This multi-method multi-site targeted research project examines the Applied Baccalaureate (AB) degree within the context of technician education as supported by the Advanced Technological Education Program. The AB degree is a new phenomenon in post-secondary education that allows courses from a terminal applied associate-level degree to transfer directly into a baccalaureate-level degree in STEM. The AB degree provides another avenue to strengthen the accessibility and availability of post secondary education in advanced technology and to meet the growing need for a robust advanced technological workforce in STEM.
The targeted research study is designed to bridge the gap between theory and practice in technician education by the inclusion of the Advanced Technological Education program community in fine turning the research design (to include questions, analyses, and focus on utilization) and in conducting the research. To increase the utilization of findings from this targeted research project, selected principal investigators of ATE centers and projects are members of the research team. The set of research questions is sufficiently broad to provide a national picture of AB degree programs and targeted to provide a nuanced picture of AB degree programs and efforts in the context of ATE funded centers and projects. The three-phase study design provides a wide bandwidth complemented by in-depth rich descriptions of individual sites. The project draws on previous work on the AB degree by the principal investigator and a broad network of interested parties that include community colleges and ATE centers and project.
Of particular relevance to technician education is the extent to which AB degree programs enroll populations historically underserved by STEM. The resulting findings have the potential to contribute to the research literature on technician education, the viability of AB degree programs in post-secondary education in STEM, the contributions of community colleges in the development of a robust technician workforce in STEM associated with these types of degree programs, and the opportunities and challenges facing the development of AB degree programs that interface with technician education. On the site, visitors will find information about the project, its goals, and a project profile PDF.
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