Dr. Suzanne Kearns

Associate Professor of Aviation, University of Waterloo

Dr. Suzanne Kearns is an Associate Professor of Aviation at the University of Waterloo. She is an internationally recognized leader in aviation education research, earned airplane and helicopter pilot licenses at the age of 17, advanced aeronautical degrees from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and began working as an aviation professor upon graduation at the age of 24. In the years since, she has taught and mentored thousands of aviation students, written/co-authored six books (including ‘Competency-Based Education in Aviation’, which was the first detailed investigation into this training theory applied to aviation; and, ‘Fundamentals of International Aviation’, which is a textbook with multiple translations used around the world to introduce youth to the field of aviation). She has received several awards for research and educational works, frequently delivers invited keynote addresses at international conferences, and holds leadership positions with several international aviation organizations including supporting the Next Generation of Aviation Professionals program with the International Civil Aviation Organization, as a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, and as Past-President of the University Aviation Association.

Engaging the Next Generation of Aviation Professionals (NGAP)

At the beginning of 2020, personnel shortages were among the most pressing issues facing the aviation industry. Over the past decade, ICAO has shown outstanding leadership in establishing the Next Generation of Aviation Professionals (NGAP) program. Building upon this, researchers and professionals have created a new aviation research category that examines best practices to attract, educate, and retain NGAP. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted every aspect of aviation operations. Although it could be argued that the NGAP issue is no longer a pressing-concern, this presentation will reinforce that the downturn presents an opportunity to innovate practices to support the eventual recovery and a more sustainable future for the air transport sector.