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Celebrating Twenty Years of Progress and Innovation
in Advanced Technological Education

ATE@20

ATE at 20

Previewing the 2017 NISOD International Conference on Teaching and Leadership Excellence

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For nearly 40 years, the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) has served the higher education community by providing community and technical college faculty, staff, and administrators with programs and resources that facilitate teaching and learning excellence. In preparation of the 2017 NISOD’s annual conference, we asked NISOD Executive Director Edward J. Leach to share some fun facts, details, and information about this “must-attend” event for community and technical college educators.

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MATEC Carves Out Niche as Webinar Host

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Tim Suchomski provides webinar support in MATEC's control room at the Maricopa Community College District in Phoenix, Arizona.

In a classic entrepreneurial move, MATEC NetWorks responded to declining attendance at its in-person professional development programs by trying webinars. These experiments with the emerging Internet-based seminars instructed faculty inwellother new technologies.

That was 2010. Early webinar systems were awkward to operate and the software licenses were expensive. But as MATEC's team worked out the kinks in its manufacturing education-oriented programs with National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education support, it found audiences for its content and clients for its webinar services.

MATEC, officially the MATEC NetWorks National Resource Center, now serves as producer and host of about 50 webinars annually for various ATE centers and projects, the American Association of Community Colleges, Arizona State University, and the 10 colleges of the Maricopa Community College District. (See list of collaborators and links to their webinars at the end of the article.)

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Working with Stakeholders: Sustaining Effective Collaboration

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Members of the ATE community devote an incredible amount of time and effort to identifying potential partners, developing contacts and relationships, and cultivating these partnerships to sustain them over the long term. Feedback from key stakeholders, collaborators, industry partners, and colleagues from across the ATE community can provide you with many benefits and perspectives. So whether you are looking for help as you revamp curriculum, cultivating partners to write a new proposal, or considering how to tie your ATE project or center goals more closely to your institution’s mission, it pays to think about how best to engage collaborators in your ATE related work. 

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Mentor-Connect Builds STEM Faculty Leaders While Demystifying NSF Application Process

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Barry Bates, program coordinator of bioscience technology at Atlanta Technical College, used the tour of the New Orleans BioInnovation Center during the Mentor-Connect Workshop to gather information for the proof-of-concept bioincubator he is developing.

Nailing her two-minute, "elevator" speech at the Mentor-Connect 2017 Technical Assistance and Grant Writing Workshop boosted Lauren Dickens' confidence.

"Putting us in a position that is simulating that kind of speech or talk in front of a board, chamber of commerce, whatever, I think it is really valuable [for] developing community leadership, industry leadership, as well as at our school," said Dickens, an assistant professor of economics at St. Charles Community College.

Dickens, who is also interim dean of business, science, education, math, and computer science, anticipates she may soon make her first presentation to the college's board about what she and two colleagues learned during the Mentor-Connect workshop in New Orleans from February 1 to 3.

With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for five years Mentor-Connect has provided mentors and technical assistance to help 20 two-year college teams annually prepare competitive grant proposals. Mentor-Connect's systematic grant development process also aims to cultivate STEM educators' leadership skills.

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The ATE Blogosphere—Projects and Centers in the News

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When it comes to sharing information about the ATE community and its dedication to improving the education of America’s technical workforce, blogs offer a great platform to engage and inform others. Over the past few weeks, a number of blog posts covering inspirational stories, detailed research, and personal experiences have appeared. Below are a few that we hope will inspire further reading, and maybe a little bit of writing of your own:

Preparing Students for Information Technology Careers: The Role of Career Technical Education

Jill Denner, project PI of Beyond Marketing to Stealth Recruitment: Creating ICT Pathways from High School to College and Work for Underrepresented Groups, was recently featured on the ETR etc. blog. In this post, Denner discusses the project’s research findings along with strategies to boost career technical education (CTE) pathways in IT fields. There is also a link to three Tip Sheets designed to help initiate educator, administrator, and industry partnerships.

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Project Tests Ways to Boost Technical Students' Spatial Skills

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McHenry County College students Joseph Ignoffo and Alex Garcia work with snap cubes during a spatial visualization skills workshop.

Researchers who have demonstrated that it is possible to improve students' spatial visualization skills, which are key for success in some STEM courses and careers, are testing their curriculum with community college students.

The first 95 students who completed the non-credit spatial skills course at Del Mar College, McHenry County College, and Tidewater Community College earned on average, one full letter grade higher (a grade of B) in the introductory STEM course they took than students who qualified for the spatial skills booster, but opted not to take it (and averaged a grade of C).

PDFs of the lesson plans and other content are available at  http://www.higheredservices.org/spatial-course-mini-lectures/

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Del Mar College Student Wins AAAS Poster Competition, Presents Research in Qatar

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John F. Ramirez, a Del Mar College student, was among 150 undergraduates from around the world and 62 Qatar University students who participated in the First World Congress on Undergraduate Research in Qatar in November 2016.

When John F. Ramirez enrolled in Del Mar College the week before classes started in August 2014, the only open Biology I course was highlighted as the "phages" section.

Ramirez had no idea what phages were. But he figured if the labs were too complicated for him, the instructor would let him know it. Instead of washing out, Ramirez excelled with the encouragement of Professor J. Robert Hatherill. Students in the "phages" section learn basic biology concepts by conducting research on bacteriophages, which are viruses that live on bacteria.

During 2016 Ramirez's independent research on "interesting tidbits" about bacteriophages earned him a first place in the cellular and molecular biology category of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) student poster competition. In a separate competition, Ramirez was selected to attend The First World Congress on Undergraduate Research in Qatar in November.

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What’s Going on in Nanorobotics?

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Over the past few months, there have been a number of developments in the already fascinating world of robotics.

On October 6th, three European scientists were awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry for their work developing nanoscale machines – the world’s smallest robots. These molecule-sized robots are manipulated through the conversion of chemical energy into mechanical energy. Many believe that nano-machines may have important implications in a variety of fields, including medicine.

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New from Pew: The State of American Jobs

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This ninety-five-page report – The State of American Jobs – from the Pew Research Center touches on a lot of valuable data for the ATE community related to the changing economic landscape, workers’ ideas about their own commitment to retraining and honing their skillset(s), and how workers view the role of higher education as part of this process.

The report begins by examining Changes in the American workplace, helping to pick apart the socio-economic factors at the core of this evolution. A significant focus of this section is the shift in job opportunities away from those that need manual or physical skillsets and towards those that require high levels of social or analytical skills.  Not surprisingly, employment opportunities are much higher for those with more experience and job preparation (whether from education, training, or gleaned through what my grandmother Hazel always referred to as the school of hard knocks – i.e. life experience.)

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A Note on Archiving with ATE Central

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As the official archive for the ATE community, we work closely with projects and centers to collect and store the curriculum, professional development materials, videos, and other digital content created with ATE funding. It’s important to us that the process of archiving these valuable deliverables is as seamless as possible for grantees. To that end, we’ve recently introduced a few new archiving resources to help as you think through the archiving process.

For instance, last month we launched a new archive submission form to simplify the archiving process. The form is a quick and easy way to upload the materials you’ve created directly to the ATE Central site. Each request is reviewed, processed, and published by ATE Central staff, and best of all, you can keep track of your past and current archiving requests, all via your ATE Central user account.

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