Summer 2003


The Buzz Over AQR

Every year for more than a decade now, Dean Headley, WSU associate professor of marketing, captures national attention when his and co-researcher Brent Bowen’s annual report on Airline Quality Rating is released.

Developed in 1991 as a tool to measure the performance of major airlines, the AQR has evolved into not only a respected piece of business research, but a magnet for media as well. “Whether it be from a newspaper reporter needing a quote for his story on the quality of some airline or a TV reporter wanting a sound byte about the recent downturn in people flying, I’m always hearing from the media,” Headley says.

Every spring since 1991, he’s traveled to Washington, D.C.., to announce the results of the study at a national press conference.

Headley and Bowen, who is director and professor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha Aviation Institute’s School of Public Administration, use 15 elements important to consumers when judging the quality of airline service. Two examples of the service and performance elements measured in the AQR are on-time arrivals and mishandled baggage. “The information used in the ratings is taken from the U.S. Department of Transportation, information that can be accessed by anyone,” Headley explains.

In ’91 when airline representatives first learned about the AQR, Headley was contacted by the public relations executive or, in a few cases, the vice president of every airline. “They all had been taken by surprise,” he says. “They told me, ‘You can’t do this,’ or asked, ‘How did you get your information?’ I told them, ‘I used the information you reported, and I will continue to do this as a service to the public.’”

Rankings for 2002, which Headley and Bowen released this spring, featured US Airways in the top spot, followed by Alaska Airlines, Southwest, America West, Continental, American, Delta, United and Northwest, with American Eagle bringing up the rear.

“I have a lot of satisfaction in compiling the AQR,” Headley says, “not only because it gives a service to travelers, but it also brings a lot of national attention to our university. I never would have imagined 12 years ago that a small report on the quality of the airlines would have evolved into what it is today. It’s amazing and exciting.”

— Tiffany Bowman

Education Center Dedicated

International education has a more significant presence in Wichita with the opening of the James Sutherland Garvey International Center at Wichita State. The building was formally dedicated on June 20. Last year, the Garvey family donated $500,000 for an endowed fund and renovations for the new facility.

What was once a fraternity house on the corner of 17th and Hillside has become the hub of WSU’s international education programs, including those for international students, domestic students and faculty and staff. The former Alpha Tau Omega frat house, vacant since 1996, was donated to WSU by Fran Jabara in fall 1998. Jabara is a former WSU business school dean and Garvey family friend.

Offices that were located in various building across campus have been consolidated in the remodeled building. The center also offers a new lounge where students have access to television broadcasts from their home countries.

Approximately 1,500 students from more than 100 countries attend WSU, about 10 percent of total enrollment.

Garvey graduated from the University of Wichita in 1947. His career included overseeing Garvey Farms Management and the Service Oil Co. in Colby, Kan., and presiding over Garvey Elevators in Fort Worth, Texas. He died in 2001. His widow Shirley Garvey and sibling Ruth Fink, the late Willard Garvey and the late Olivia Lincoln contributed equally to the memorial.

About $200,000 provided interior remodeling and furnishings. State renovation funding helped pay for rehabilitating the building’s exterior. Around $300,000 of the gift has established a permanent endowment.

“The endowment will provide scholarships for international students and domestic students, and funds for international alumni and program development,” says Michael Philson, executive director for the Office of International Education. “We are already developing regular exchange programs with universities in other countries. This will provide more domestic students the opportunity to study overseas to broaden their experiences. We have also begun to strengthen our alumni networks overseas and are eager to increase our involvement with the local community.”

— Beth Chiles Hershberger and Joe Kleinsasser

Kudos to Konek

Carol Wolfe Konek ’68, WSU professor of women’s studies and religion, has been honored with the A. Price Woodard Jr. Award. The award was presented to her during the 53rd Annual Humanitarian Awards Dinner for the National Conference for Community and Justice.

The A. Price Woodard Jr. Award recognizes those whose contributions through education, civic service and actions advance understanding and respect among people of all races.

Konek, along with two colleagues, founded the Center for Women’s Studies at Wichita State. She also helped form Words by Women, which is the longest running literary series in Wichita.

Konek has been a faculty member at Wichita State since 1969.

— Jeremy Jaso