The NSF ATE program is shining bright in Florida

Are you thinking of a “belated” New Year’s resolution?  Want to: improve one of your advanced technology associate degrees; start a new technical program; provide needed faculty professional development; add new courses; or recruit more women into your program?  If so, you should consider submitting a grant proposal to the National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education (NSF ATE) program! The next submission date is OCTOBER 5, 2018.  Right now, in early January, as the new year begins and many of us start a new semester on campus is the perfect time to start working on a proposal idea.

Typically, NSF ATE proposals are developed to address one or more of the needs a technical college program might have.  Over the past decade, the number of active NSF ATE awards at Florida state and community colleges has grown significantly.  Currently 21 projects and centers are funded at 13 of our 28 state and community colleges.  There are also four ATE grants housed at our state universities but each of these grants involve a number of state and community college partners.  Not included in this “count” are several other Florida college that have recently completed a NSF ATE grant project.

Perhaps the most important ingredient for NSF ATE’s  success, is the fact that NSF ATE program officers, principal investigators, project partners, and stakeholders represent a real and effective Community of Practice. This community is built on trust, helping, and sharing.   One of my personal goals since FLATE was initially funded has been to help all our colleges develop, write, submit, and be awarded a grant from NSF ATE.  If you have an idea for a proposal FLATE will work with you.  You can find out more about what these (and other) projects are doing on the NSF ATE website.

Highlighted below are some key interest areas of the ATE program, directly from the program synopsis posted on Please consider joining the faculty from many other Florida state and community colleges who now enjoy funding from the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program.  You are guaranteed a personally and professionally invigorating experience.  NSF ATE Centers, including FLATE, are here to help; so contact me, or any other ATE Center.

“With an emphasis on two-year colleges, the Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program focuses on the education of technicians for the high-technology fields that drive our nation’s economy. The program involves partnerships between academic institutions and industry to promote improvement in the education of science and engineering technicians at the undergraduate and secondary school levels. The ATE program supports curriculum development; professional development of college faculty and secondary school teachers; career pathways; and other activities. The program invites research proposals that advance the knowledge base related to technician education. It is expected that projects be faculty driven and that courses and programs are credit bearing although materials developed may also be used for incumbent worker education.

The ATE program encourages proposals from Minority Serving Institutions and other institutions that support the recruitment, retention, and completion of students underrepresented in STEM in technician education programs that award associate degrees. NSF is particularly interested in proposals from all types of Minority Serving Institutions (including Hispanic Serving Institutions, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions) where the proportion of underrepresented students interested in advanced technology careers is growing.”

Despite having been an active NSF ATE Center for over 13 years, we at FLATE are always looking for ways to increase the impact of our programs and activities.

Technical program face new challenges and mandates all the time but our ATE community works together, even across disciplines, to get whatever job done, done well with each of us contributing what we do best and always looking for improvements.  We celebrate our individual and group successes together. We mentor and nurture each other and newcomers to the community. All of this provides fertile ground for personal growth and seeds for innovation. It is truly an honor and privilege to be part of such a warm and generous community.

So, back to the “belated” resolution list.  Start your new year off right and think about an ATE project proposal for your program and: keep up to date with the rest of our FLATE FOCUS stories on recent and upcoming events, points to ponder, and news from across our network and across the country.  And, of course, check out the sTEm puzzle answer to see if the Grinch’s lawsuit was dismissed.

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