Center For Renewable Energy Advanced Technological Education
Intellectual Merit |
Over the past decade, renewable energy has grown at a pace that is much faster than most other industry sectors. Furthermore, this growth is accelerating as a result of recent technological advances, manufacturing cost reductions, and government policy and regulatory initiatives. Although many two-‐ year colleges now offer coursework in renewable energy, the vast majority of these programs are in their infancy, and most of the instructors are still in the early stages of their teaching careers. Thus, the educational sector is challenged to catch up to the renewable energy industry. There is a strong need to support new renewable energy programs, to help faculty to develop as professionals, and also to provide them with high quality instructional materials.
The proposed Support Center has grown from the collaboration of three previously funded NSF efforts: The CREATE regional center at College of the Canyons, the CERET consortium at Madison Area Technical College, and NWEEI at Lane Community College. The PI’s and their respective institutions have a wealth of experience assisting other colleges and faculty members to establish new renewable energy programs. By leveraging this collective knowledge and experience, the CREATE Support Center will help others to climb the learning curve faster, cultivating and promoting robust renewable energy programs to meet surging workforce demands.
The goal of the CREATE Support Center is to advance the field of renewable energy by supporting two-year college renewable energy programs. This goal will be accomplished through five key objectives:
1) Providing support and mentoring for faculty that wish to start or improve educational programs in renewable energy technology.
2) Establishing and supporting renewable energy industry, business and academic partnerships.
3) Promoting technician careers, visibility and the public image of renewable energy.
4) Addressing technician knowledge, skills, and competencies needed for the evolving, converging, and emerging renewable energy technical workplace.
5) Screening, validating, updating, and broadly distributing exemplary renewable energy materials, curricula, and pedagogical practices adapted or designed by ATE centers and projects and other sources.
The CREATE Support Center will serve high school educators in addition to two-‐year college instructors helping to create bridges to higher education. The CREATE Support Center will also draw new institutions to the NSF community, including business and industry partners, to help identify and strengthen renewable energy career paths. In our previous renewable energy projects, the overwhelming majority of the faculty and schools served had no prior exposure to NSF. Nevertheless, 80% were considering applying for an NSF grant in the near future, indicating a great opportunity to grow the ATE community, while also underscoring a pressing need for mentoring support. Several Hispanic Serving Institutions, Tribal Colleges, and Historically Black Colleges and Universities were included amongst these schools. The CREATE Support Center will also continue to serve as an advocate and model for female leadership in renewable energy, and will promote the advancement of women in STEM careers. Perhaps most importantly, by advancing the field of renewable energy, the CREATE support center will have far reaching environmental and economic benefits as it helps to transform our country’s energy infrastructure.
NSF • ATE • CREATE • Renewable Energy Center
Madison Area Technical College
1701 Wright Street
Madison, WI 53704
Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
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