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Meet the Challenge with Community Makerspace Partners
At Sierra College, engaging community college students and faculty in makerspaces, and growing the maker and entrepreneurial mindset to develop creative, passionate, curious, and persistent life-long learners and educators, is essential to preparing students for future employment and satisfying lives. Rigid academic systems and quick-changing, resourceful students will be (or already are) at odds with each other. The skills and needs of employers are changing so rapidly that a college degree may be outdated even before a student graduates. The Sierra College project includes three campuses (Rocklin, Grass Valley and Truckee) and three private makerspace partners (Hacker Lab, Curious Forge, Truckee Roundhouse) in a bold initiative to transform what we teach and how we teach.
Strategy Behind Sierra Makerspaces
Sierra College Makerspaces has a strategy of student-led engagement and leadership development.
- Internships: We believe that integrating internships with the makerspace will better prepare students for internships in STEM/STEAM careers.
- Makerspaces: For Sierra College, we’ve taken the approach of partnering with three community makerspaces (Hacker Lab, Curious Forge and Truckee Roundhouse) that collectively comprise 21,000 square feet and more than $375,000 in equipment to serve their respective campuses and communities.
- Curriculum: We have found that faculty mentoring and professional development are key components for the integration of Making into curriculum.
- Community: With a deliberate philosophy of design thinking, leadership, civic responsibility and innovation, our project will create inclusive makerspaces to connect the three campuses to industry and community partners.
June 2018 Update of Sierra Makerspaces
Internships: Through outreach, 258 students attended presentations, 35 students signed up for pre-placement training. Students completed eight hours of New World of Work training, developed resumes and Linked In profiles and earned badges. By June 30, 2018, nine had been placed internships with more planned for the summer. Six employers were recruited to host interns.
Makerspaces: Makerspace scholarships were granted to 32 students from Bus 141, Mech 90 and Robotics club members. Four student showcase events included Mechatronics for Humanity, Business Entrepreneurship pitches with a guest speaker from Jakarta, Startup Hustle and student light boxes. Five “Crafternoons” attracted over 60 faculty and family attendees. There were 19 community engagement events involving 442 students, ranging from providing assistance in prototyping customized key guards for people with disabilities and collaborating with a photography professor and students to take Linked In profile photos for those seeking internships to delivering a three hour solar lantern class for Girls Scouts and participating in the Truckee Roundhouse Community Maker Faire attended by more than 1300 people.
Curriculum: Sierra College faculty attended the CCC Maker Symposium on maker curriculum development. At the Truckee campus, a textile project was integrated into a psychology course and a new course was developed to integrate digitally produced art into fabricated projects at the makerspace. In Nevada County, the college and Curious Forge are conceptualizing an industry-responsive metals micro-certificate. In partnership with the Truckee Tahoe Unified School District, professional development curriculum is being created for maker educators. Strong Workforce funding is supporting the development of three non-credit courses in 21st Century Skills, Starting a Small Business and Rapid Prototyping for Product Design.
Community: Student-maker-in-residence positions were created to connect the campuses to the makerspaces and three student employees served as outreach ambassadors. Students and faculty attended the Bay Area Maker Faire, presented a table at the Friday Industry, Career & College Day and took the lead in organizing the CCC Maker booth at the event. Eleven faculty development events were held and over 20 faculty were involved.