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Letter: Sounds like aerospace faculty are doing well

To the editor, I'm fortunate to have been a professor at UND for 38 years. I am disappointed about the controversy emanating from disagreements between the UND aerospace school and UND officials. I am especially perturbed by the comments of forme...

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To the editor,

I'm fortunate to have been a professor at UND for 38 years. I am disappointed about the controversy emanating from disagreements between the UND aerospace school and UND officials. I am especially perturbed by the comments of former UND interim President and Gov. Ed Schafer quoted in the Herald .

Schafer is quoted as saying "the UND aerospace school needs to align with the goals of the university after faculty called for the dismissal of Provost Thomas DiLorenzo." Why does Schafer not ask how the disagreements got so far and how the faculty felt so dismissed and disrespected that they had to take such drastic action? The people in the school are professionals in their field and need to be treated with respect.

The aviation school is recognized as the best in the nation, if not the world. Their students are placed in jobs all over the airline industry. Students get preferential hiring treatment because of the exemplary training they receive. Sounds to me like the aerospace faculty are doing pretty well. In fact, the educational excellence of UND aerospace is especially noteworthy because of their focus on a broad liberal arts education for their students, not just pilot training.

The aviation school has been a major driver of growth of the UAS industry in the region because of the talents of their faculty who have secured grants and contracts with major industry partners. General Atomics and Northrup Grumman didn't move to Grand Forks because of UND's strategic plan. I suspect they moved here because of the outstanding professionals working at UND Aerospace driving new projects and innovations.

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Especially disturbing is when Schafer asserts, "Why do you resist everything and have to be this separate, standalone, 'We do it our own way' thing?"

This claim is ridiculous. My colleagues in aerospace are not standalone or standoffish. They participate in all aspects of our university community and contribute to every fabric of our university community. They reach out and find collaborators that bring value to their research and help produce a better research product.

It's sad on their 50th anniversary of excellence that they have to deal with the aspersions raised by Schafer. I am proud to call the professionals at UND Aerospace my colleagues and my friends.

Thomas V. Petros, Ph.D.

Chester Fritz distinguished professor of psychology

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