This project is improving the Automotive Technology programs at the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology (BFIT) by developing new, industry-inspired course curricula in alternative fuel vehicle operations and maintenance as well as sustainable automotive business practices. The project is updating lab facilities with Alternative Fuel Automotive training equipment and providing students with internships and job placement opportunities. The developed curriculum is being shared with regional and national faculty and service providers in a manner appropriate for the BFIT as a regional leader in automotive higher education training. The project is also providing an enhanced career pathway for minority and low-income students and other individuals by establishing links from high school to the BFIT for two-year and four-year degrees.

Project Report

Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology AUTOMOTIVE TECHNOLOGY Submitted by: PI David Protano Alternative Fuels/Hybrid Lab: Grant # 1002688 The college offers an Associate of Science degree in automotive technology with objectives to provide a theory-based automotive education, supported by practical experience that meets the Institute’s history of high academic standards. The majority of this two-year program is devoted to automotive technical specialties, including work on live vehicles in the student automotive instructional training center. In addition to the mechanical technologies, the program includes study of math, physics, humanities, and social sciences. This is the longest-running program at the college, and the largest. It was re- accredited by the National Automotive Technology Education Foundation (NATEF) in March 2013. The college offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Automotive Management that builds on the A.S. degree by providing advanced-level education for management employment. The purpose of the project was to improve the Automotive Technology programs at Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology. This was successfully accomplished. The students, future automotive technicians received both theory and practical industry-inspired curriculum and the use of an up-to-date alternative fuels laboratory. Intellectual Merit: To respond to national and local changes in AFV production and use, it was necessary for us to begin training and retraining technicians to meet the demand for maintenance and repair of these new vehicles. Broader Impact: Because of the college's demonstrated success with under-represented students, it is especially prepared to provide the only high school-to-B.S. pathway for AFV Automotive Technology in New England. With enrollment already at 63% minority, nearly 80% low-income, and a student source of 50% from the city of Boston, the college is continuing its work to broaden participation of under-represented groups. This program provides an enhanced career pathway for such students. Goals and Objectives: Project Goal: To dovetail off the college’s considerable experience in training entry level automotive technicians and to develop curriculum for training of AFVs, this will give BFIT students more employable skills when entering competitive careers. Project Completed Goals: Develop new curriculum with guidance from ATE programs and an expanded Industrial Advisory Board. Upgrade the automotive department by installing a Alternative Fuels training lab Increase internship and career experience opportunities. Strengthened the region’s advanced automotive degree pipeline by opening the Automotive Technology program to the Early Access to College program with area high schools. Share the curriculum in a manner appropriate for the college as a regional leader in automotive higher education training. Activities for Each Project Goal: Review the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium (NAFTC) curricula for Alternative Fuel Vehicles (AFVs). Implemented new curriculum to students enrolled for A.S. degree in year one and continue to develop that curriculum through student, faculty and industry feedback. Promote the Automotive Technology program through the college’s EAC partnership. As regular practice, the college’s Admissions Department continues to develop and renew Automotive Articulation Agreements with technical high schools, colleges and comprehensive high schools in Massachusetts. Accomplishments under these goals: Major Activities: We introduced Hybrid Technology to our incoming class entering the Automotive Technology major. We had such an interest in the Alternative fuels and Hybrid courses that we have all incoming students test the waters by taking a mandatory Alternative Fuels course their first semester. The students enjoyed the course and most are anxiuosly waiting for the next Hybrid courses, in their third and fourth semesters. The course offered in their fourth semester is optional. This has been in place for two years and 80% of the students have chosen the third Hybrid/Alternative fuels course. We had four different introductory classes to non college students this past year. The ages were from middle school to high school. It was an awareness course; the curriculum was a reduced version of our intro Hybrid course. The interest was not the same as incoming college students. Only about 40% showed interest. Significant Results: What we discovered after implementing the courses for the second year is students interested in becoming successful automotive technician were very interested in this alternative fuels track. The students know that there will be an alternative to petroleum fuels some day and these serious students want to be on the cutting edge and are willing to put effort into their studies to be leaders. I personally was amazed at the student interest and involvement in the alternative fuels track. I was estimating a hand full of students of interest not 80% of our automotive student body. This is really positive to see that the automotive industry is still of interest to so many. From our graduating class in 2013 we have approximately 90% placement. These students are not neccessarly employed in positions in which they are repairing and maintaining hybrid vehicles, but it has definitely put them ahead of the pack with their knowlwedge of hybrid systems.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE)
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Zhanjing Yu
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Franklin Foundation
United States
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