Science & Technology

UWF team develops curriculum plan for National Flight Academy

The Naval Aviation Museum Foundation recently contracted the University of West Florida to lead curriculum development for the National Flight Academy, a new facility being constructed at the National Museum of Naval Aviation and scheduled to open in early 2012.

The Academy will serve as a unique setting for middle and high school students to live and work aboard the replica ship “Ambition” for five-and-a-half days of an aviation-inspired learning adventure. Students will live in quarters that resemble those aboard an aircraft carrier, eat on the mess deck and work on missions that align with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) related disciplines.

“We are on the cutting edge of curriculum design in an immersive environment,” said UWF Team Leader Pamela Northrup, interim dean for the College of Professional Studies. “Students will be engaged the moment they walk onto the ship. They will be presented with challenges throughout the week from search and rescue missions to hurricane hunting. Through gaming and role play, participants will work together to plan, fly and debrief each mission, learning many valuable teamwork skills as well as academics while having the time of their lives!”

The curriculum also will be aligned to both national and state standards for math and science as well as 21st century skills.

The UWF curriculum development team includes an interdisciplinary team of teacher educators, instructional designers, technology innovators, game designers, script writers and retired military pilots. Together, they are working closely with the Academy and TEQ Games/Imagine Creative to develop an engaging curricular plan centered around a series of 12 real-world scenarios for the weeklong experience at the National Flight Academy.

“The challenge has been designing and dreaming ahead of the actual physical space that will be available,” said Northrup. “Since the environment and the physical space play such a critical role, it has presented challenges, but it has also allowed us to dream.”

Kevin King, vice president of the National Flight Academy, said he is thrilled to have UWF on board. “Each person on the UWF curriculum development team offers a unique perspective and expertise to the project,” he said. “The final curriculum plan is due May 2011 and I am confident that it will be outstanding.”

To learn more about the National Flight Academy, visit To learn more about the UWF Curriculum Design Plan, visit

By Lauren Smith, University Marketing Communications