation enrollment grew 38.4 percent this academic year, compared with 19 percent growth overall.

In addition, ECSU is getting calls from sheriffs across the state wanting to set up drone operation training for officers.

“This is huge,” Dixon said.

The university is working with the city of Elizabeth City on a plan to provide training in drone operation to city officials as part of an agreement to develop an enclosed drone training facility. ECSU also has entered into an agreement with the Sinclair College National UAS Training and Certification Center, located in Dayton, Ohio, to offer training in unmanned aerial systems — or drones — for first responders.

Dixon told Committee of 100 members that everyone in Elizabeth City should be proud of ECSU’s aviation science program, which is the only four-year aviation degree program in the state.

She explained that the aviation program is moving into the university’s new STEM complex — formerly known as the pharmacy complex — because the program deserves a location on campus that will provide high visibility.

“This is our showcase,” Dixon said.

The chancellor also said she was excited to announce that the University of North Carolina Board of Governors will be meeting at ECSU “for the first time ever” Nov. 14-16.

“They have never been here for a meeting,” Dixon said. “They have been on other campuses.”

Noting that UNC System President William Roper said during a visit to the campus on Tuesday that ECSU facilities had been under-funded in the past, Dixon said everyone has to own their share of responsibility for that happening. ECSU has not always been a strong advocate for itself in the past but she will always speak up about what the university needs, she said.

Dixon also spoke about campus beautification efforts. She mentioned that the state Senate has included in its university facilities proposal $32 million for a new library on the ECSU campus.

“This will be the community’s library,” Dixon said.

The chancellor also urged the community to promote the NC Promise tuition discount, which offers $500 a semester tuition for in-state residents at ECSU and two other UNC institutions.

“We don’t know when this is going to end so we need to take advantage of it now,” Dixon said.

The discount is available to students of all ages, she said.

“There is no age restriction,” Dixon said. “This is for everyone.”