34th Forum on Engineering Technology Supports a Growing ET Community of Practice

From pirates, poets, and presidents to troupes, tramps, and tourists, Key West is always a gracious host. Earlier this
April,Florida Keys Community College (FKCC) welcomed the 34th Florida Forum on Engineering Technology. Representatives from 20 state and community colleges, the Department of Education, technical sales representatives, and local industry attended and participated in this year’s spring Forum. This was the largest college participation in the history of the ET Forums. What made this Forum so special was the National Science Foundation (NSF) Advanced Technological Education (ATE) support for Florida’s Engineering Technology Community of Practice of centers and projects.

The ET Forum selected the Florida Keys Community College for its meeting to help support FKCC's efforts to provide education options that lead to lucrative high tech careers. The NSF-ATE Program also supports the Florida Advanced Technological Education Center (FLATE), the National Science Foundation Regional Center of Excellence that supports all of the colleges in the Florida State College System that provide A.S. degrees in Engineering Technology. FLATE is working with FKCC to build their ET degree program to expand the College's commitment to meet the needs of the Key's technical community.

The session on ET Community of Practice began with the interaction with the National Science Foundation on-line
presentation from Dr. David Campbell, the NSF/ATE Program Co- Lead, from Washington D.C. Dave provided an overview of the ATE program explaining the application and grant processes for the Projects, ATE Centers, and the Targeted Research on Technician Education. The NSF/ATE round robin session included NSF Centers and projects from state and community colleges as well as the Connecticut College of Technology. This session provided the information and exposure to other Florida colleges the opportunity to get involved with the NSF for projects and collaborate with other centers. This setting provided the best format to have the state NSF grant recipients highlight their work.

Phil Centonze, Principal, Pos-Impact, conducted a hands on workshop titled: Building Quality Programs that focused on Lean Process Management. Phil explained the principles and benefits of Lean to eliminate waste in a working environment. Phil Centonze, Principal, Pos-Impact, conducted a hands on workshop titled: Building Quality Programs that focused on Lean Process Management. Centonze explained the principles and benefits of Lean to eliminate waste in a working environment. The exercise provided the participants an opportunity to deploy the Lean Process in ‘Manufacturing a Boat.’

In-depth information on presentations, workshops and sessions can be accessed on FLATE’s wiki.

The Forum also served as a co-host for FLATE’s professional development workshop for faculty in the Associate of
Science technical degree programs in Florida. The workshop was an interactive career exploration exercise that would enable the creation of a user-friendly internet-based toolbox that enables students, teachers, parents, guardians and school counselors to understand the value of an engineering technology degree. This combined NSF ATE Workshop and Florida ET Forum brought Florida State College System faculty together to share various curriculum, courses, and recruitment strategies needed to optimize advanced technological education in Florida. Over 50 faculty and program administers as well as representatives from all the major suppliers of technology educational training equipment attended the workshop and discussed curriculum frameworks and new ET colleges and programs.

Seventy-five attendees returning post workshop surveys rated their overall professional development value at 4.5 on a 5.0 scale. The interaction with NSF proved to the highlight of the pre-ET Forum workshop as reflected by
combined participant satisfaction score of 4.4 out of 5.0. “I anticipate applying for an ATE project grant as a result of the interaction with NSF in the Community of Practice pre-ET Forum workshop,” stated a participant in a survey conducted by FLATE. Of the returned surveys 100% stated they would use the information presented at the workshop(s) and would recommend them to others. “Attending the ET Forum provided a good way to network with others for further discussions” shared another attendee.

The fall 2015 Forum has been tentatively scheduled for September 24-25, 2015 at Valencia College in Orlando. For more information on the statewide Engineering Technology Forum visit http://fl-ate.org/programs/e-t-forum, or like the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/etforumflorida.

Web Album (Forum on Engineering Technology April 2015)