Request for College Proposals
Frequently Asked Questions
When is the grant proposal deadline?
The deadline is COB local time, Thursday, June 25, 2021. The complete application package should be submitted electronically in a single file in PDF format labeled “CollegeName_MentorLinks_2021” and uploaded through the Request for Proposals: MentorLinks Colleges submission link at www.aacc.nche.edu/Mentorlinks.
Who is eligible to apply to be a MentorLinks College for the MentorLinks program?
Mentorlinks is only open to AACC member colleges and to community college programs that are not currently funded through the National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program.
What fields of study are eligible for MentorLinks funding?
Mentorlinks is open to projects for program development or enhancement in the following STEM fields: advanced manufacturing technologies, agricultural and environmental technologies, bio and chemical technologies, engineering technologies, information and security technologies, and micro and nanotechnologies.
What if my college has received ATE funding in the past
Colleges are eligible if it is a new program or enhancement in a STEM field that was not previously funded by NSF.
What is the amount awarded?
Grant awards will be made for a total of $20,000 for the two-year grant period. The grant period is October 1, 2021 – November 30, 2023.
Does this funding include travel costs?
AACC will cover travel costs for the project director to attend two project meetings to be held in conjunction with the national ATE Principal Investigators’ Conferences currently scheduled to take place in Washington, DC (as permissible). The dates for the project meetings and conferences are: October 25 – 27, 2022 and October 24 – 27, 2023.
How do colleges receive their funds?
Colleges submit proposed budgets annually to the ATE project director for approval. Quarterly expense reports are submitted to AACC for disbursement of funds.
What support should MentorLinks funding include?
Colleges are strongly encouraged to budget for release time for the program director as necessary to implement program changes or development. Colleges are required to support the work of the second team member including attendance at two project conferences in Washington, DC, if permissible to travel, either through institutional or MentorLinks grant funds.
Can I change my proposed grant budget after receiving a MentorLinks grant?
Yes, AACC gives complete flexibility in proposing changes to the submitted budget to account for travel and other considerations. At the October 2021 project meeting, AACC staff will go over the budget process and will request an updated budget for year 1 of the grant from each college.
Who are the MentorLinks Mentors?
A team of mentors, identified through a national selection process, will work with MentorLinks colleges. Mentors have expertise in their STEM disciplines, strong credentials, and extensive experience in planning and implementing advanced technology programs.
Can I propose or select my own mentor?
No, AACC will select and pair mentors and colleges to maximize the effectiveness of the mentoring relationship.
What is the college’s role in the mentoring relationship?
College applicants must commit to working in a mentoring relationship. Proposals should identify clearly the program to be developed or strengthened; address the need for the proposed program or program modification; identify proposed activities and outcomes; and describe existing assets, such as current financial and intellectual support from business, community, and other education partners. A description of a recent need analysis would be beneficial. Applicants must explain how they would work with a mentor and how a mentor might assist them.
What is a site visit?
As part of the professional development for this grant, Mentees are required to host their mentor in person or virtually for one institutional site visit, ensuring that the mentor meets with the college’s key stakeholders in the proposed program. Note: If the site visit is held in person, the college is not obligated to pay travel costs for the mentor as AACC will pay those costs.
In addition, colleges will conduct one site visit to the assigned mentor’s college (virtual or in person). Travel expenses for the college team to go to the mentor’s institution or visits to other institutions should be paid from the MentorLinks grant or other institutional funds. Colleges can estimate expenses and will have the opportunity to revise their budgets once they are awarded and learn who their mentor is and where they are located.
Who should be on the MentorLinks team?
Colleges must commit to the direct involvement of a two-person team: one faculty member in an academic/occupational science, technology, engineering, or mathematics field of study, and one administrator with oversight responsibility for that program.
What national meetings must the team attend either virtually or in-person?
Colleges should plan to participate in a virtual MentorLinks project meeting on October 14-15, 2021, followed by participation in a virtual track of the 2021 ATE Principal Investigators’ Conference on October 20-22. They must also plan to participate in two additional project meetings held in conjunction with two annual national ATE Principal Investigators’ Conferences currently scheduled to take place in Washington, DC on October 25-28, 2022 and October 24-27, 2023 (if travel is permissible).
How will MentorLinks colleges proposal be reviewed?
Proposals will be evaluated in a peer review process with additional input from AACC and its partners.
What are the key review criteria?
Proposals must identify clearly the challenge to be addressed, approaches to be taken, and expected outcomes. Proposals will be reviewed based on program design, institutional capacity and sustainability, and evaluation.
How many community colleges will be selected for the MentorLinks project?
Up to 10 community colleges will be selected to be part of the MentorLinks program.
When will we hear if our college has been accepted?
MentorLinks colleges will be notified of their acceptance by August 2, 2021.