CREATING A GIS PROGRAM AT A COMMUNITY COLLEGE USING MentorLinks FUNDING
The process of developing a GIS program began 2 years ago. We applied for and were awarded an Association of American Community Colleges (AACC) funded MentorLinks Grant. The AACC funds MentorLinks as part of its Advanced Technological Education (ATE) grant from the NSF. MentorLinks serves to enhance existing technical programs or start new technician education programs. A $15K, two-year grant was awarded to LLCC and a mentor, a fellow community college educator, was assigned to help guide the process. The mentor provides insight into problems and solutions that arise in the process of creating a new program, as well as working as a liaison to help explain the process to administration and technical support.
With support of our administration, we designed our first course, Introduction to GIS and purchased a site license of ESRI software. The development of the GIS program has been a learning experience, but with the advice from our mentor and much perseverance, we successfully taught our first course. We are now in the process of refining this course, as well as working with the local workforce and other area community colleges to design a series of courses that will meet the needs of both members of our community as well as our traditional students who will be continuing their education at a transfer school.