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Working Connections Think Tank Track Review


What happens when you bring 17 educators together, mix in proven processes and tools and stir in a large dash of imagination and ideas? We call that “The Think Tank”!

At the National CTC, we are often asked to share the processes and tools we have developed on business engagement, student recruitment and retention, faculty development and community of practice. At the suggestion of one of our partners, Ed Suniga of Lansing Community College, we decided to offer a week of information sharing, training, brainstorming and skills development as “The Think Tank” track at Summer Working Connections in Texas.

The soup-to-nuts topics began with how to develop a fully-engaged Business and Industry Leadership Team, along with gathering job skills businesses need and mapping them to course outcomes, followed by how to develop STEM summer camps. Participants also learned about career coach strategies, recruitment and retention ideas and resources, student portfolios (electronic) and virtual internships.

We also covered personality/communication preferences in working and negotiating with others and learned how to “close the deal” with futurist Carolyn Corbin. Gordon Snyder, former director of the National ICT Center, shared social media strategies, and Scott Veibell facilitated a tour of Cisco in Richardson.

We also covered stackable certificates, virtual labs, open source curriculum and community of practice.

Interspersed among the varied topics were ice breakers and energy booster exercises that instructors can use with their students. Each was also given an Idea Stick where they captured key ideas they learned or developed during the week.

At the final session, each person shared what they learned and ideas they plan to implement when they return to their home campuses.

Kudos to co-facilitator and presenter Ann Beheler and coordinator Mark Dempsey. We had a blast pulling this together and plan to offer this unique track again.

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