MIMIC Project Workshop Draws Instructors Nationwide:

NSF-Funded Workshop on Designing Multidisciplinary Projects

Illinois Valley Community College’s Making Industry Meaningful In College (MIMIC) project was the focus of a workshop at Starved Rock Lodge & Conference Center May 21 – 23, 2008. Twenty participants, from as far away as North Carolina and Nevada, learned to develop similar projects at their schools and colleges.

The award-winning MIMIC project teams students in engineering design, electronics and business into student "companies" that design, prototype, manufacture, market and sell products. The multi-disciplinary student teams simulate a business / industry environment. The project emphasizes workplace skills including communication, critical thinking, teamwork and problem solving.

A National Science Foundation grant, which has been supporting the project for the past three years, also funded the workshop.

"The NSF asked us to offer the workshop to encourage more schools to provide similar workplace preparation to their students," said Dorene Perez, workshop coordinator and Program Coordinator of Computer Aided Design/Computer Aided Engineering at IVCC.

Project plans developed during the workshop are being assembled into a book that will be distributed through the NSF.

Workshop participants included high school and community college administrative staff members and faculty in a variety of subject areas. Participants from the local area were: Connie Schwingle and Shawn Schwingle from LaSalle-Peru High School, Susan Drew from the Area Career Center, David Lasser from Hall High School, Pat Marquis and Tad Smith from Princeton High School, and Tracey O’Fallon from Ottawa High School.

Participants also included staff from Lewis and Clark Community College, South Suburban College, Heartland Community College, Lyons Township High School, Hinsdale High School and the Technology Center of DuPage, all in Illinois; the College of Southern Nevada in North LasVegas; and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Keynote speakers for the workshop were Dr. Hans A. Andrews of Ottawa and Dr. Charles R. Novak, of DuQuoin, Ill., both former Presidents of IVCC. Workshop sessions were taught by IVCC staff members: Bob Reese, business professor and MIMIC project business supervisor; Sue Caley Opsal, anatomy and physiology professor; Koshu Jagasia; English professor; and Mary Smith, educational technologist.

Co-coordinators of the workshop were Jim Gibson, Program Coordinator of Electronics, and Rose Marie Lynch, communications instructor. Perez, Gibson and Lynch are Principal Investigators on the NSF grant which funded the workshop.