Mentor-Connect offers three types of no-cost mentoring to community colleges seeking to improve technician and related STEM education through projects funded by the National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education Program (NSF ATE).
helps colleges develop grant proposals for the Small Grants for Institutions New to ATE track. (Colleges are considered new to ATE if they have not received ATE funding in the past seven years.)
supports revision of proposals that were declined the first time a proposal was submitted in the following tracts:
helps colleges that received funding in the Small Grants for Institutions New to ATE track to develop larger ATE Project proposals. (Such proposals may advance the work of the previous project or pursue new goals for improving STEM education.)
Provides double support for prospective grantees seeking ATE grant funding. With co-mentoring, a subject-matter-expert (SME) Mentor from an ATE Center and a grant development expert Mentor from Mentor-Connect assist prospective grantees. An application submitted through Mentor-Connect is required to get started working on any type of ATE grant.
Mentor-Connect invites applicants from community and technical colleges that are interested in preparing a competitive NSF proposal in the "Small Grants for Institutions New to ATE" funding track. See NSF ATE Program Solicitation for details and funding deadlines. Only one application per college is allowed in response to this Call for Applications.
This orientation webinar consists of two parts. The first is an overview of the NSF ATE program and the opportunity for small grant funding. The second part of the presentation explains the opportunities for help with grant funding through the Mentor-Connect program. The Orientation webinar is normally provided in September each year.
To access the "Orientation Webinar," other "Upcoming Technical Assistance Webinars," and additional resources, click here.
In addition to the "New-to-ATE" mentoring opportunity, Mentor-Connect also offers "Second-Chance" and "Moving-Up" mentoring to help advance technician education at no-cost to participating colleges. Read below to see if your institution or 2-year community college may qualify for one of these opportunities.
Has your college submitted an ATE proposal that was declined in the "Small Grants for Institutions New to ATE" track or submitted a proposal for a larger ATE Project that was declined? If so, then this service is available at no cost to the colleges accepted for Second-Chance Mentoring. Colleges wanting this service for a larger ATE Project must have successfully completed a "Small Grants for Institutions New to ATE" project.
Has your college successfully completed a project in the "Small Grants for Institutions New to ATE" track and wishes to advance the work of the previous project or pursue new technician education goals? If so, then Mentor-Connect invites colleges at no-cost to apply for this "Moving-Up" mentoring service.
Are you are collaborating with a discipline-focused ATE Center such as MNT-EC (Micro Nano Technologies), InnovATEBIO (Biotechnology), or NCAT (Autonomous Technologies) in developing a technical program or project? If so, Mentor-Connect invites two-year college faculty member(s) to apply at no cost for co-mentoring. This co-mentoring will help you prepare your first or next NSF ATE grant proposal. Co-mentoring allows a prospective grantee to work with the technical and discipline expertise (SME) within an ATE Center and also receive grant writing expertise from Mentor-Connect in order to develop a competitive NSF grant proposal.
Computer and Engineering Technologies Department Chair at Spartanburg Community College (SCC) said the Business and Industry Leadership Team (BILT) process that her Mentor-Connect Mentor Ann Beheler advised her to use was essential for obtaining industry buy-in for the program she envisioned and that employers then shaped with her. "I think that it is a key ingredient to get your industry support. I had documentation of what they [employers] said in the grant [application]. I think that makes a difference." Beheler is principal investigator of the National Convergence Technology Center
Image courtesy of SCC
Director and principal investigator of the National Geospatial Center of Excellence at Jefferson Community and Technical College in Kentucky and a longstanding Mentor-Connect Mentor told Community College of Beaver County (CCBC)’s mentee team (PI Hugh Gallagher and his colleagues) about several ways to involve industry while they wrote their ATE grant proposal. According to Gallagher, "More than 40 companies are now partners in CCBC’s Systemic Change Through Process Technology program. The college has a new $3 million facility and received $1 million from a private foundation to purchase more process technology equipment" because of the information received during his New-to-ATE mentorship. Additionally, CCBC has received a second ATE grant for $539,987 to adapt the traditional format of the process technology program into a Flexible Entry/Flexible Exit Curriculum.
Image courtesy of CCBC
Director of Agriculture programs at Snow College said questions from Osa Brand, the college’s Mentor-Connect mentor in 2015, helped him and Michael P. Medley, the dean of Business and Applied Technologies, clarify their thinking about the viability of their Ag technology program for funding and the curriculum within the program. The Agriculture Systems program they launched in 2017 with a National Science Foundation (NSF) Advanced Technological Education grant (#1601397) blends agriculture mechanics, entrepreneurship, hydrology, and advanced technologies such as GPS-valved and controlled, pivot irrigation systems and unmanned aerial vehicles. Without Brand’s "different perspective," Olsen and Medley would have never considered the viability of having a successful NSF-ATE application to create a precision agriculture program to meet the needs of farm families in the six rural Utah counties the college serves.
Image courtesy of Snow College
Automotive Technology Instructor has used what he learned as a Mentor-Connect mentee to accelerate the automotive technology program at Rio Hondo College and his career. He said, "If it wasn’t for the group at Mentor-Connect I probably would not be where I am right now. That group has given me so much support. I just can't express to people enough how this group can change your whole program, and it's a change for the better." Since Frala, Rio Hondo Dean Mike Slavich, and Automotive Technology Chairman Steve Tomory participated in Mentor-Connect, the college in Whittier, CA, has received its first Advanced Technological Education (ATE) grant from the National Science Foundation to create an Associate of Science Degree in Alternative Fuels and Advanced Transportation Technology; been selected as the first California community college to offer a Bachelor of Science Degree in Automotive Technology; become a partner on a second ATE project grant with another Mentor-Connect college; and launched Tesla’s second START service technician certificate program.
Image courtesy of Rio Hondo College