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A Successful Mentoring Approach for Encouraging New NSF Proposal Submissions from Community Colleges

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

NSF Grantees: Workforce Development (ATE)

Tagged Topics

Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session

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Kathleen Alfano College of the Canyons

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Kathleen Alfano has a Ph.D. from UCLA in Higher Education with a cognate in administration and evaluation. Her B.S. is in chemistry and she worked as an analytical chemist in industry before pursuing a career in education. She served as founder and Director of the California Consortium for Engineering Advances in Technological Education (CREATE) based at College of the Canyons from 1996 to 2016. Retired from College of the Canyons in November 2016, she is an Emeritus Professor and also former Dean of Professional Programs and Academic Computing. She currently acts as co-PI for the CREATE NSF ATE Renewable Energy Support Center and as PI of a NSF ATE grant writing workshop project and co-PI of two ATE projects in energy storage and SCADA. Dr. Alfano served as a Program Director at the National Science Foundation and co-lead of the ATE program in 2007-2008. Dr Alfano also was the only community college representative on the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Workforce Trends in the U.S. Energy and Mining Industries which released their report in March 2013.

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The key outcome of this project is an increase in the number of competitive NSF ATE (Advanced Technological Education) proposals submitted by community college (2YC) faculty through a model incorporating a three day mentoring workshop and continued mentor support throughout the proposal development, writing, proposal submission and negotiation. The project proposal writing component and 2-year mentoring by experienced principal investigators increase the knowledge and skills of 2YC STEM faculty at institutions with minimal grant activity, thereby strengthening the personal and institutional ability to pursue other proposal based projects. Participants learn strategies for institutional investment in pursuit of NSF program grant funding and increase project team expertise through a series of post-workshop webinars.

The project seeks to increase the diversity of the NSF ATE application pool in multiple ways including geographically, outreach to minority and lower economic communities and to increase gender equity in the technician education community. The project team seeks to imbue lessons learned from the previous three workshops and mentoring programs to increase the success of each cohort. The team provides support to mentee faculty for up to two years in an effort to give them the best chance to submit a successful proposal. In the 2019 ATE submission, 12 of 14 colleges submitted proposals plus several submitted from the previous year’s mentees. In 2018 ATE submission, 18 proposals from our mentoring group were submitted, 14 from the summer 2018 cohort and 4 more from the summer 2017 cohort. It is hoped that through this project and the model it is continuing to hone, the NSF ATE program will experience growth in 2YC participation and that workshop participants will serve as change agents for their institutions with the innovative ideas and teaching pedagogies developed in their mentored projects. For 2YCs awarded ATE grants, this project will result in improved student access to education and acquisition of skills needed to enter the workforce as STEM graduates whose contributions will advance the nation’s economic goals for meeting emerging workforce needs.

Alfano, K. (2020, June), A Successful Mentoring Approach for Encouraging New NSF Proposal Submissions from Community Colleges Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34061

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