ATE National Visiting Committee Handbook, 2nd edition 2017— The Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program funds targeted research, projects, and centers to improve technological education at the undergraduate and secondary school levels. This National Science Foundation (NSF) program’s goals are to “produce more qualified science and engineering technicians to meet workforce demands and improve the technical skills and the general science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) preparation of these technicians and the educators who prepare them” (NSF 17-568).
ATE centers are required to have a National Visiting Committee (NVC). In general, NVCs are like the advisory committees that many NSF-funded projects already have. However, a key difference is that an NVC reports directly to NSF, as well as to the center they serve. NVCs are expected to prepare written reports and share them with center staff for review and comment. The final reports are then submitted to the center’s NSF program officer.
The following is an excerpt from the 2017 ATE program solicitation:
For ATE center proposals, the budget should include provisions for a National Visiting Committee (NVC) to visit the center at least on an annual basis. An NVC is a group of experts who provide advice to the project staff, assess the plans and progress of the project (and make reports both to the project leadership and to NSF), and enhance the dissemination of the project’s products. Typically, ATE centers enlist eight to ten members. The proposal should include only the names of NVC members who have agreed to serve should an award be made. After an award is made, an NSF program officer will work with the grantee to finalize NVC membership. The proposal should address how the NVC will be used in the project. (NSF 17-568, p. 11)
ATE center personnel should think of their NVC as a group of “critical friends.” The NVC’s role is to help centers enhance their strengths and provide advice for how to address challenges. It is important to establish collegial and professional relationships to make this process work..