Industry partnerships. Outreach. Service. These are the key components of MTSU’s community-centered approach to higher education that results not only in greater student success but also an enhanced quality of life for residents across middle Tennessee.

Commercial airlines are increasingly partnering with universities on entry-level career programs in an effort to attract ready-to-work talent into their fold.

As one of the top aviation programs in America, MTSU has collaborated on two such partnerships—first with Delta Air Lines and more recently with Southwest.

MTSU, its top-flight Aerospace Department, and Delta celebrated their fourth year as partners at a 2022 event recognizing alumnus and Army veteran Colton Gray (’18) as the first graduate nationwide of Delta’s Propel pilot program, which has partnerships with 17 aviation schools. MTSU was among the first universities to enter the partnership, encouraging Pro Pilot majors to pursue a path to earn their flight certifications, build experience, and become a Delta pilot in 42 months or less.

Delta’s Kelvin Mason said the airline “intends to hire thousands of aviation professionals in the next several years—in addition to pilots—and we are highly interested in MTSU’s ‘industry-ready’ graduates. MTSU is one of the elite programs in collegiate aviation.”

In April 2023, MTSU’s Department of Aerospace also joined the Southwest Airlines Destination 225° program as one of the newest partners—and one of only 12 nationally. Similar to Delta Propel, Destination 225° builds pathways for aspiring pilots from university aviation programs across the country to first officer roles at Southwest Airlines.

On a compass rose, 225° is the southwest heading. Destination 225° provides several pathways designed to meet future aviators at their current experience level and create opportunities to take them to the right seat in a Southwest cockpit, assisting the captain with flight navigation and operation.

“MTSU students will have the opportunity to pursue a career as a Southwest first officer with guidance, training, and mentorship as they complete their college education,” said Southwest’s Lee Kinnebrew.

Southwest Logo


MTSU created its Data Science Institute to promote funded interdisciplinary research and develop public and private collaborations around the emerging field of “big data.” Early partners include social impact technology company Hytch and the Second Harvest Food Bank. Building on the attributes of the institute, MTSU has developed new degrees in Data Science at the bachelor's and master's levels to go along with a doctoral offering in Computational and Data Science.

Meharry Medical College and MTSU have developed an accelerated pathway for talented students to become physicians and serve rural areas of the state. MTSU has entered into a similar agreement for qualifying students’ direct admission into Union University’s College of Pharmacy.

Jones College of Business students in MTSU’s Professional Selling concentration have access to an innovative sales laboratory to hone their selling skills in efforts to become ready-to-hire graduates. The Mel Adams State Farm Agent Sales Lab allows students to record mock interviews and sales presentations.

MTSU’s new Songwriting Center is a state-of-the-art hub for musical creativity, giving students in the highly regarded Commercial Songwriting program well-equipped spaces for perfecting their skills and compositions.

Walker Library added world language capabilities to its computers, which gives many international students the option to use their native languages. Available languages include Japanese, Chinese, Arabic, and Russian.

Students can give their projects, presentations, and papers a professional look by using Blue Print Solutions, a full-service printing facility located at the Student Union.