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2018 ATE Principal Investigators' Conference

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From October 24-26 the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), with support from NSF, will hold the 25th National ATE Principal Investigators’ Conference at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC. The annual conference offers a chance to share, collaborate, learn, and meet with other innovative members of the ATE community, including PIs, select project and center staff, and NSF program officers. ATE Central is particularly excited about this year’s meeting; after all, ATE only turns 25 once!

Along with other projects and centers, ATE Central is gearing up to host and assist with a number of events at this year’s conference. In getting ready to head to DC, many of us will be double checking website material, creating handouts or workshop material, and generally making sure that our project and center information is up to date. A number of ATE Central services and tools may be helpful in your efforts, as you get ready for the 2018 Conference:

  • ATE Impacts 2018-2019: 25 Years of Advancing Technician Education. This year the new ATE Impacts book launch was received by the community with an exorbitant amount of enthusiasm. Whether you received free copies of the book to promote your project or center’s efforts and need more, or you never got around to ordering some but would like to push them out on your campus or to industry partners now, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Visit the order form on the ATE Central site to place your order, or stop by booth #002 to pick up extras at the PI Meeting. 
  • PI Meeting App. Plan which sessions to attend and track your PI meeting experiences with the annual PI meeting app. The 2018 app (available for iOs and Android) and companion website are designed to help attendees make the most of their conference experience. Conference participants can use their phone, tablet, or internet browser to create a personal schedule, stay up-to-date with the agenda and speaker lineup, search the attendee directory, and more. There's even an app video that shows users how to navigate through the options and use its features. 
  • Resource/Project/Center Records. Now is a great time to look at the description of your project or center and its resources on ATE Central. Let ATE Central know if you have new resource URLs, a new project description, other social media outlets, or a website we should know about. We can best support and amplify your efforts when we have up-to-date information about your project or center and its deliverables.
  • Activity Reports. ATE Central sends out quarterly Activity Reports that communicate data about project and center presence and usage of project and center deliverables on the ATE Central site. You are free to use this information however you wish. It is our hope, however, that the activity reports will support and inform your ongoing outreach efforts.
  • Events. Now is a great time to update your upcoming events. In addition to posting these on your website or through various social media outlets, make sure all your events are on the ATE events calendar. If you notice your event does not appear, please submit it here.
  • Archiving. The ATE Central archiving service is available to all ATE projects and centers as part of the support provided to the ATE community in executing data management and digital curation efforts. Having an archiving plan in place means that your hard work will have longevity beyond the course of your project or center’s funding period. We are committed to working with projects and centers to help with plans that work for everyone and encourage you to contact info@atecentral.net to develop an archiving plan tailored to your needs.
  • Outreach Kit. The ATE Central Outreach Kit can help projects and centers come up with an outreach plan or some specific outreach ideas. Leading up to the PI meeting, the communication section of the outreach kit might be particularly helpful: it includes tips on creating a mission statement and designing key messages so you can get the word out about your project or center.

Whether this is your first time attending the PI conference or your tenth, you can look through past conference presentations and even view videos on the AACC website.

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Principal Investigators Encourage Faculty to Utilize ATE Program

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Environmental health and safety technicians practice with simulated hazardous materials during ATEEC environmental education programs.

As the Advanced Technological Education program marks 25 years of existence within the National Science Foundation, three community college educators who were among the first cohort of ATE principal investigators (PIs) were asked to reflect on the program’s evolution and their experiences as STEM leaders.  

The three ATE program veterans—Ellen Kabat Lensch, Elaine L. Craft, and David Harrison—urge all community college STEM educators to utilize the many instructional resources and professional development opportunities created and offered by ATE projects and centers. (Visit ATE Central for program-wide information and links, and to access the database of ATE materials for use in specific fields and technologies.)

The principal investigators also encourage two-year college faculty members to consider how their ideas for improving STEM technician education align with their institutions’ strategic goals, and then explore the ATE program solicitation (http://nsf.gov/ate) to see if their ideas meet the criteria for ATE funding.

