From the Executive Director's Desk

FLATE’s Industrial Advisory Committee (IAC) meeting in January included a brainstorming session to map ideas for strategic directions for an additional round of funding from NSF. FLATE has been invited by NSF to submit a proposal for an additional three years of funding that begins in 2012, with a short preliminary proposal due by mid April 2011. The IAC broke into four groups which included a group for remote online participants, each focused on one of the three major FLATE goal areas of curriculum, outreach, and professional development. On February 3, FLATE’s National Visiting Committee (NVC) participated in the same activity during their annual face-to-face meeting, held at Pratt Whitney Rocketdyne in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. The NVC also divided into four groups, three for those attending the meeting in person, and one remote online group.

A couple of ideas suggested by both groups of stakeholders for outreach include a traveling manufacturing bus/van, and a symposium for academics and industry partners for Florida as an effort to help strengthen local school-industry partnerships. For curriculum, both groups mentioned the overlap of engineering and engineering technology in the first 2 years of college and strengthening the relationship so students understand these two options and how to better navigate their own career pathways. Also suggested were additional engineering technology specializations in aerospace related technologies; welding; biomedical nanotechnology, and facilities engineering support. New professional development ideas included new technologies such as supply chain management, RFID technologies, robotics and logistics as well as just-in-time professional development for college administrators about credential alignment to academic programs to maximize student opportunities and career pathways.

We are grateful for the ideas provided in the brainstorming sessions; all ideas contributed will require additional research and will be considered as the FLATE leadership team develops its new proposal. If you have additional ideas, please add them in the comment box below, or email myself (barger@fl-ate.org), Brad Jenkins (jenkinsb@spcollege.edu), or Richard Gilbert (gilbert@eng.usf.edu).

While you’re reading this edition of the FOCUS, please check out FLATE’s newly updated wiki at www.flate.pbwiki.com which includes our current offering of courses in alternative/renewable Energy, check out our new manufacturing student profiles on FLATE’s, reimagined Made in Florida website at www.madeinflorida.org, find out what’s happening in Florida’s ongoing manufacturing-related certification analysis, and join us in a heartfelt “welcome back” from maternity leave to our newsletter editor and communications specialist, Janice Mukhia, and a “welcome to the world” to her new baby boy.