Pact will enhance region’s leadership in global growth industry
University of North Dakota (UND) President Robert Kelley and Lake Region State College (LRSC) President Doug Darling today signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) that joins the two schools’ efforts in Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) education and training.
LRSC is located in Devils Lake, N.D, about 90 miles west of UND’s Grand Forks’ campus. This agreement underscores the broader cooperation across multiple disciplines at both institutions. The signing took place in Twamley Hall, UND’s administration headquarters.
Kelley and Darling signed the MOA to underscore their institutional partnership in the preparation of UAS pilots, sensor operators, and the technicians essential to the continuing operation of the unmanned aircraft and their complex support systems.
“We are thrilled to work with the University of North Dakota’s UAS center on this initiative,” said Darling. “We aim to develop our Law Enforcement Training Program in UAS, part of the Peace Officer Training Program, which has had a huge impact on law enforcement in North Dakota. Since 1987, we have graduated more than 1,200 students from the Peace Officer Training program, and 100 percent of our graduates who actively sought employment as police officers or deputy sheriffs in the state got jobs here.”
Darling also said LRSC, with a federal Department of Labor grant, is expanding its precision ag program to include UAS training.
UND President Kelley called the MOA an “official handshake” between the two institutions, and that it fits nicely with UND’s Exceptional UND initiative in two key areas: enhancing learning and enhancing collaborations.
“This is an exciting time for Lake Region State College and the University of North Dakota,” Kelley said. “What’s exceptional for us is the ability to partner on these new applications for UAS. This is just a tremendous opportunity for both institutions.”
Under the agreement, LRSC will become affiliated with UND’s Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Research, Education and Training (UAS Center), which offers the Bachelor of Science degree in UAS operations, training both pilots and sensor operators.
The collaboration between UND and LRSC in the fast-growing field of unmanned aircraft systems will bring great ongoing benefit to both institutions and to the region. Each institution brings complementary areas of excellence to the partnership. With this agreement, the spirit of collaboration will help both institutions enhance their reputation as a nexus of UAS activity worldwide.
UND last year signed a similar agreement with Northland Community and Technical College (NCTC). Under that agreement, NCTC also became affiliated with UND’s Center for Unmanned Aircraft System Research, Education and Training (UAS Center). NCTC offers a UAS Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic degree program.
Juan Miguel Pedraza, writer/editor
National Media Relations Coordinator
UND Division of University and Public Affairs
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