The National Convergence Technology Center was established to meet the growing need for skilled specialists in the area of Convergence Technology and Home Technology Integration.
The CTC pulls together the strengths of regional and national educational institutions and business and industry partners to create of pool of qualified convergence technicians who can design, build, test, secure and troubleshoot communication infrastructure and devices in the convergence technology arena, both for enterprise and home markets
The National Convergence Technology Center is funded by the National Science Foundation. As an ATE National Center of Excellence, the CTC has built upon its solid network of partner and mentored colleges, whose number and reach has grown since 2004, to address emerging converged technologies and to assist colleges across the nation to implement high-demand convergence degree and certificate programs.
Tree Illustration by Mark Dempsey, June 2013. Click here to view previous versions.
This center has four primary goals.
Goal 1. Program improvement to meet workforce needs:
Objective A: Effectively engage Business and Industry to guide all curriculum efforts.
Objective B: Invigorate classroom curriculum based on job task analysis and create e-book modules and interactive tools to support hybrid and/or fully online delivery of courses.
Objective C: Invigorate faculty to teach emerging technologies courses though professional development.
Goal 2. Provide access for technology-enabled instructional support systems to assist colleges in launching convergence programs:
Objective A: Provide virtual lab capability for students nationwide to reduce costs and accelerate implementation of new convergence programs.
Objective B: Provide open access online courses, including capstone internship/externship course.
Goal 3. Increase the number of degree/certificate completers ready to meet workforce needs:
Objective A: Implement nationally-known best practices for recruiting, retaining, and graduating underserved students.
Objective B: Increase the number of students in general who complete certificates and degrees (2 yr and 4 yr) via innovative means.
Goal 4. Capacity Building/Dissemination:
Objective A: Expand the Convergence College Network Program with Partner Centers to reach more colleges.
Objective B: Disseminate all materials and processes.
AccomplishmentsThe following is a summary of the CTC's grant goals and accomplishments under the previous NSF grant (0903239) from 2009-2011.
1. Program improvement to meet workforce needs:
- Established basis for National Business Advisory Council, who forecast market needs and provide industry trends on a national level to assist mentored colleges.
- CTC faculty updated curriculum, introducing "Green IT" concepts into existing curriculum.
- Collin, Dallas and Tarrant created new AAS degrees and certificates in convergence for their districts. Over 1000 students have been served per semester with declared majors topping 323. The mentored colleges have awarded 508 degrees and certificates in the last two years.
- The University of North Texas created a new BA in Information Technology and convergence students at CTC colleges were able to transfer 18 units of convergence workforce courses into this ABET-accredited degree. The program has received 43 transfers from Collin and Dallas and total enrollment has grown from 42 (2008) to 118 (2011) with the first graduates in spring 2011. The BA-IT program received the Silver Award from the National Center for the Study of Transfer Students for "Innovation in Curriculum Development" in 2009.
2. Professional Development for Educators: Equip regional faculty to teach convergence technology;
- 20 workshops were conducted for high school faculty, counselors and community college faculty in the first two years of the renewal grant.
- The Working Connections IT Faculty Development Institute reached over 630 educators since 2004; 34 community colleges in Texas and 27 other colleges in 13 states participated; the 60 attendees of summer 2011 who had previously attended the event have created 273 new courses, created or modified 54 degrees and 102 certificates and have taught almost 12,000 students based on Working Connections education.
3. Recruit and Attract underserved populations into the field of convergence technology;
- Dr. Constanza Eggers-Periolo's Hispanic Recruitment Webinar trained 27 faculty in partner and mentored colleges who developed strategies and implemented improved recruitment and retention plans.
- Women and African-American enrollments at the three main partner colleges varied by semester but have increased from 73 to 163 and from 91 to 126 respectively. Hispanic/Latino enrollments have increased from 25 to 52 at Collin. Hispanic enrollment has remained steady at El Centro, an HSI institution. Mentored colleges have anecdotally seen increases, but most do not track ethnicity and gender by student per courses/program.
4. Capacity Building: Function as a Regional Distribution Center.
- Mentored 19 colleges around the country in evaluating and updating their programs, creating their business teams, modifying/creating degree and certificate programs, recruiting students.
- CTC promoted its services and programs through annual presentations on convergence and mentored college programs for STEMtech, AACC, ATE, NISOD, NCPN, HI-TEC, Green IT Summit, MPICT Mid-Winter Conference and League for Innovation Conference.
- Partnered with National Center for Information and Communications Technologies (NCICT) in workshops and dissemination activities, including live streaming of convergence workshops and presentations at national conferences and videotaping of instructional tracks at Working Connections to be made available for educators to view online at anytime.