Advanced Technological Education ·

Welcome to the ATE Central Connection! Published the first Monday of each month, the ATE Central Connection is meant to disseminate information to and about ATE centers and projects, providing you with up-to-date ATE news, events, reminders, as well as highlighting new centers, projects, and resources. In addition, we will also highlight an educational topic with complementary resources found within ATE Central to help illustrate how ATE resources can be used in the classroom.

We want the ATE Central Connection to be a valuable tool; please e-mail with any suggestions about how to make the ATE Central Connection more useful for you or to suggest any information you would like to see in an upcoming issue.

In This Issue


Featured Resources in Supply Chain Technology

From National Center for Supply Chain Technology Education:

National Center for Supply Chain Technology: White Papers

This page, created by the National Center for Supply Chain Technology Education, contains links to white papers published by the Center. Current examples of white papers available on the site include 'Workplace Communication,' which discusses the importance of being able to communicate effectively in work situations, 'The Robots are Coming,' which provides an overview on how robotic solutions once used in manufacturing plants, are now appearing in day-to-day life, and 'Supplying Workforce Needs,' which touches on companies that teach skills such as manufacturing technology, automation and control technology, and geospatial technologies. These white papers are a good resource for parties interested in current research concerning manufacturing technology.

From Maricopa Advanced Technology Education Center (MATEC):

Slides: Supply Chain and Inventory Control

These are the slides from the Supply Chain and Inventory Control webinar that was recorded December 3, 2010.This is a HTWI Externship webinar where a Faculty Extern shares what she learned during her HTWI Industry Externship. The Externship opportunities bring together companies with new technology and faculty members who want to update their curriculum. Faculty members collaborate with a company mentor to complete a mutually beneficial project. They use their expertise to benefit the company, and the company will help the faculty members enhance their knowledge of emerging technologies. Then that knowledge is modified and shared as a classroom-ready educational piece across the District and nation.

From Secure Logistics Curriculum Enhancement:

Case Study: Managing the “Cool Chain”

Managing the "Cool Chain" introduces students to the concept of a cold supply chain, in which products are maintained in a temperature-controlled environment from one end to the other. Students will read about different types of cold chains and how to identify vulnerabilities in the chain. They will answer several challenging questions and come up with a solution to the company's problem. This document may be downloaded in PDF file format.

EvaluATE Logo

Community Connection

Understanding the ATE Annual Survey, An Interview with EvaluATE’s Lori Wingate and Arlen Gullickson

AThis month, ATE Central asked Lori Wingate and Arlen Gullickson of EvaluATE to share a bit about the history, practical purposes, and impacts of the ATE Annual Survey. The 2016 Survey will be sent out to PIs later in February and we thought it might benefit all of us in the ATE community to understand a little bit more about the survey and its roots.

Can you tell me a bit about the history of EvaluATE's Annual ATE Survey? How did it get started and who participates?

The annual survey of ATE principal investigators began in 2000 as part of an overall program evaluation conducted by The Evaluation Center at Western Michigan University (WMU). The program evaluation also included site visits, case studies, and more than 60 published reports on the status and effects of the ATE program. The reports crossed a broad array of ATE activities and impacts addressing topics such as recruitment and retention and business and industry’s perspectives of the value added by the ATE program. In addition to book and journal publications, many of these reports are currently available at

Initially the survey findings were intended primarily for use by NSF’s Education and Human Resource directorate and ATE program officers in planning program activities, assessing program progress, and preparing annual testimony and reports. In the survey’s early years, the survey findings were timed to be available for use by NSF staff in preparing its annual GPRA report to Congress. The program evaluation ended in 2006, but we (the WMU Evaluation Center under the auspices of EvaluATE) have continued to conduct the survey as a means to monitor the program and have focused on service to ATE grantees. Every ATE PI receives the survey, and more than 90 percent participate each year.

Are there different uses/purposes of the survey results for prospective vs current ATE grantees? What is the best way for members new to the ATE Community to use the survey results and does this differ from the uses of veteran projects and centers?

The survey results may be used by prospective grantees to find out about program activities and to determine how a proposal might address a need in the program. For example, we know from last year’s survey results that less than 20 percent of students in ATE programs in the areas of energy and manufacturing are women—evidence of a need for efforts to recruit and retain women in these areas (see the Women in ATE data snapshot at

The survey data may be used by current grantees for benchmarking and comparing their results with the program overall. To illustrate this use, we created a short video that demonstrates use of survey data in combination with other national data (see related newsletter article with link to video at

How has the survey evolved since its first iteration?

The survey started before there were sophisticated online survey services available commercially, so the Web-based survey was designed and programmed by computer science students under the direction of a WMU computer science professor. Later we employed a Web programmer. Commercial services eventually caught up with what we could do with our custom system, so we switched to Qualtrics as our survey platform in 2015.

