Mentor-Connect and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) are offering a free webinar July 29 for grant writers seeking to learn more about the application process for the National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program.
The one-hour webinar will focus on the funding offered by ATE and the mentoring and technical support Mentor-Connect provides to help two-year college teams prepare competitive ATE grant proposals.
The webinar is a pilot initiative with CASE to see if its members, who are grant professionals at two-year colleges, are interested in accessing Mentor-Connect mentoring and technical resources, says Elaine Craft, principal investigator of Mentor-Connect. It will help grant writers understand the unique aspects of the ATE program and how it benefits technician education programs at community colleges.
“We think it is an audience that could help us expand the use of the ATE program,” Craft says.
Registration is also open to non-members, but it requires creating a CASE account.
A helping hand
Mentor-Connect is a leadership development and outreach initiative funded with ATE grants to Florence-Darlington Technical College (South Carolina). The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) is a partner on all of Mentor-Connect’s programs. These programs include:
- mentoring faculty teams from public two-year institutions that are new to the ATE program or have not had an ATE grant in seven years
- mentoring for community college faculty teams who are proposing larger projects that build on their small, new-to-ATE grants
- providing professional development fellowships to prepare ATE principal investigators to be Mentor-Connect mentors
- co-mentoring community college faculty with ATE Centers
- offering free grant-writing information via its online resource library and technical assistance webinars
During the webinar, Craft will share the experiences of several grant writers at Mentor-Connect colleges to explain how mentors’ understanding of the nuances of the ATE program have resulted in high success rates for mentee colleges that have submitted proposals in the track for institutions new to ATE.
Marc Westenburg, CASE director for foundations and community colleges, notes that the grants staff at many community colleges is just one person whose responsibilities include all grant-writing and post-award reporting. CASE and Mentor-Connect encourage a more team-oriented approach and offer resources to help build capacity among faculty and staff to obtain and carry out successful grants.
It was Matthew Swenson, a Mentor-Connect mentor, who instigated the conversations that led to the webinar.
Swenson, grants director at Green River College (Washington), is the first grant writer to go through Mentor-Connect’s Mentor Fellows program. He became involved in Mentor-Connect several years ago after viewing several of its webinars that he calls “invaluable” to his development of ATE proposals.
Since completing the one-year fellowship, Swenson has served as a Mentor-Connect mentor to four colleges.
The ATE program’s focus on faculty developing proposals for innovative technician education projects is different enough from other federal program requirements that guidance from Mentor-Connect makes a difference, Swenson says. ATE’s requirement for two-year college leadership and encouragement for principal investigators to build on what they learn from one grant to improve and broaden the reach of their programs with subsequent grants make it an excellent funding opportunity for community colleges.
“ATE is a well that colleges can go back to over and over again,” Swenson says.