2021 National ATE PI Conference: Panel Discussions & FLATE Project Updates

The American Association of Community Colleges, with the support of the National Science Foundation (NSF), hosted the 28th National ATE Principal Investigators’ Conference virtually on October 18-22, 2021.  The theme: Broadening Impact Through Innovation. The conference brought together more than 1,000 NSF ATE grantees and their project partners to focus on the critical issues related to advanced technological education. Conference participants represented community colleges, business and industry, secondary school systems, and four-year colleges covering projects in a wide variety of areas.

Currently, there are twenty-five active NSF ATE grant projects being implemented in Florida's state and community colleges in various areas of technology areas. You can find them listed here. Multiple FLATE projects were highlighted at the conference, through panel discussions and project update videos, including the following:

Demonstration Panel Discussion on Technician Trends Visualized – An Interactive Data Tool Marilyn Barger, Executive Director of FLATE, served as a panelist along with Bill Mabe, Chief Data Scientist at Practical Data Lab and Michelle Van Noy, Associate Director & Assistant Research Professor in the Education and Employment Research Center at Rutgers University, for the During this panel discussion, they demonstrated a newly created (free) data visualization tool that allows users to view data trends of technician graduates in various community colleges programs nationally. The tool includes all two-year colleges and programs by CIP code. Users can review graduation trends in varying degree programs by state or across states from 1995 to 2019. 

ATE PI Conference Spotlight Session 7: Doubling Down on Mechatronics Dual Enrollment was This Spotlight session panel focused on the ins and outs of dual enrollment programs for mechatronics, the special issues that must be addressed for a strong program alignment, and innovative practices to ensure student success.  The panel was facilitated by Marilyn Barger with additional Florida representation by Doug Brauer, Dean of Engineering & Industry at the Florida State College at Jacksonville.  Additional panelists included Doug Laven, Mechatronics Program Instructor at South Central College (MN), Doug Pauley, Associate Dean Training Development at Central Community College (NE), and  Andrew Robertson, Coordinator of Workforce Development at Gadsden State Community College (AL).  

The American Academy of Community Colleges Community College Daily reported on this panel discussion in their article "3 Approaches to dual enrollment mechatronics program." 

Douglas C. Brauer, dean of engineering and industry at Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ), shared information about the Early College Academy of Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering at Englewood High School. It is sponsored by Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc., which provides paid summer internships for the students. Students must have a 3.0 GPA to be considered for the selective program. “Eighty [junior and senior] students throughout the year come to the FSCJ downtown campus Advanced Technology Center (ATC) to take the courses led by FSCJ faculty,” Brauer explained.  The students move in cohorts through the “laboratory-intensive” engineering and industry programs. Academy graduates have “priority interview status” with Johnson & Johnson. However, with so many high-tech manufacturers in the region, the students “are seeing all the companies looking to hire people with these mechatronics skills…. The program is really exposing the students to what are the opportunities that are very real in high-paying careers in the automation technologies.”

         Click here to read the Community College Daily article.

Principal Investigators of ATE grant projects also provided 90-second video summaries of their projects which were shared with all conference attendees.  Use the following links for a short minute and half update for these FLATE-related projects:

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