ATE Central Sustainability Services

Based on feedback from the ATE community, ITHAKA S&R, Blue Sky to BluePrint, and ATE Central have put together a set of sustainability services including training opportunities (webinars and workshops) along with resources, videos, and other materials to address some of the most pressing concerns of the ATE community regarding the long-term success and sustainability of ATE projects and centers. While designed for ATE grantees all the resources here are freely available to those outside of ATE as well - please get in touch with us at if you have questions about the materials posted here or any of our sustainability events.

2018 Spring Webinar Series

Sustainability Health Check: Sustainability Strategies for Leaders of ATE Projects and Centers
This season, the ATE Central Webinar Series on Sustainability focuses on topics useful to Centers and Projects at all stages of growth. It is never too soon to be thinking about life “post-grant” – as a way to plan for eventual independence or as a way to prepare for a time when grants may not be forthcoming. This series addresses three critical angles – first, a basic “health check” to see how your project or center is faring today; second, strategies for moving forward, with a refreshed set of goals and priorities; and finally, taking to heart the need to plan for changes concerning the most valuable asset any project has: its people. This series is funded by the National Science Foundation’s ATE Central project and produced in collaboration with Nancy Maron of BlueSky to BluePrint, a consulting firm focusing on business strategy for leaders of innovative initiatives in the academic and cultural sectors.

Webinar 3: Succession Planning: How to Build a Plan So That Your Work Continues Without You
Tuesday, April 10, 2018 1:00pm EDT

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Rachael Bower, ATE Central
Nancy Maron, BlueSky to BluePrint

Great projects and centers have great people running them and working for them. Many of the most successful have a talented and dedicated founder or PI at the heart of the enterprise. And yet, while people may move on or retire, we often very much want the good work to continue. This session introduces ways to think about a key element of a strong sustainability strategy: succession planning, to help projects and centers build a stable structure that can continue on, even as staffing changes over time. Topics covered include knowledge transfer, partnering as a succession strategy, and staying involved.

Special Guest: Kathy Alfano, CREATE Center

Webinar 2: Re-visiting Your Sustainability Goals in a Post-Grant World
Tuesday, March 6, 2018 1:00pm EST

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Rachael Bower, ATE Central
Nancy Maron, BlueSky to BluePrint

This session takes on a thorny problem: your grant is coming to an end, but the work needs to continue. What aspects of your work need to be supported going forward? Which might you decide are complete and need no further work? In this session, we will introduce an evaluative tool for prioritizing the strands of work and activity that your project or center has developed over time and determining what each will require to have the greatest impact. Topics will include prioritizing, preservation versus growth strategies, and budgeting for the post-grant phase.

Special Guest: Ann Beheler, National Convergence Technology Center

Webinar 1: Taking Stock and Planning for Success
Tuesday, February 6, 2018 1:00pm EST

Click here to view webinar

Rachael Bower, ATE Central
Nancy Maron, BlueSky to BluePrint

How well is your project or center doing today? Where do you want it to be tomorrow? In this session, we will introduce a series of questions - a basic “health check tool” - you can start asking that will help you identify areas of strength that you may want to develop even further, and areas of vulnerability that you will want to address. Topics we will cover address the core concepts of sustainability planning, specifically: audience, stakeholders, the changing environment, and funding sources.

Special Guest: Lori Wingate, EvaluATE Center


2017 Spring Webinars

Webinar 3: Show me the Money: Is Revenue Generation possible for ATE projects and Centers? (click here to view webinar)
Tuesday, March 28, 2017 1:00-2:30 EST

Nancy Maron, BlueSky to BluePrint
Rachael Bower, ATE Central

Guest speaker: Casey O’Brien, National Cyberwatch Center

Though Sustainability for ATE projects and Centers involves many sources of support, including strong partnerships and institutional buy-in, revenue generation is still considered the brass ring for those seeking to expand their work widely. That said, the path from grant-funded initiative to revenue-generating entity is difficult and many struggle with this transition, in everything from understanding the needs of the market, to the organizational structured needed to support income generation. In this live webinar, we will be joined by Casey O’Brien, who as PI of the National CyberWatch Center has been able to identify ways sell access to the course materials they have developed, and continues to think about how to make what they do relevant for different types of customers. Casey will share his experiences with us, including how to determine what the customer wants – and will pay for; the sorts of organizational and governance structures that are needed; and how best to get started.

