At the 2019 High Impact Technology Exchange Conference (HITEC) in St Louis, the National Convergence Technology Center’s (CTC) Business and Industry Leadership Team model was honored with the “Innovative Program Award.” The award seeks to honor programs that boost student success in technology programs. Dr. Ann Beheler, the CTC’s Principal Investigator and Collin College’s Executive Director of Emerging Technology Grants, accepted the award. On hand to help introduce Ann and was Collin College Vice President/Provost Dr. Don Weasenforth. Ann was also joined on stage by a number of members of the CTC’s BILT and CTC staff. You can view the video here.
Earlier in the conference, Ann hosted a breakout panel session on the BILT model. Here are some of the discussion points from that session.
- There are too many facets of IT for one business group to successfully steer all IT curriculum. Create sub-groups of their BILT by discipline.
- Once a year your BILT should vote on the job skills they want your graduates to have. Structured voting creates useful and actionable metrics via a spreadsheet tally. A discussion isn’t as useful.
- After you’ve done the BILT vote, your faculty should take the vote results and cross-reference to curriculum to be sure those skills are being taught. If there are gaps, adjustments can be made.
- Faculty are the curriculum experts. The BILT recommends the job skills, but faculty still determine how best to teach those skills and where.
- Make sure the BILT feels valued and heard. Always report back and let the BILT know what you did with their recommendations. And if you can’t do what they ask, tell them – they may be able to help.
- Your annual job skills vote needs to happen in real time. No off-line surveys. The discussion in the room during the vote has huge value, especially for faculty.
- If the BILT feels like their recommendations are being ignored, their commitment will erode.
- Your BILT should meet more than once a year. Strive for three times a year (spring, summer, fall) to deepen relationships and engagements. Avoid “out of sight, out of mind.” Once a year is not enough.
- Always set aside time on your meeting agenda for the BILT to talk about industry & workforce trends. Give faculty advance notice of what’s emerging (outside of the annual job skills vote).
If you’re interested in employing the BILT model, consider…
- Scheduling more frequent BILT meetings (web meetings are okay).
- Inviting faculty to attend the BILT meeting.
- Allowing the BILT members ample time at each meeting to share their perspectives on future trends.
- Conducting annual job skills validation votesin real-time. Avoid emails and surveys that lack discussion time.
- Assisting faculty to crosswalk the BILT’s job skills rankings to curriculum and make adjustments as needed to fill any gaps.
- Reporting back to the BILT on what you’ve done with their recommendations. Make them feel valued.
Learn more about the “Innovative Program Award” and the BILT model here. You can also download the “BILT toolkit” (a comprehensive 12-page document explaining how the BILT model works and how you can implement it at your college) here.