In addition to one-on-one time with their mentors 20 faculty teams received granular-detail tips during Mentor-Connect’s Summer Technical Assistance and Grants Workshop on July 23 in St. Louis.
They heard from V. Celeste Carter and Thomas B. Higgins, two National Science Foundation program officers, three former Mentor-Connect mentees—Laura Berry of North Arkansas College, Justin Tickhill of North Central State College, and Ken Mays of Central Oregon Community College–whose ATE grants have instigated other positive changes on their campuses, as well as Mentor-Connect staff members.
All the speakers at the daylong workshop encouraged the mentees to submit their proposals to the Advanced Technological Education program in advance of the October 3 deadline.
To boost their confidence in the final stretch of proposal preparations, Mentor-Connect Evaluator David Hata shared the news that 15 of the 21 community colleges that received Mentor-Connect mentoring in 2018 have received funding awards from the National Science Foundation in the Small-Grants-for-Colleges-New-to ATE program track.
“We’re really, really excited about the success of Cohort 6,” Principal Investigator Elaine Craft said, referring to 2018 mentee teams who set a new one-year record of successful proposals for Mentor-Connect.
“Our success rate is about 70% and a lot of credit goes to our team of mentors,” Hata said. He also praised Mentor-Connect’s leadership team for making adjustments to the program in response to mentees’ and mentors’ comments and other data. “We’ve tried to improve the program each year,” he said.
Energy and enthusiasm was high among the mentees throughout the day’s panel discussions and team work sessions.
Skip Berry, assistant of Business, Information Systems and Technology at Riverside City College, was grateful for the question-and-answer session with the NSF program offices. “Their very direct feedback was very helpful,” he said.
Susan Ingersoll, professor and program director of Biotechnology at the Lake Nona Campus of Valencia Community College, was impressed by the expertise of her mentor Elaine Johnson and the other presenters. “They explain the nuances you wouldn’t get from a webinar or reading the PAPPG (Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide),” she said.
Ron Umehira, dean of Career and Technical Education at Leeward Community College, thanked the Mentor-Connect for the opportunity to learn at the workshop and at the HI-TEC Conference, which the mentees are attending with support from the American Association of Community Colleges.
Craft’s wrap up message blended optimism with a strong nudge to finish strong: “We fully expect most of you to be implementing grants this time next year.”