AACC seeks colleges ready for STEM improvements

The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) is announcing a national grant competition for its MentorLinks: Advancing Technological Education program.

MentorLinks uses mentoring, networking, technical assistance and professional development to help community colleges improve technician education programs in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) fields.

Developed and funded with support from the National Science Foundation‘s Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program, most of the 52 colleges that have participated in MentorLinks since 1999 give the program high ratings for transforming programs and providing excellent professional development experiences for faculty.

The request for proposals will be available beginning on February 21 at AACC’s MentorLinks webpage. Proposals are due April 28.

Colleges applying for the two-year grant must be interested in working with an experienced community college mentor who has successfully developed a new STEM technician education program, or who has planned and implemented a major change in an existing program.

Colleges may request the assistance of a mentor to design a new program; revise an existing program to make it more responsive to industry needs; develop or redesign curriculum or materials; build training programs for faculty and staff; recruit students; engage local industry for internships or other field experiences for students or faculty; and evaluate results.

Up to 10 colleges will be selected to receive $20,000 and travel support for the project director during the two-year grant that runs from October 1, 2017, to November 30, 2019.

Call for mentors as well

At the same time that colleges are applying for MentorLinks, AACC will take applications from two-year college experts interested in serving as mentors. Up to 10 individual mentors will be named to the MentorLinks Mentor Team for the two-year grant period.

Mentors must be willing to work with faculty and administrators who want to develop or strengthen a certificate or degree program for technicians in one of the fields covered by the ATE program. These include:

  • advanced manufacturing technologies
  • agricultural and bio technologies
  • energy and environmental technologies
  • engineering technologies
  • information technologies
  • microtechnologies and nanotechnologies
  • security technologies

AACC welcomes applications for the Mentor Team from community college employees or individuals closely aligned with community colleges, such as retired professionals, consultants, industry advisory board members, and others with relevant skills and experiences.

Interested individuals must meet the following criteria:

  • Expertise in program development and/or planning and implementing a major program change in a STEM technician field at a community college
  • Minimum of five years of experience in a STEM discipline
  • Experience in mentoring or providing technical assistance to individuals or small groups
  • Demonstrated knowledge of the objectives of the NSF ATE program
  • Preference will go to individuals with direct ATE grant leadership experience

The key determinant in the mentor selection process is how well mentors’ knowledge and experience matches with what a selected college needs, said Ellen Hause, AACC program director for academic, student and community development.

Mentors receive an honorarium and travel support to attend the annual, national MentorLinks meetings and to conduct college site visits at the mentee’s college.

Click here for more information or contact Ellen Hause at 202-728-0200 x217

About the Author

Madeline Patton
is an education writer based in Ohio.