Webinar 2: Home Sweet Home: The Benefits and Challenges of Institutional Support (click here to view webinar)
Tuesday, February 28, 2017 1:00-2:30 EST

Nancy Maron, BlueSky to BluePrint
Rachael Bower, ATE Central

Guest speaker: Ann Beheler, NCTC

A fully-articulated sustainability plan may include some revenue generation and diverse sources of income. But for projects and centers operating as part of a college or university, the support your institution can offer is invaluable – staff time? Office space? Paid positions? -- and needs to be sought and managed with care. In this webinar, veteran ATE PI Ann Beheler will share some of her strategies for how her grant-funded initiatives work closely with her institution to their mutual benefit.

Webinar 1: Who is our Audience? Structuring Successful Partnerships (click here to view webinar)
Tuesday, January 31, 2017 1:00-2:30pm EST

Nancy Maron, BlueSky to BluePrint
Rachael Bower, ATE Central

Guest speaker: Kevin Cooper, RCNET

Many of the most successful ATE centers have expanded their impact through developing strong partnerships, with industry and with other academic institutions. These partnerships are grounded in a deep and evolving understanding of the needs of each of these key stakeholder groups. Kevin Cooper, PI of Regional Center for Nuclear Education and Training (RCNET), and Dean, Advanced Technology at Indian River State College has experienced this first-hand, growing the RCNET center to 46 academic partners and 32 industry partners. He will share with us both his philosophy of what makes a good partnership, and the “down and dirty” tactics needed to make these partnerships work.


2016 Spring Webinars

Webinar 4: The Funding Environment (view recording of Webinar 4)
May 3, 2016, 1:00pm EDT

The landscape we are all part of is constantly changing, as federal mandates and priorities evolve, and industry shifts to suit the needs to the market. This session will explore the ways in which leaders of ATE projects and centers can use the tactics of an environmental scan to identify future partners and funders. This session will consider the examination of the environment as a way to both be aware of competitors, but also to identify fruitful collaborators, whether within industry, other academic institutions, or one’s host institution. The session will guide participants to develop a framework for considering partnerships, and will outline the different forms this relationship can take. It will include examples of successful partnerships in action, as well as a list of pitfalls to avoid.

Webinar 3: Know your Audience, the Rest Will Follow (view recording of Webinar 3)
April 19, 2016, 1:00pm EDT

Understanding how and why audiences value your work is a critical foundation for sustaining project and center activities. This webinar will provide project and center leaders with the tools they need to probe their assumptions about their key audiences and stakeholders. Starting with the notion of a “value proposition” -- the value that the initiative offers to a specific group of users or stakeholders – this session will guide participants in defining their key audience segments, identifying the core assumptions about how those people will support the project/center, and defining methods for testing those assumptions.

Webinar 2: Funding Beyond the Grant (view recording of Webinar 2)
April 5, 2016, 1:00pm EST

ATE project and center leaders are often very skilled at grant writing, but seeking alternative funding solutions can be difficult. For some, it may seem too long or difficult a road or it may just not be clear what sort of alternative funding streams are possible or attainable. In this session, participants will hear about examples of revenue generating activities that have worked for other ATE PIs, and be encouraged to brainstorm possible avenues for themselves. Special guest Deidre Sullivan, PI of MATE, will share her experience in experimenting with a range of revenue-generating tactics from sponsorships to online sales.

Webinar 1: Am I Sustainable? (view recording of Webinar 1)
March 8, 2016, 1:00pm EST

While ATE Projects and Centers devote a great deal of attention to measuring impact and evaluation, the toughest question to answer is, bluntly stated, “Who cares?” If your project or center were to lose funding tomorrow, who would run to its defense? The focus of this webinar will be to provide an overview of some important steps any project or center leader can take today to start to identify the deep value they have created, and to think about ways that value can be leveraged into forms of ongoing support. This webinar serves as an overview; the webinars that follow will each delve into specific topics in greater depth.


2015 Spring Webinars & Workshop 

Workshop 2: Planning to Succeed: Strategies and Tools to Help Sustain Grant-Funded Activities and Deliverables

July 27, 2015 8:30am-Noon EDT
2015 HI-TEC Conference

Participants at the HI-TEC Conference explored strategies and tools to help support and sustain their grant funded deliverables. From small-group hands-on exercises to dynamic discussions, this workshop incorporated best practices drawn from case studies and research to help participants clarify their missions, maximize impacts, and support the creation of usable sustainability plans. Participants also got a chance to explore ATE Central’s portfolio of sustainability and data management services—including targeted sustainability webinars and the ATE Central’s Archiving Services (which respond to the new ATE archiving requirement).

