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Development of an Advanced Technological Education Center for Water Treatment

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Stimulating Broader Industrial Participation in Undergraduate Programs

Tagged Division

College Industry Partnerships

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.485.1 - 22.485.7



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Paper Authors


Jana Fattic Western Kentucky University

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Jana Fattic is the Associate Director of the Center for Water Resource Studies at Western Kentucky University. Her role includes project coordination and budget management of state and federal grants totaling over one million dollars annually. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Western Kentucky University, and is currently conducting research for her Master's thesis on ways to connect hands-on experiential components with distance learning opportunities for students in STEM disciplines. Ms. Fattic worked in both the public sector as a regulator and private sector as an environmental consultant prior to being employed by the Center in 2004.

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Andrew N.S. Ernest Western Kentucky University


Joseph L. Gutenson Western Kentucky University, Center for Water Resource Studies

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Joseph Gutenson has been an employee at the Center for Water Resource Studies for over two years. His duties have varied but most of his time is devoted to research and field work. He is proficient in ArcGIS, creating maps for a variety of purposes. In addition, he has been a contributor to the WTI program, assisting in research endeavors, curriculum development, and student advising. Joseph graduated Magna cum Laude from Western Kentucky University with a Bachelor of Science in Geography and plans to begin pursuit of his Masters of Business Administration and GIS certificate program this summer. He is additionally a member of the Kentucky Academy of Science.

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AbstractASEE 2011 Annual ConferenceCIP DivisionJana Fattic Development of an Advanced Technological Education Center for Water TreatmentThe drinking water and wastewater industries are facing a nationwide workforce shortfall crisisfor qualified treatment plant operators due to factors including the en masse retirement of babyboomers and the tightening of regulatory requirements regarding the hands-on experiencerequired prior to licensure. Rural areas are hardest hit due to the lack of educational andexperiential opportunities available to them within a reasonable proximity of one another.Through partnerships with local trade associations, utilities, and government agencies, as well asan Advanced Technological Education (ATE) grant through the National Science Foundation(NSF), the Center for Water Resource Studies (CWRS) at Western Kentucky University (WKU)has developed the Water Training Institute (WTI). This industry-driven workforce developmentprogram offers a formal education focused on producing graduates with knowledge and skillsrelevant to the water and wastewater industry.One outcome of WTI is a two-year Applied Associate of Science (AAS) degree in WaterResource Management, with a plus-two option in Technology Management. This two-yeardegree program is web-based and can be delivered completely on-line, with the exception of therequired hands-on components that are provided by partnering utilities. These utilities, whichare part of the WTI Utility Network (UNet), offer training opportunities to students throughsupervised internships, access to laboratories, and experienced operators that act as mentors.In addition to the UNet, several trade associations (Kentucky Water and Wastewater OperatorsAssociation, Kentucky Rural Water Association, KY/TN Section of American Water WorksAssociation, Tennessee Association of Utility Districts) have either assisted with development ofthe content for the academic courses being taught, or have delivered short courses that are usedto supplement and enhance the program’s curriculum.WKU plans to request additional funding from NSF in the coming months in order to plan for anational center for WTI, which would bring in potential partners such as other two- and four-yearschools across the country, as well as national trade associations. The national center will beused to promote workforce development and higher education for water treatment operatorsthrough the provision of industry-relevant curriculum and partnerships with training providers.

Fattic, J., & Ernest, A. N., & Gutenson, J. L. (2011, June), Development of an Advanced Technological Education Center for Water Treatment Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17766

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