There is not much time before this year’s October 15 deadline for proposals. But it is never too early to begin preparing a proposal for next year. ATE proposals are next due October 3, 2019 and October 1, 2020.

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From the Archive: Cybersecurity

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A special thanks to Rachel Flynn for contributing this month’s From the Archive blog post. Rachel is a recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison iSchool.

With the increasing demand for knowledgeable, skilled cybersecurity technicians in the United States workforce, ATE projects and centers are creating materials that discuss and explore the ways in which educational programs can meet this need. What some may not realize, however, is the variety of industries in which a cybersecurity technician’s skills can be put to use. In this month’s From the Archive blog post, we’re highlighting the work of three ATE projects and centers that have supported the education of technicians working in various sectors of the cybersecurity industry. Resources featured include a series of presentations focused on the topic of autonomous vehicles, with an emphasis on the cybersecurity and ethical concerns surrounding this technology; a community college course for students who are preparing to enter the information technology field of healthcare; and a report that details the results of an effort to map cybersecurity curricula to the National Cybersecurity Workforce Framework 1.0 Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSAs). For more information about these specific resources, explore the links provided below.

2016 CAAT Conference: The Road to Autonomous Vehicles

This resource contains five presentations from the 2016 Center for Advanced Automotive Technology (CAAT) Conference—The Road to Autonomous Vehicles. This conference took place on May 6, 2016 at Macomb Community College's South Campus in Warren, MI and was co-sponsored by the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) and the Design and Manufacturing Alliance (DMA).

The conference theme, The Road to Autonomous Vehicles, addressed the many complexities involved in the development of automated and connected vehicles, including the infrastructure needed to support these high-tech vehicles. Speakers discussed the many legal, insurance, and cybersecurity concerns that must be addressed by the industry and government before full implementation of autonomous vehicles can occur. The conference included a keynote presentation on "The Challenges to the Future of Mobility" by Jeff Klei, President, NAFTA Region, Continental Automotive Divisions, and three Tech Talk Sessions on the challenges, infrastructure, and cybersecurity of automated and connected vehicles. Finally, Robert Feldmaier gave a talk about the current state of CAAT.  

For more archived resources by the Center for Advanced Automotive Technology (CAAT), visit the ATE Central Archive.

Topics in Healthcare Info Tech

River Valley Community College, in association with the Program Development in Cybersecurity with Focus on Business and Healthcare Concepts project, has developed a 4-semester program to prepare students for working in the Information Assurance (IA) field with a focus on Cybersecurity and Healthcare IT. Courses are intended to prepare students for assuring confidentiality, integrity, and availability of IT systems and networks in healthcare settings, where scheduling, storage of images, filling prescriptions, billing, and more are handled and stored using information technology.

This course focuses on topics in healthcare information technology and asks students to consider the Information Technology requirements that command uniquely qualified IT professionals to ensure the security of the Healthcare IT systems. In completing the course, students will be able to: 1) Understand and explain the behavior of a Healthcare organization, 2) Understand, explain, and apply the regulatory requirements of a Healthcare organization, 3) Understand, explain, and evaluate the normal operations of the “Healthcare Business,” 4) Evaluate the Healthcare IT system for security, privacy, and confidentiality, 5) Apply security, privacy, and confidentiality concepts to the Healthcare IT system, and 6) Understand and evaluate the normal operations of a Healthcare IT system.

For more archived resources by the Program Development in Cybersecurity with Focus on Business and Healthcare Concepts project, visit the ATE Central Archive.

