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Waterloo welcomes Dr. Suzanne Kearns

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Photo of Suzanne Kearns

Environment welcomes new aviation professor Suzanne Kearns

The Faculty of Environment is pleased to announce Dr. Suzanne Kearns, a Canadian pilot and renowned aviation academic and author, has accepted the position of Associate Professor. Based in the Department of Geography and Environmental Management, she will teach aviation courses for both the Geography & Aviation and Science & Aviation programs, including AVIA 100: Introduction to Aviation and AVIA 310: Human Factors in Aviation.

A commercially-licensed airplane and helicopter pilot, Dr. Kearns holds a Helicopter Flight Training diploma, a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Science, a Master of Science degree in Human Factors and Systems Engineering, and a Ph.D. in Education.

Dr. Kearns became fascinated with flight as a young child and began formal flight training at the age of 15. She soloed on her 16th birthday, and had her Private Pilot fixed- and rotary-wing certificates signed off on her 17th birthday.

“Growing up, I had a laser-focus on becoming a pilot. I was involved with the Royal Canadian Air Cadets through my teenage years and spent most of my free time studying airplanes and then helicopters. The summer of my 16th year I lived out of a hangar at Buttonville airport, learning to fly helicopters, and also taking the occasional driving lesson (as I didn’t yet have my driver’s license)."

As she continued her training and studies, her interests evolved and she now applies her experience toward academic study of aviation safety, education, and human factors.

Prior to coming to Waterloo, Dr. Kearns was an Associate Professor at the University of Western Ontario. Her research explores aviation human factors, training methodologies, and teaching technology. She is the author Canadian Aviation (2009), e-Learning in Aviation (2010) and the recently published Competency-Based Education in Aviation (2016).

Dr. Kearns is excited to begin her new position with the University of Waterloo this upcoming spring term.  

“The University of Waterloo is an innovative university that values the combination of academic and applied studies to industry. Partnered with one of the best flight schools in Canada, the Waterloo Wellington Flight Centre, there is great potential for growth and new opportunities within the aviation program. I am excited to join the University of Waterloo’s aviation family.”

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