School may be winding down for the many community colleges and universities the National Convergence Technology Center (CTC) works with during the year, but there is no extended summer break for the CTC.
Here’s a rundown of what we’ll be working on these next few months…
- KSA update – When the National Business and Industry Leadership Team (BILT) met on May 8, the group one-by-one examined a list of IT entry-level job skill areas, which we also call the “KSAs” for knowledge, skills, and abilities. As usual, it was a lively, fast-paced meeting. Changes were made, both in adding new recommendations and in deleting outdated details. The CTC is hard at work now finalizing the many revisions to that KSA spreadsheet with the goal of publishing it in early September so that IT programs can use it with their own local BILTs in discussing job skill needs. The point, as regular blog readers know, is to make sure that the job skills students are learning align with the job skills employers need in new hires.
- Professional development – The biggest event of the CTC’s year is its annual Summer Working Connections training event. Educators visit Texas from all over the country to spend five days (July 16-20) diving deep into a specific IT topic area. The goal is to take what they learn back to their home schools for immediate implementation, either by creating a new class or by updating an existing class. Most (75% over the last four years) attendees pick a topic they weren’t already teaching. This summer, the six tracks are Big Data analysis and Visualization, CySA+, Firewall Essentials, Integrating Hybrid Cloud, Preparing to Teach the Internet of Things, and vSphere 6.5. As of now, almost 100 instructors from 23 states have registered for this event. A few seats are still available if you are interested. Learn more here.
Note also a companion Summer Working Connections event running a month earlier (June 18-22) at Florida State College Jacksonville and offering tracks on Microsoft Server and Python Programming. Learn more about that training here.
- Community meeting – The CTC manages an engaged group of 64 community colleges and universities from across the country called the Convergence College Network (CCN). This group of IT faculty and administrators meets each quarter to share resources and know-how. Typically, those meetings run 90 minutes by web meeting. But once a year, in conjunction with the Summer Working Connections event, the CCN convenes in the same room for a longer, more in-depth meeting (and dinner) that often features special activities and guest speakers. One of the more popular elements of these meetings is “lightning round” sharing in which CCN faculty spend five minutes presenting a best practice or success story to the larger group. Those who aren’t in Texas for Summer Working Connections can call in and participate in the meeting remotely.
- HI-TEC conference – Immediately after Summer Working Connections (July is a busy month), the CTC staff travels to the HI-TEC conference, which focuses on two-year community colleges and technical training. This year’s event (July 24-27 in Miami) will feature a wide variety of participation from the CTC and CCN member schools. This includes a Tuesday morning workshop showcasing IT virtual labs; a special Friday morning training session on writing competitive ATE grant proposals; two student posters displaying IT projects they’ve developed; and an exhibit hall booth to disseminate CTC best practices and resources. All of that is in addition to 11 different breakout sessions led by CTC staff or CCN faculty members, including a session on the BILT model that maximizes the relationship between educators, and business and a panel discussion of a new “Diversity Summit” program that supported customized inclusion strategies at nine institutions from February 2017-June 2018.
- Website revision – The CTC will also be spending time updating the CTC website to make it more useful and engaging to better serve the grant goals of dissemination. This includes not just the addition of more attractive graphic elements, but also some text revisions and a reorganization of menus and pages.
How will you be spending your summer? September will be here before you know it.