Collaborative Curriculum Taskforce: Study of the Cybersecurity Workforce Framework Mapping to Academic Courses

This report, from the National CyberWatch Center, outlines the results of a mapping effort performed by the CyberWatch Curriculum Task Force of cybersecurity curricula to the National Cybersecurity Workforce Framework 1.0 Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSAs). The goal of the study was to build a taxonomy of courses and to identify how the courses aligned with the KSAs specified within the framework, identifying gaps in academic courses and how those gaps could be addressed. This comprehensive 253-page PDF report includes the following sections: Purpose, Methodology, Data Collection, Data Mapping, Analysis, Constraints, Findings, Conclusions, and Recommendations for Further Research. The Bulk of the PDF comes in the Appendices, which include Participating Schools, Courses Mapped, the Mapping Survey Instrument, Coding Instructions, and the Pivot Table. 

For more archived resources by the National CyberWatch Center, visit the ATE Central Archive.

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SMART Future Project Builds on Previous ATE Grant

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Andrew Kott, left, uses industry-grade equipment and a small-scale simulation of an automated distribution center in Chippewa Valley Technical College’s Mobile Manufacturing Lab to teach rural high school students about Industry 4.0 concepts and the Industrial Internet of Things.

Andrew Kott is the “perfect technician” to teach rural high school students about automated warehouses and supply chain technologies, according to Shamus Funk.

As principal investigator of the Smart Manufacturing and Resources for Transforming the Future (SMART Future) project, Funk hired Kott to teach students and to work with high school teachers in Chippewa Valley Technical College’s Mobile Manufacturing Lab.

“Students respond well to him,” Funk said, citing Kott’s youth, energy, and knowledge. Kott worked in industry after earning a two-year machine tooling diploma at Chippewa Valley Technical College in 2012. He’s currently taking courses to earn a bachelor’s degree in education.   

Laughing modestly about the compliment, Kott said, “I enjoy what I’m doing; I’m enjoying sharing this information with the students and seeing them grow.”  He credits the students’ engagement to the mobile lab’s “cool equipment.” For the SMART Future project the lab has been equipped with robotic industrial arms, a CNC vertical mill, a laser engraver, laptop computers, and a small-scale simulation of an automated distribution center.

The project’s goals for the high school students include having them demonstrate mastery in automation, networking, programming, and supply chain technologies to qualify for industry certifications and/or college credits. The project’s other ambitious goals include devising a sustainable system to gauge its impact on students’ career paths.  

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Video Presentations from the 2018 STEM For All Video Showcase

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This May, 713 presenters and co-presenters shared their videos that showed projects that are centered around STEM education. The showcase, which was funded by NSF and encompassed 214 video presentations, explored a plethora of diverse fields that involve teaching, research, and career pathways in STEM.

Many of the submitted videos focused on integrating STEM into young children’s lives and education. One such video, “STEM in the Playscape: Building Knowledge for Educational Practice,” submitted by a team of researchers from the University of Cincinnati, explores STEM concepts in relation to nature-based play in early childhood settings. The presentation shares how much of an impact a “playscape” can have on the burgeoning mind of a child, and how exploring the “science of living things,” can impact concepts such as inquiry skills and spatial cognition in children. 

“S-POWER Engineering Pathways for Transfer Students,” submitted by Claire Duggan of Northeastern University and Massachusetts Community College, explores the impact of a grant from NSF for transfer students from under-represented groups who are studying energy. S-POWER (Student Pathways Opening World Energy Resources) seeks to address two primary concerns: low persistence rates of under-represented transfer students in STEM-based programs and the need to train a new generation of students to work in STEM-based disciplines. 

The ATE community was represented in this video showcase. One such video, “A Peek at iCREAT Project’s Multi-Disciplinary Courses,” by PI Shamsi Moussaka and Co-PIs Giuseppe Sena, Susanne Steiger-Escobar, and Marina Bogrod at Massachusetts Bay Community College, looks at how classes on STEM topics such as coding and robotics can impact students from underrepresented groups. 

The STEM For All Video Showcase is a great resource for ATE projects and centers in terms of the diverse settings in which STEM-based principles and theories can be applied. This showcase, which is an annual event, provides a great example of how STEM concepts can be integrated into a multitude of settings and is an inspiration for teachers, researchers, and students alike. Visit the video hall to view the full archive of the 2018 showcase. 

