Two TCC faculty were recently selected for a 10-month mentoring program to support them in writing a National Science Foundation grant. Thomas Henderson and Don Crall were selected for the 2019 Mentor-Connect Technical Assistance and Mentoring Support cohort — a program funded by the National Science Foundation to increase community and technical college involvement in the Advanced Technological Education (ATE) grant program.
With an emphasis on two-year colleges, the ATE program focuses on the education of technicians for the high-technology fields that drive our nation's economy. The program involves partnerships between academic institutions and industry to promote improvement in the education of science and engineering technicians at the undergraduate and secondary school levels. The ATE program supports curriculum development; professional development of college faculty and secondary school teachers; career pathways; and other activities.
The Mentor-Connect program provides 10 months of technical training and support to submit an ATE grant, and includes travel and registration costs for faculty participation in both a 3-day winter workshop and a summer workshop in conjunction with the High Impact Technology Exchange Conference (HI-TEC).
The faculty, accompanied by Barbara Waxman, director of sponsored programs, attended the winter workshop in New Orleans, Feb. 6-8. The workshop provided an opportunity to learn more about the ATE grant, participate in a mock panel review of proposals, and meet and work directly with their mentor, Elaine Johnson, who for 20 years was the Executive Director and PI for the Bio-Link National ATE Center based at City College of San Francisco.
Henderson and Crall are currently developing a project that would involve updating curriculum under the Electronics Technologist and Engineering Technology A.A.S. programs, specifically updating curriculum in programmable logic controls, motor controls, and hydraulics; developing new curriculum in nondestructive testing; and creating a flexible learning lab. The project will be designed to meet the needs of working students while also addressing industry demand for technicians in Oklahoma.
“The Mentor Connect Program allows us to collect valuable information to be used in submitting an ATE-NSF grant,” says Henderson. “The training we received not only helped us with our goals to develop this ATE grant, but with grant writing in general.”
TCC plans to submit their NSF ATE proposal in October 2019. Participation in the Mentor-Connect program could substantially increase our odds of funding. According to Mentor-Connect, 70 percent of their mentees secured NSF ATE funding for the first time following cohort participation.