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Growing a flower, scaling a program


As part of an Advanced Technology Education (ATE) Center funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Convergence Technology Center (CTC) recently participated in an initiative called Synergy.  It’s through that program that we learned tools and processes to scale our Mentored College program, which is now called the Convergence College Network.

Through a process described by Chris Dede of Harvard University, we learned steps to increase the number of colleges in our network without increasing the size of grant staff to support it.  The scaling principals include: depth, sustainability, spread, shift and evolution, as exhibited in the flower example pictured above.

Here’s how it worked for us:

  • The single “depth” flower represents the original Mentored College Network and the understanding of what are the most important components of the program.
  • The “sustainability” flower exhibits the test of time to prove that the Mentored College Program worked.
  • The “spread” example of multiple flowers shows how the Mentored College Network grew to encompass several colleges who were “mentored” in groups rather that exclusively as individuals.
  • The “shift” illustration of a bouquet in a vase describes that the original network (flower) has now been adopted by many colleges and adapted to meet their needs, separate from the original intent of mentoring.
  • The final “evolution” to a variety of flowers shows how the network evolved from pure mentoring to a community of practice now called the Convergence College Network, where members mentor others, develop curriculum, make presentations and help design and develop the future of the network (Three Levels of Participation.)

To learn more about our Convergence College Network or to join, visit our website.

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