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Contextualized Math Course Aims to Break Barriers to STEM Careers

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Indian River State College graduates Tyrone Joseph (left) and Hykeem Spencer (right) were among the students who successfully completed the contextualized math course developed by Kevin Cooper (center), principal investigator of the Regional Center for Nuclear Education and Training (RCNET).

The high percentage of students who succeeded in the contextualized remedial math course that the Regional Center for Nuclear Education and Training (RCNET) created for students in the electric power technology program  at Indian River State College (IRSC) has led college leaders to broaden its reconfiguration of college-level algebra.

This fall 150 engineering technology students—most of them new to the program at the Fort Pierce, Florida, community college—will take the redesigned math course that teaches trigonometry, statistics, and algebra in the context of STEM technician careers. The new course replaces the college-level algebra course that has historically stymied students, particularly African-American males.

“This is one of the few things that has moved the needle,” said Kevin Cooper, referring to the increase in enrollment and persistence of minority students in the electric power technology program at IRSC. Cooper is principal investigator of RCNET and assistant dean of Advanced Technology at IRSC. Before a highly engaged audience of 50 educators, Cooper talked about how to eliminate math as a barrier to entry and success in technical fields on July 25 at the High Impact Technology Exchange Conference (HI-TEC) in Miami, Florida.

Cooper, an RCNET industry partner, and students talk about the contextualized math course in this video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cU5aUQZN73M

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From the Archive: Workforce Education at our Community Colleges: What Works?

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In addition to the STEM curriculum and professional development materials that ATE grantees create in large volume, some members of the community also conduct research, compile reports, and share their findings with the broader STEM community. In this month’s From the Archive blog post, we highlight the work of three ATE projects and centers that have produced insightful publications that address such areas as program evaluation, educational reform, and recruitment and retention of minority students. These resources represent only a few of the assorted research reports, articles, and best practice guides created by ATE grantees; for more reports, check out the links below or try browsing our reference materials by resource type.

A Framework for Evaluating Implementation of Workforce Education Partnerships and Programs

This 10-page research brief from SRI International covers research on community college workforce educational implementation in five industries and geographic regions. This research resulted in the Workforce Education Implementation Evaluation (WEIE), “a framework for evaluating hard-to-measure aspects of the design, development, and delivery of workforce education partnerships and programs." The brief contains information about the rationale for the WEIE approach, how it works, the labor market context, partnership quality found in the research, identifying the roles of the partners, monitoring of the four key partnership strategies, information about research methods, and the implications of the WEIE framework. 

For more archived reports by Community College Partnership’s Instructional Impacts, visit the ATE Central Archive.

Career Pathways for STEM Technicians

This 307-page Career Pathways for STEM Technicians PDF book offers a practical solution to America's technician shortage in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Career Pathways for STEM Technicians was written and compiled by Dan Hull, Executive Director of the National Center for Optics and Photonics Education (OP-TEC), with twenty-two contributors, including eight chapters from different STEM technology fields.

The book presents a solution to two problems: 1) there are not enough technicians to support continued technological innovation or to staff the organizations that could improve America's security and economic position in the world; and 2) there are not enough adequate educational opportunities for students interested in entering careers as technicians. This book "outlines the need and presents information required for an educational reform that will prepare more young people for meaningful and exciting careers in numerous fields that employ lasers and optics technology."

To learn more about by Career Pathways for STEM Technicians, visit the ATE Central Resource Portal.

Minority Recruiting and Retention Executive Summary

This 8-page report, created by the National Convergence Technology Center (CTC), provides a summary of strategies and best practices for recruiting and retaining under-served student populations. These strategies and best practices were pulled from a variety of websites, reports, and articles and organized into clear categories. This resource was designed to provide an at-a-glance overview of ways a program can strengthen recruitment and retention.

For more archived resources by the National Convergence Technology Center (CTC), visit the ATE Central Archive.

