Asee peer logo

Impacts of the National Science Foundation-funded Mentor-Connect Project on Two-Year Colleges

Download Paper |


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

2-Year College Division: Workforce Pathways and ATE

Tagged Division

Two-Year College

Tagged Topic


Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Elaine L. Craft Florence-Darlington Technical College

visit author page

Elaine L. Craft (Florence-Darlington Technical College, Florence, SC-retired) holds a baccalaureate degree in chemical engineering from the University of Mississippi and a MBA from the University of South Carolina with additional graduate studies in mathematics at Francis Marion University. Her experience includes working as an engineer in industry as well as teaching and administration at community college and state levels. She served as Director of the South Carolina Advanced Technological (SC ATE) Center of Excellence from 1994-2017, leading initiatives and grant-funded projects to develop educational leadership and increase the quantity, quality and diversity of highly skilled technicians to support the American economy. She is currently serving as Principal Investigator, Mentor-Connect: Leadership Development and Outreach for ATE-2 and -3; and, Principal Investigator, Collaborative Research-HSI ATE Hub-Diversifying the ATE Program with Hispanic Serving Institutions Using Culturally Inclusive Mentoring and ATE Resources. The SC ATE Center is widely known for innovative initiatives impacting advanced technological education as well as developing and broadly sharing successful educational models and practices in technician education, with a particular emphasis on faculty development, the first year of study for success in engineering and technology majors, and mentoring educators nationally. Craft is President of Elaine L. Craft Educational Consulting, L.L.C.

visit author page


David M. Hata Portland Community College

visit author page

David M. Hata is an independent contractor specializing in evaluation of National Science Foundation funded projects. He currently serves as External Evaluator for the Mentor-Connect Project, the South Carolina ATE Center of Excellence, and six other ATE projects. Mr. Hata taught at Portland Community College for 32 years before retiring in 2003. He is a life member of ASEE and the IEEE.

visit author page

author page

Emery DeWitt Mentor-Connect/FDTC


Liesel Ritchie Oklahoma State University

visit author page

Dr. Liesel Ritchie is Associate Director of the Center for the Study of Disasters and Extreme Events at Oklahoma State University and an Associate Professor in OSU’s Department of Sociology. During her career, Ritchie has studied a range of disaster events, including the Exxon Valdez and BP Deepwater Horizon oil spills; the Tennessee Valley Authority coal ash release; Hurricane Katrina; and earthquakes in Haiti and New Zealand. Since 2000, her focus has been on the social impacts of disasters and community resilience, with an emphasis on technological hazards and disasters, social capital, and renewable resource communities, and she has published widely on these topics. Ritchie has more than 30 years of experience in research and evaluation. Ritchie has been PI or co-PI on more than 90 projects and authored or coauthored more than 85 technical reports working with agencies including NASA, NIST, NSF, USGS, FEMA, U.S. Department of Agriculture, NOAA, and U.S. Department of the Interior. She is a National Institute of Standards and Technology Disaster Resilience Fellow, as well as a Distinguished Senior Fellow with Northeastern University’s Global Resilience Institute. In 2018, Ritchie served as a member of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine Committee for Measuring Community Resilience. She currently serves on two National Academies Advisory Boards—one for the Gulf Research Program and another for LabX.

visit author page


Nnenia Campbell Collaborative for the Social Dimensions of Disasters

visit author page

Dr. Nnenia Campbell is co-Founder of the Collaborative for the Social Dimensions of Disasters and a research associate at the Natural Hazards Center. She holds BA and MA degrees in sociology from the University of Central Florida and a PhD in sociology from the University of Colorado Boulder. Her research interests center on the social dimensions of disasters, particularly the intersections between vulnerability and resilience. Campbell also specializes in program evaluation as a means of translating research into practice, focusing primarily on disaster preparedness planning, inclusion, and capacity-building activities.

visit author page


Jamie Vickery Center for the Study of Disasters and Extreme Events, Oklahoma State University

visit author page

Jamie Vickery is a research associate at the Natural Hazards Center within the Institute of Behavioral Science and a postdoctoral fellow at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. She is also an affiliate with the Center for the Study of Disasters and Extreme Events at Oklahoma State University. Her research interests focus on hazard risk perceptions and communication, the social components of disaster vulnerability and resilience, specifically among underserved and marginalized populations, political ecology, and social inequality. Broadly, her work aims to produce and translate knowledge in ways that can be accessed and implemented by practitioners and communities to reduce risk and social vulnerability.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Applying for grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) requires a paradigm shift at many community and technical colleges, because of the emphasis on teaching at two-year colleges. This shift is also necessary because of NSF’s expectation that a STEM faculty member will lead the project as Principal Investigator.

Since 2012, the XX project has been working to build capacity among two-year colleges and leadership skills among their STEM faculty to help them prepare competitive grant proposals for the National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education (NSF-ATE) program. NSF-ATE focuses on improving the education of technicians for advanced technology fields that drive the nation’s economy.

As an NSF-ATE-funded initiative, XX has developed a three-pronged approach of mentoring, technical assistance, and digital resources to help potential grantees with the complexities of the proposal submission process.

XX program has succeeded in raising interest in the NSF-ATE program. Over a seven-year period more than 80% of the 143 participating XX colleges have submitted proposals. Overall, the colleges that participated in the XX project have attained an exceptionally high, 65% funding rate. One immediate outcome is a more geographically and demographically diverse NSF-ATE program.

To analyze longer-term impacts, the project’s evaluator is conducting site visits at the new-to-ATE grantees’ campuses as their initial ATE projects are being completed. A third-party researcher has contributed to the site-visit protocol being used by evaluators. The researcher is also analyzing the site-visit reports.

This paper shares findings from seven cohorts that have completed a grant cycle with funding results known, as well as qualitative data from site visits with the first two cohorts of grantees. Recommendations for further research are also included.

Craft, E. L., & Hata, D. M., & DeWitt, E., & Ritchie, L., & Campbell, N., & Vickery, J. (2020, June), Impacts of the National Science Foundation-funded Mentor-Connect Project on Two-Year Colleges Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34763

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2020 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015