The National Convergence Technology Center (CTC) recently helped promote a unique “boot camp” workshop for IWITTS (the National Institute for Women in Trades, Technology and Science) to deliver in-depth recruiting and retention strategies to select community college teams. Three schools ultimately participated in the workshop: two from Texas, one from Maryland. Each fielded a team of between 5 and 10 members, comprised of both faculty and staff. Each team met at their own location.
While the content from IWITTS was delivered on-line (both real-time lectures by IWITTS director Donna Milgram and pre-recorded videos) to the three schools’ respective locations, most of the work was done in the room by the community college teams. The goal was to walk away from the three-day workshop with customized recruitment and retention plans developed by the teams using the IWITTS tools. Additional follow-up calls with IWITTS staff are scheduled for later this spring to check on the schools’ success at implementing the plans.
El Centro College in Dallas is a member of the CTC’s Convergence College Network (CCN) community of practice and a partner on the CTC’s NSF grant. El Centro is a Hispanic Service Institution. In many ways, El Centro provided the ideal boot camp candidate: El Centro assembled a diverse team of faculty, administrators, and advisors. We talked to IT instructor Belicia Miraval Albornoz about her experiences with her team and with the IWITTS boot camp. Belicia reports that simply gathering all of those people together in the same room provided benefit. Many of El Centro’s advisors didn’t know much about the IT program; now they’re experts ready to preach the value of IT to incoming and current students. But more importantly, Belicia says the boot camp energized discussions at El Centro about recruiting and retention and has led to concrete goals within the school. She credits the IWITTS program for instilling structure and accountability. Belicia also appreciates Donna Milgram’s suggestion that Ell Centro first focus recruiting and retention efforts on a single program rather than a whole department. So they’ll start small and then expand their goals. In sum, Belicia says there are conversations and cooperations happening at El Centro that weren’t happening before the IWITTS boot camp.
If you’re interested in taking advantage of some of IWITTS’ resources, click here.