This project is providing professional development activities to improve the quality and relevance of a community college bioscience education. Development of the program leverages two ATE Centers' expertise in professional development activities, NBC2 and Bio-Link. Biotechnology program leaders from the three partner colleges are leading the hands-on, "boot camp" laboratory component of the project. Following the boot camp the fellows participate in industry internships, and develop industry-relevant curriculum. Project collaborators supporting internships include Wake Forest University, Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Joint School of Nanoscience & Nanoengineering and Gateway University Research Park, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, David H. Murdock Research Institute, North Carolina Research Campus, Banner Pharmacaps Inc., Biogen Idec, Cook Medical, Targacept, Tengion, and TransTech Pharma.
The program is (1) helping instructors contextualize learning by providing real-world exposure through guided, hands-on internships in authentic bioscience industry/organizational settings; (2) demonstrating key competencies and critical bioscience workforce skills to help instructors prepare students for technical coursework geared to industry standards; (3) making meaningful associations between classroom and workplace by producing inquiry-based curriculum materials that integrate valid bioscience concepts and processes; (4) enabling instructors to generate a better-prepared workforce and highlight new career opportunities; and (5) producing a replicable model for adoption by community colleges across the country.
Broader impacts of this initiative include developing and implementing an innovative professional development model that (1) utilizes multi-institutional partnerships to enable high-impact instructors to further understand industry principles and prepare them to guide their students toward careers in today's workforce; (2) generates and sustains collaborations among community colleges, research universities and industry to increase successful participation in technology preparation programs; (3) promotes significant and lasting improvements in the educational community's ability to meet regional workforce goals; and (4) encourages presentations at appropriate conferences and provides for replication at other community colleges across the country.