The Boston Area Advanced Technology Education Center (BATEC) transforms education the information technology (IT) professional for the 21st century by: (1) developing curriculum that is regionally connected, advanced in content and pedagogy, and industry-linked; (2) providing professional development experiences for educators so they can deliver relevant, standards-based programs of instruction that model the reality of the workplace; (3) attracting and advancing a diverse population of technology students who can effectively meet the challenges of emerging technologies and changing economies; and (4) connecting education, industry and community to promote mutually beneficial partnerships. The Center focuses on pedagogical transformation to assist educators in the successful adaptation, enhancement, and implementation of "BATEC stamped" curriculum and other best practice materials that provide an articulated sequence of courses in high schools, two-year colleges, and the University of Massachusetts/Boston.

Project Report

has developed a regionally coordinated system – one that attracts talented students from diverse demographics and backgrounds to IT careers, promotes lifelong learning of technical skills, and meets the IT workforce needs of the region. This success is the result of a dynamic working partnership among industry leaders, IT educators and community organizers who have developed a deep understanding of how to achieve the core structural reforms necessary to ensure that education programs keep pace with the rapidly evolving IT field. The intellectual merit of this work is evidenced by the processes BATEC developed within its regional IT education system. Technology is an essential enabler of global communication and commerce, a key driver for innovation across all sectors. IT jobs in the new economy demand technical skills combined with the ability to think and act in an entrepreneurial fashion by using problem-solving techniques, performing computational thinking and other higher-order skills. BATEC has focused on core IT knowledge, skills and attributes; intensive curriculum adaptation and development; pedagogical transformation; outreach to under-represented and at-risk student populations; and substantive dialogue among the key stakeholders of education, industry, government and community. Our curriculum models are designed in collaboration with industry with the flexibility to align with existing programs, provide multiple entry and exit strategies (i.e., stackable credentials), and be adaptable to local needs. The programs interweave the requisite technical knowledge and skills with employability/ professional and entrepreneurial capabilities; enhance education-industry engagement; and provide for advancement from high school and/or community-based programs into two- and four-year colleges. BATEC partners have implemented and studied a variety of mechanisms for student engagement and raised awareness of the opportunities for urban youth to advance through IT careers. This awareness has resulted in more strategic, local initiatives that have proven to be more successful in influencing and impacting urban youth. BATEC has focused on college and career awareness offering school-based, regional and large-scale efforts. For example, our High Tech College Fair is one of very few opportunities for urban youth to get targeted college awareness and the only one that focuses on technology-related careers and majors. The very specialized mini-tech fairs offered by our institutions with their specific feeders provide the students with often their first exposure to a college campus. BATEC has provided dual enrollment courses, bridge programs, peer mentoring and/or tutoring and learning communities to enhance the flow of students through the pipeline as well as internships and student leadership options to advance students professionally. In specific, the Tech Apprentice Program, Bridge to CC and dual enrollment provide many students their first direct connection to college-level work and IT employment. Each of these has a role in a core strategy that provides multiple instances of engagement with increasing levels of "high tech" and "high touch". BATEC’s broader impact eminates from its all-encompassing view of the IT field that has guided the intentional design of its innovations to have broad impact throughout IT education programs, intersections of IT with other fields and education pathways. The issues that BATEC have grappled with are not just Boston-centric; they are urban relevant and they are national in scope. In the US too few students graduate with computing skills required to meet even the domestic needs of business and industry, let alone maintain our competitive advantage as a global source of computing knowledge and innovation. BATEC partners regularly meet to discuss opportunities, issues and collaborations, something that was not possible before BATEC was founded. There is a desire to be connected to BATEC from the faculty, all the way to the Presidents of the Community Colleges and the Chancellor of UMass Boston. This has resulted in BATEC being included in policy, workforce and education conversations across the Commonwealth. Examples include serving on MA Technology Leadership Clusters, MA STEM Summit Committee, Workforce Boards and Standards Development Committees. BATEC schools are increasingly asked to be the pilots for initiatives such as "Earn and Learn", "Pathways to Prosperity" and "Achieving the Dream". This allowed BATEC to connect to the ever- expanding interdependencies in the regional knowledge-based industries (Ex: Biotech; Health; Bioinformatics; Environmental; IT) and take advantage of the IT-enabled enterprise and provide opportunities for new entrants into the labor market; i.e., disadvantaged populations with blocked pathways into the knowledge-based employment milieu. BATEC’s broadening field of influence was noted in the final report of its National Visiting Committee: "BATEC is unequalled in its ability to connect secondary and postsecondary schools, universities, employers, community-based organizations, government, and policy makers in a systematic and productive way. BATEC not only initiates action, it spurs others to act as well."

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE)
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Gerhard L. Salinger
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University of Massachusetts Boston
United States
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