Updates on the AM STEM Academy

Mason Lefler (Principal Investigator), Matt Fuller (Co-Principal Investigator), and Scott Danielson (Co-Principal Investigator), hosted Michael Lesiecki, outside evaluator on Bridgerland Technical College’s National Science Foundation grant in Automated Manufacturing. As part of the evaluation process, Michael toured Bridgerland Technical College, Tooele Technical College, and Wendover High School. Michael submitted the following to the National Science Foundation Program Officer:

  • The project team and personnel are very dedicated. There is strong leadership and the team values follow-through. The team represents a strength of the project.
  • The curriculum and program development activities have been an important area of activity for the project. Finding: the development is largely viewed as on track with a delivery system, video support network and other infrastructure developments that supported building of the programs capacity.
  • A key objective of the project has been to build the capacity and the number of participants in the AM-STEM Academy. Finding: data shows a 48% increase in high school participants and a 20% increase in college participants from year one to two in the project. Attrition rates for high school participants have declined and completion rates for college participants have increased. Finding: the trend is clear that BTECH has created a growing Academy both at the high school and college level, that is scalable to significant numbers of participants through multiple pathways. There has been a significant increase, over the baseline year in enrollments, completers and the completion rate. 
  • The project has created, although not as an explicit goal of the project, a learning and support community around the AM STEM Academy. Finding: The number of participating high schools and technical colleges has grown from a baseline of eight high schools to 19 high schools and two technical Colleges. The success factors for this model have been identified and include a focus on facilitators, facilitator support, and facilitator training. Finding: the network support approach has allowed the AM-STEM Academy to scale through a unique combination of online support and equipment/resources provided by BTECH.
  • Industry partnerships are critical to the success of the project. Eight partner attributes have been identified and a rubric created to assess the contribution of an individual partner. 19 industry partnerships were included in the analysis and show strength in many areas including curriculum development, advisory; functions, recruiting and placement.
  • Professional development for high school teachers was accomplished with a one week summer workshop (and ongoing support.) Finding: participants indicated they had significant gains in their confidence and ability to facilitate the AM-STEM Academy at their schools.”

The tremendous efforts of Faculty, Instructional Designers, and Leadership have kept the grant on track to meet (if not exceed) all grant objectives and outcomes in its third year.