Perhaps the greatest difference is that the survey initially played a major role in the external evaluation of the ATE program and served NSF’s needs to determine the program’s quality and value to technician education. Now the survey provides an annual update (status) of the program that projects and other interested parties use to gain understanding of what the program does and is accomplishing.

Also, the original survey was much, much longer!

What are the most interesting findings from last year's results? Do you anticipate any trends with the upcoming survey?

There has been considerable expansion of the ATE program into secondary school settings. Two-thirds of the ATE-supported programs developed or modified in 2014 were for secondary school students, compared with 47 percent in 2010.

In addition to the complete 2015 ATE Annual Survey Report, your site offers Data Snapshots, Survey Fact Sheets, and graphics. Are these free for readers to use and integrate into their own projects? Have you seen any really creative/helpful uses?

We have made the graphics available free for use as stand-alone files in response to a suggestion by a panel of ATE PIs that we met with at the 2015 HI-TEC conference. These graphics may be downloaded and used without contacting us for permission. While that assists those who want to use the materials, we cannot track actual use. We would welcome feedback from users both to know how these materials are used and their value to those who use them.

What are the Data Snapshots and what are the best ways to use them?

The data snapshots provide a more in-depth, yet succinct look at certain variables from the survey. Because of NSF’s priorities around engaging women and underrepresented minorities in STEM, we always create snapshots that show how well represented these groups are in the ATE program and by discipline within the program. These snapshots clearly show that while the program has done well in terms of engaging minority students, involving women has been more of a persistent challenge (as it has been throughout STEM education, not just ATE).

What's the most common question people ask you and your team about the survey?

The common question used to be, “can’t you just get the information from our annual reports to NSF?” This is among other questions we answer in our Survey FAQ document, and the answer is that although there is some overlap between the information required for the survey and ATE project/center annual reports to NSF, our survey is much more specific about ATE activities and outcomes. Moreover, there is no way to aggregate the largely narrative information in annual reports into a coherent summary report about the overall ATE program.

We also used to get many queries about the period about which we ask for information. Different grants have different start and end dates, and different institutions have different fiscal years. Many years ago, it was decided that the survey answers should be about the prior calendar year. This was problematic for many people because the calendar year often spanned two different fiscal years or grant periods. As a remedy to this persistent problem, this year’s survey asks respondents to base their answers on their most recently completed fiscal year. The most important things is for grantee responses to represent a full year of grant activity.


ATE Success Tips: Websites

Making Your Website Usable For Everyone

At the start of the Information Age, several scholars predicted that the Internet would remove some of the barriers that made obtaining access to information more difficult for certain groups. And in fact, much of this predication has been realized, although it remains difficult for some portion of those with various disabilities and needs to perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the Web. People with disabilities may need to use specific tools or techniques to do things online that many of us take for granted - and some websites and web software today still have accessibility barriers that constrain these users’ Web experience. It's important to remember that accessibility is a legal issue, too - to better understand the legal ramifications of accessibility check out This site explains the ins and outs of section 508, which was added to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 in 1998 and requires all Federal agencies to make electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities.

In order to ensure that your project or center's website can be easily accessed by as many individuals as possible, including people with disabilities, here are a few steps to take into consideration and help you get started.

First - Evaluate your current website to understand how accessible it is to those with disabilities. More information and a list of evaluation tools can be found on this site from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), but also remember that human evaluation is key to success. Your own campus is a great source, especially if you have a student center that focuses on accommodation - you may be able to meet with students and faculty who have disabilities and would be willing to check out your site and provide feedback. If your campus doesn't have a center related to disabilities and accessibility, you might check your region to see if another institution offers help in this area. You can also contact professional associations like The National Federation for the Blind as they may be able to steer you toward consumers or others experts who can help.

Next - Decide which solutions are most important to your project/center. There are several ways to make your website more accessible to those with disabilities. It's important to prioritize solutions according to the needs of your specific audience and to also consider the time, cost, and skills that will be required. Prioritize those solutions that will have a high impact and whose barriers can be easily addressed. For ideas on how to update your project/center's website, the following page lists 6 great tips for improving Web accessibility:

Finally - Implement the repairs that are most important to your project or center and re-evaluate your updated website! Again, it may be helpful to turn to experts if you have access to them at this stage. Though some of the improvements may be admittedly timely or difficult, making the Web accessible and useful to those with various needs and disabilities is a necessity today. And, as the concept of Universal Design for Learning reminds us, making anything more accessible to people with disabilities makes it more usable for all of us!


Did You Know?

Between 2000 and 2014, the number of certificates awarded at community colleges increased by 236 percent, with short-term certificates awarded more frequently than both medium- and long-term certificates combined. In fact, community colleges confer more certificates than any other sector of higher education.