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ATE Impacts 2018-2019: 25 Years of Advancing Technician Education is Available

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In ATE Impacts 2018-2019 Hilda Arguelles (right), a senior structures discipline manager in Pratt &Whitney’s Global Services Engineering, describes how Karen Wosczyna-Birch’s first ATE grant 20 years ago influenced her career. Wosczyna-Birch (left) is principal investigator of the Regional Center for Next Generation Manufacturing.

This month ATE Impacts 2018-2019: 25 Years of Advancing Technician Education rolls off the presses for mass distribution to centers and projects around the nation, and to attendees of the High Impact Technology Exchange Conference (HI-TEC) that begins July 25 in Miami.

The book showcases the work of the National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education community and celebrates the 25th anniversary of the program.  In addition to the summaries of ATE projects’ and centers’ activities and outcomes, the new book has an article that offers a snapshot of the ATE program’s influence on students’ careers.

The article features Karen Wosczyna-Birch, principal investigator and executive director of the ATE-funded Regional Center for Next Generation Manufacturing (RCNGM), discovering how the first ATE project grant she received nearly 20 years ago influenced the career of Hilda Arguelles, one of her students.

The two women reconnected at the 2018 Connecticut Technology Council Women of Innovation® Awards ceremony. Both women had been nominated as statewide innovators.

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Brookings Report - Learning About Learning: Meaning Matters

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This new report from the Brookings Institute outlines effective and non-effective learning strategies in educational settings from kindergarten through college. From data gathered by a study conducted by the Knowledge Matters Campaign, it’s deduced that interactive, hands-on learning, regardless of the educational material or concept, is a much more effective learning strategy than traditional, passive instruction.  

Professor Noah Finklestein, of the Physics Department at the University of Colorado, conducted research on learning attitudes and student beliefs and structures his classroom around those findings.  This research suggests that college students usually learn less than 25 percent of basic concepts that they did not already know in introductory physics courses. Furthermore, the students do not see the relevance of the content to their lives. Finkelstein coordinates classroom material to be in an “interactive-engagement” style of learning, where students work in small groups and apply the content in computer simulations and hands-on activities. The data show that student-learning outcomes of the most seasoned lecturers are equal to the lowest performing interactive-engagement classrooms, and when done well, the interactive-engagement format vastly outperforms the top lecturers with students learning more than double the physics content.

The report compares this research with early childhood education methods. Researchers Molly Welsh Chilston and Linnea C. Ehri published their findings on research done on vocabulary learning with third graders. They taught third graders six unfamiliar verbs presented in either a coherent context—like a birthday party—or as a set of matched but unconnected contexts. Children learned more of the words when they were nested within a theme than when they were more independent. This hard evidence suggests that using a hands-on, interactive approach to learning greatly enhances the probability of actually remembering what you’re learning. 

ATE projects and centers may find this report of use when considering classroom activities or how to incorporate an interactive-engagement lesson into a curriculum.

Please visit the Brookings Institute to view the report in full.   

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POWER Careers Project Seeks to Transform Women’s Lives with Energy Careers

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Monique Gallegos, a nuclear processing technician, is one of several women featured on a POWER Careers YouTube video.

Two women alumni of the ESTEC program at Idaho State University credit the POWER Careers project with helping them persist in the rigorous academic program that prepared them to become nuclear processing technicians at Fluor Idaho, LLC.

“The skills that they brought with them coming out of this program—they had a high degree of math aptitude—that really gave them the foot through the door,” said Shannon Bowman, human resources manager at Fluor Idaho. Another plus for Monique Gallegos and Samantha Phillips was “the fact that they were very familiar with different types of energy generation, and that they had exposure through the ESTEC program to terminology that’s typically used in the nuclear industry.”

In a Power Careers video Gallegos, Phillips, and other women talk candidly about their academic pursuits and careers. Providing Opportunities for Women in Energy Related (POWER) Careers is an ATE project that is testing strategies to recruit and retain women for the five associate degree programs offered by the Energy Systems Technology and Education Center (ESTEC) at Idaho State University in Pocatello, Idaho.  

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