The most important element for a successful Makerspace is appropriate and adequate staffing for the site and its support.
Not that it isn’t important to have a variety of necessary and sought-after tools. But without the people needed to keep the facility open and to spread the word, the tools don’t matter.
That’s among the key takeaways from a Jan. 4 presentation by two members of the College of the Canyons Makerspace team to about 30 faculty and staff members at Moorpark College.
Physics and astronomy professor Teresa Ciardi and Makespace coordinator Christopher Walker spoke before about 30 Moorpark staff members during the college’s spring professional development day. Ciardi, who is the college’s lead faculty makerspace coordinator, and Walker described the Canyons Makerspace, brought sample projects for display and answered questions from Moorpark faculty.
College of the Canyons opened its makerspace in mid-2016 in a former faculty lounge in the college’s campus center. In the ensuing months, the space has developed strong student demand, allowing its supporters to lobby the college for additional room which will come online this year. The expanded makerspace will encompass 2,052 square feet in three adjoining rooms.
Both College of the Canyons and Moorpark College are among the 24 California community colleges to be part of the CCC Maker grant, which will provide funding for up to two years to help develop and grow makerspaces.
Key elements in the process of developing makerspaces include student internships, curriculum and equipment, according the Ciardi and Walker. But the most significant element is people, they say. Those people include staff to keep the spaces open, campus faculty, and community and business members of the makerspace’s advisory committee.
For each makerspace, the person power is needed to expand hours, to help develop connected curriculum, to prepare students for internships and to increase awareness, according to the presentation.
The College of the Canyons team consists of five faculty coordinators, a makerspace coordinator, three hourly workers and six student workers.
In addition to its staffing, the COC Makerspace includes a variety of equipment. The facility includes:
- Solder and testing stations
- Laser etcher/cutter
- Small and medium format 3d printers
- Table saw
- 3-axis computer numerical control mill
- Drill press
- Scroll saw
- Air compressors
- Hand and power tools
- Drum sander
Recently acquired equipment includes a larger laser cutter and 3D printer. The upcoming expansion will also add a band saw, belt sander, large drill press and several power tools and tool kits.
Also visiting Moorpark College for the presentation was Michael Bastine, a deputy sector navigator for advanced manufacturing, a liaison between education and industry through the Strong Workforce Initiative.
After the formal presentation in a classroom, the presenters and the audience members moved to a 3D design and sculpture studio that is being used as a makerspace for a tour and discussion, questions and answers. Moorpark faculty members appeared to appreciate the presentation and the makerspace effort, according to comments in written evaluations of the session.
“One of the most exciting new items on campus,” wrote one. “I’m considering some ideas for curriculum development that would incorporate the makerspace,” wrote another.