ATE Events

Ongoing Events
Bio/Chem Genomics in Education Workshop Newark, DE
Nano SCME Hands-online Microsystems Academy: Career Pathways for MicroTech Online
Upcoming Events
Ag/Env Wine Sensory Analysis Workshop - Missouri St. Charles, MO
Mfg ASEE Conference for Industry and Education Collaboration Austin, TX
Ag/Env Wine Sensory Analysis Workshop - OK El Reno, OK
Ag/Env Wine Sensory Analysis Workshop - North Carolina Asheville, NC
Mfg AAAS Community College Forum Washington, DC
Gen 2016 AAAS Annual Meeting Washington, DC
Eng BiOS Expo 2016 San Francisco, CA
Gen 2016 Science Policy Networking Mixer Washington, DC
Gen Applying Science for Society: Opportunities at the Intersection of Science and Policy Washington, DC
Eng SPIE Photonics West San Francisco, CA
Eng South Carolina Technical Education Association Annual Conference Myrtle Beach, SC
Gen Preparing a Budget and Budget Justification for your NSF ATE Proposal: Live Webinar Online
Gen Project Access Workshop Pensacola Beach, FL
Gen Writing in the Disciplines Workshop Pensacola Beach, FL
Info GIS/CAMA Technologies Conference Savannah, GA
Info ESRI Federal GIS Conference Washington, DC
Info Communities of Practice Part I Online
Info Communities of Practice: Secrets of Successful Implementations Part I Online
Info Feb. 2016 Cyber Insurance Webinar Online
Info RSA Conference San Francisco, CA
Eng NSRP Ship Tech 2016 Charleston, SC
Nano SCME Hands-online Microsystems Academy: Crystallography with Bulk Micromachining Online
Gen SREE Spring 2016 Conference Washington, DC
Info SIGCSE 2016 Memphis, TN
Gen Change Agents Workshop Williamsburg, VA
Info Good Geographic Practices for the New Framework (7-12) Newark, NY
Mfg HTEC – CNC Machining Educators Conference Sarasota, FL
Ag/Env Wine Sensory Analysis Workshop - PA Lancaster, PA
Mfg Guitar Building Workshop for Educators, Students and Hobbyists Mesa, AZ
Mfg NSF Workshop on Additive Manufacturing for Health Arlington, VA
Eng 2016 Innovations Conference Chicago, IL
Mfg Innovation & Entrepreneurship in Fab Labs & Makerspaces Bentonville, Arkansas
Gen Evaluation for Small Projects: Live Webinar Online
Info Women in Cyber Security Conference Dallas, TX
Gen National Conference in Nashville: Science: Empowering Performance Nasheville, TN
Mfg Engineering Technology Forum Leesburg, FL
Nano SCME Hands-online Microsystems Academy: Microcantilevers Online
Info 30th Anniversary National Conference on Undergraduate Research Asheville, NC
Gen Get 2 IT Parma, OH
Gen AACC Annual Convention Chicago, IL
Gen National Summit for Educational Equity Alexandria, VA
Gen Preparing Forms for your NSF ATE Proposal: Live Webinar Online

For more events, please visit the ATE Central Events page or, if you have any upcoming events that you would like posted on ATE Central or in the ATE Central Connection, please submit them online.

To add a continuously-updated list of ATE and STEM education events to your website, use the ATE Event Widget.

News & Reminders

Registration is still open for the 2016 Carnegie Foundation Summit on Improvement in Education!

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is holding its third Summit on Improvement in Education March 22-24, 2016 in San Francisco! Join other innovative thinkers and dedicated practitioners to learn new ideas for transformative teaching and learning in science and other fields.

Share your STEM-based solutions with NSF’s Community College Innovation Challenge (CCIC).

The National Science Foundation invites teams of community college students to propose innovative STEM-based solutions for real-world problems identified within the theme of “Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy, and Water Systems” in the 2016 Community College Innovation Challenge (CCIC). All entries must be received during the competition submission window, from October 15, 2015 to February 15, 2016. More information can be found on the challenge website.

Is your project/center on Facebook, Twitter, or another social media site?

If so, please make sure we've found that site and added it to the ATE Social Media Directory. Having your social media presence linked through the directory will help ensure that interested parties can find you online. In addition, if you currently publish a newsletter, please let us know, as we will be adding links to newsletters to the information available on ATE Central.

Can CWIS software help support your project goals?

CWIS is open source software, created with NSF funding, that can help your project or center showcase resources online. It's free and very easy to use. The latest version (CWIS 3.2.0) was released on and is available for download on the Scout site. Please email if you have any questions or would like a quick tour of its features!

Follow ATE Central on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with all things new at ATE Central and in the ATE Community as well as in the world of STEM Education.

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