KSU Poly Prof Wins Award

A Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus aviation maintenance faculty member is being honored with a top award.

Steven Locklear, teaching assistant professor and option coordinator in aviation maintenance management, has been named the Aviation Technician Education Council Ivan D. Livi Aviation Maintenance Educator of the Year for 2021.

Locklear has been faculty at K-State Polytechnic since 2017. A professional aviation maintenance technician, he has a private pilot license, a master’s degree in aviation safety and is currently pursuing his doctorate.

Locklear is passionate about teaching and loves helping his students develop a passion for the aviation industry.

“The first day when students arrive in class and they’re nervous is great, along with the end of the first semester when they realize they were able to do it,” he said. “I love watching my students succeed.”

Throughout the pandemic, Locklear developed innovative solutions to deliver quality education to his students — solutions that will stay in use long past online-only education.

“The most difficult part of the pandemic for the students was the feeling that they must teach themselves,” Locklear said. “I used every tool at my disposal to communicate with our students and create a connection. The most important thing was to try several methods and if one way failed, try again.”

Locklear was nominated for the award by Terry Hunt, K-State Polytechnic department head of aviation.

“Steven is not only a professional; he cares for students, their success and the future of aviation maintenance,” Hunt said.

The aviation maintenance industry is pivotal to aviation as a whole. Locklear believes it takes a person with a measure of self-confidence to work on a machine that ensures safety during transportation.

“This gives the students a lot of determination when they enter school,” Locklear said. “They’re working on understanding and learning, and I simply build the image of the professional that they will become. Telling one story after another about who they can become is fun.”

According to the Aviation Technician Education Council, nominations for educator of the year come from across the country to recognize instructors who, either through a single event or over the span of a career, have a direct impact on aviation maintenance students. Locklear is the second educator from K-State Polytechnic to receive this prestigious award since 1990.