The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) has announced a new cohort for the MentorLinks: Advancing Technological Education program with funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF).
The MentorLinks initiative pairs experienced community college mentors with extensive experience in planning and implementing advanced technology programs with colleges seeking support to build, strengthen, and sustain new or existing science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) technician education programs.
Grants to the colleges total $30,000 in seed money for the two-year grant period plus additional travel support to attend national meetings and events. The program’s primary emphasis is on valuable networking and rich opportunities for technical assistance and professional development that link the cohort with NSF’s Advanced Technological Education national conference and grant community.
A team of seven community colleges and seven individual mentors were selected through a competitive peer review process and represent innovative projects in advanced manufacturing and semiconductor technology, engineering technology, chemical technology, biotechnology and environmental technologies. Mentors will work closely with their college teams on activities such as curriculum development or redesign, industry engagement, faculty development, and student recruitment and retention.
The seven selected mentee colleges for the 2023-2025 MentorLinks initiative are:
- Cleveland State Community College (Tennessee)
- Hudson Valley Community College (New York)
- Leeward Community College (Hawaii)
- Onondaga Community College (New York)
- South Arkansas College (Arkansas)
- Tompkins Cortland Community College (New York)
- West Hills College Coalinga (California)
The seven individual mentors selected to serve the MentorLinks Mentor Team are:
- Margaret Bryans, associate professor biotechnology, Montgomery County Community College (Pennsylvania)
- Jim Hyder, semiconductor training and education manager, North Central State College (Idaho)
- Greg Kepner, co-principal investigator, Micro Nano Technology Education Center (Iowa)
- Jens-Uwe Kuhn, dean of educational programs, Santa Barbara City College (California)
- Louis McIntyre, director of grants evaluation and compliance consulting, McIntyre Leadership Development Group (North Carolina)
- Louise Petruzella, senior program manager, BioMADE (California)
- Sue Smith, vice president of advanced manufacturing, engineering and applied science, Ivy Tech Community College (Indiana)
AACC has managed the small, yet transformational MentorLinks project since 2002. Assistance to 74 colleges has resulted in the creation of more than 182 new courses, 44 new associate degrees, and 51 new certificates; development of several industry partnerships and internship sites; reported STEM program enrollment increases ranging from 10% to 238%; and the leveraging of more than $15 million in additional grant funding.
The program is also aimed at offering opportunities for smaller and rural colleges that often do not have the resources to apply for grant funding to build or strengthen their STEM programs. More than half (52%) of colleges receiving a MentorLinks award are from rural areas.