June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Two Year College Division
Securing external funding to improve or expand engineering technology and related programs is increasingly essential as state funding for two-year technical and community colleges plummets nationwide. Grants often provide the impetus and means for innovation that would not otherwise be possible. The National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education (NSF-ATE) program has a unique focus on two-year colleges and technician education. However, the funding rate for the program recently declined to 22% and the proposal submission process is complex. NSF also has an agency-wide mission to encourage diverse populations to participate in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The Mentor-Connect: Leadership Development and Outreach for ATE Initiative project, NSF DUE #1204463 and #1501183 awarded to Florence-Darlington Technical College, Florence, South Carolina offers an efficient way for prospective principal investigators to learn effective proposal preparation strategies specific to this funding program and to receive cost-free assistance that helps them gain the competitive edge. Mentor-Connect also addresses NSF’s diversity goals.
As a leadership development and outreach project for NSF-ATE, the project uses a three-pronged approach to support potential grantees. It offers mentoring, technical assistance, and digital resources. The project’s immediate goals are to help STEM faculty prepare competitive grant proposals and to improve their colleges’ institutional capacity for obtaining grants. Its long-term goal is to develop a new generation of STEM faculty leaders.
Early evidence indicates that this project is increasing the geographic diversity of colleges submitting proposals to the NSF-ATE program. The 99 colleges in the first 5 project cohorts are from 31 different states. Each participating college is located in a geographic area where there has been either no previous NSF-ATE grant awards or none in the past 10 years. There is also evidence of improvements in the quality of NSF-ATE proposals as a result of this project. More than 89% of the 79 colleges in the first 4 cohorts of participating colleges submitted NSF-ATE grant proposals; 36 of them or 69% have been awarded grants of approximately $200,000 each. The average acceptance rate for colleges that have applied to participate in the project is 65%. This paper documents the project’s unique combination of strategies and the competitive edge that those strategies provide for prospective NSF ATE grantees.
Craft, E. L., & Wosczyna-Birch, K., & Forrest, C. B. (2017, June), Gaining the Competitive Edge in Proposal Submission to the National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education Program (NSF-ATE): Mentor-Connect Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28396
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