Presentation Slides (Workshop 2)
Sustainability Planning Template
Audience Worksheet

Webinar 4: Building Partnership (view recording of Webinar 4)
April 14, 2015, 2:00pm EDT

Partnerships may take many forms, from an informal collaboration among peers, to a highly structured transaction between organizations. They can offer an efficient way to punch far above your weight… or end up not delivering quite as much as planned. For ATE projects and centers, industry partners in particular, can play a key role. Join ITHAKA S&R and ATE Central to learn about the many shapes partnerships can take, hear examples of successful partnerships from the ATE community, and learn what to look out for when seeking to establish partnerships of your own.

Webinar 3: Understanding and Recruiting Your Audience (view recording of Webinar 3)
March 10, 2015, 2:00pm EST

Whether your “audience” consists of faculty you hope will adopt the curriculum you have developed, students you hope will enroll in your program, or members of the public you wish would enroll in your online course, identifying and understanding your audience may be the single most important element of your project or center’s future success. Join ITHAKA S&R and ATE Central to discuss tactics for identifying key audience segments, and hear about tactics for recruitment that have worked for others.

Webinar 2: Planning, Goal Setting, and Follow-Through (view recording of Webinar 2)
February 10, 2015, 2:00pm EDT

“The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.” Planning and goal setting in terms of grant funded projects may seem obvious: the terms of the grant spell out the aims of the work and its need, the timings and budget. Still, for multi-year grants or projects that are moving into the post-grant phase, setting achievable goals that address both the short and very long term ambitions of the initiative is harder than it looks. Join ITHAKA S&R and ATE Central for this webinar to discuss some practical tools for defining the goals of your project or center and measuring your progress towards them.


2014 Spring Webinars & Workshop 

Workshop 1: Where Do We Go from Here? A Practical Approach to Sustainability
October 23, 2013 1:00-4:00pm EDT
2014 ATE PI Conference

The workshop at the 2014 ATE PI conference in Washington DC covered a variety of sustainability topics:
* Sustainability overview: What's expected from NSF; how should you define sustainability for project or center?
* Defining the real value of your project or center : A pitch for revisiting your value proposition. Who needs you, and why?
* The changing environment: The sea we swim in – how well do we understand where we fit in? How to stay alert to changes and evolve.
* The value your (partners, students, faculty, institution) see in you: Testing assumptions; building stronger partnerships.

Presentation Slides (Workshop 1)
Sustainability Planning Template
Audience Worksheet

Webinar 1: Sustaining Your ATE Project or Center (view recording of Webinar 1)
September 12, 2014

Nancy Maron, Program Director of Sustainability and Scholarly Communications at Ithaka S&R and Rachael Bower, Director and PI of ATE Central presented a webinar providing an overview of sustainability issues of interest to ATE projects and centers. Key topics included the importance of defining what sustainability means in relation to your specific project or center deliverables and goals, how understanding your audience relates to sustainability planning, and why measuring the impact of what you’re doing is critical to the process.

Welcome to Achieving Sustainability – a five part video series designed to support grantees from the National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education (ATE) community in sustaining their activities and impacts beyond NSF funding. These videos were created by the American Association of Community Colleges in collaboration with the ATE Central project and Pellet Media, producers of ATETV. The videos are free to use in classrooms or other educational settings. Questions, concerns, or comments? Please get in touch by emailing

In this video, two experts define sustainability and discuss the concept of value proposition and why it’s a critical aspect of sustainability planning.


This video focuses on how ATE grantees interact with their environment, stakeholders, and audiences and provides real life examples of how these interactions help sustain NSF funded work.


In this video, ATE community experts share their own sustainability success stories and provide useful strategies that have helped them continue the work of their ATE project or center.


This video focuses on the connection between evaluation and sustainability and how evaluation data can play a pivotal role in sustaining ATE project and center work.


In this video, ATE grantees and experts offer constructive advice about sustainability planning and practices.


This final version combines all five parts into one longer video covering a variety of sustainability topics.