Thu, 24 May 2007
Introduction: Mike Lesiecki is the Founding Director and PI for the
MATEC ( http://matec.org ), an NSF national center. With its partners in education and industry, MATEC develops programs, materials, and training that enables students, faculty, and technicians to continuously master the evolving competencies in science, mathematics, technology, and communications required by the workforce of the semiconductor, automated manufacturing, and electronics industries. MATEC is located in Tempe, Arizona.
Mike Q: Mike, what is the history of MATEC and how has it evolved over the course of its funding?
MATEC was established in 1996 as the 7th ATE center (today there are 33.) The center is a member of the division of academic affairs at
the college. Initially founded in close collaboration with the semiconductor
manufacturing industry the center made a strategic decision to expand
to electronics and highly automated manufacturing to better serve its
Today MATEC is an umbrella organization with distinct strategies to
develop relevant materials, provide faculty professional development
and to encourage awareness for high tech fields
The center houses the MATEC national resource center called
MATEC Networks as well as projects in highly automated
manufacturing and electronics funded by the NSF. Industry sponsors a
unique career awareness program called high tech U that is produced
by the center. The SAME-TEC national conference will be held for
the 11th year this summer in Dallas.
As you can see the center has evolved fro m a single focus to a
multiple project, multiple funding source model all designed to
support technical education at the community college level
First 10 years to develop material, next 4 years after that to disseminate
material, what has he done to make sure MATEC was successful in both of those endeavors.
First and foremost was the use of industry subject matter experts
coupled with our own instructional design and media people this
Just building the materials and electronic delivery system does not
mean people will come.
o We sponsored workshops and conferences for professional
development and we stressed incorporation of our materials into
o Our delivery system was web based from the beginning and
Networks, our resource center, now is designed for access to these
resources as well as national resources to help faculty find what they
need in a one stop fashion.
We seek strategic linkages with industry through SEMI, SIA, TPIC
and partners such as Intel and TI
Gordon: What are the products and services that make up the MATEC
We have adopted a modular approach and our core materials comprise
50 semiconductor, 24 electronic and 7 highly automated
Skill standards - Our NRC features these resources and others in a customized experience for faculty that includes unique opportunities for faculty externships.
Industry accesses our materials through a partnership with Semizone
- 10th and 11th graders experience high tech u
- Contracted expertise in curriculum development (SCME)
- Same-tec conference
MATEC's funding sources are wide, from NSF grants to industry projects.
Mike Q: How do all of those fit together to achieve MATEC's vision: to be the worldwide leader in education and industry collaboration, supporting the ongoing development of a highly skilled workforce?
I think the real key is the diversity of funding sources. We do not
depend on any single source. For example the Maricopa colleges fund
about 28% of our operations, grants about 50% and sales of products
and materials plus revenue from conferences and industry specific
projects provides the other 25%. That's the money side.
To support the ongoing development of the workforce it is all about
partnerships. Let me give you examples
o Albany NY
Also for partnership development our Resource center, MATEC
Networks under Kim Grady, has led the formation of a network of
ATE resource centers to help leverage their work and joint efforts.
In the end what does it mean to be a leader in this area? It means to
convene a partnership or to take on an initiative that no one school or
educational institution could do alone. And do this for the benefit of
Gordon: What is the rationale of Maricopa Community College District, a local community college, for supporting a national center in a local
We are very fortunate here, MATEC enjoys one of the highest level
of financial support given to a center by a host college. This is due in
part to the vision of the founding Chancellor and vice Chancellor,
now both retired, who felt a college could and should reach outside its
service boundaries and offer leadership on a national level. Today we
have a new administration and finances are tighter yet the
commitment to MATEC as an exemplary model is still very strong.
There are political questions that surround the roles and mission and
mission creep of a community college also.
This challenges us in turn to always look for ways to return value to
In the end the administration sees it as the right thing to do. For that
we are very thankful.
Mike Q: What's on the horizon?
Our national advisory board has nudged (well pushed) us towards the
topic of community college pathways to engineering degrees. This
idea is getting a lot of play and we hope to garner some significant
foundation support launch a national five year project. Stay tuned!