CCC Mechatronics Project Recognized

December 17, 2020

Central Community College has been named the winner of the 2019-20 Innovation of the Year Award by the League for Innovation in the Community College.

In announcing the awards, the League for Innovation in the Community College cited Doug Pauley, associate dean of training development; Dr. Nate Allen, dean of instruction; Susan Baer, administrative assistant; Dan Davidchik, mechatronics process instrumentation and control instructor; and Sharon Gutierrez, career coach, for creating and implementing the project.

CCC won the award for its Mechatronics with Instrumentation and Controls (MwIC) project to address Nebraska’s growing need for process instrumentation and control technicians. In collaboration with MwIC’s business and industry leadership team, the project developed a new instrumentation and control pathway as part of CCC’s mechatronics associate of applied sciences degree, making it the first two-year instrumentation program in Nebraska.

“CCC has worked with local industry and recognized the need for instrumentation technicians,” said Lynn Enderson, maintenance superintendent for Archer-Daniels-Midland (ADM). “ADM looks forward to adding graduates from the CCC mechatronics instrumentation pathway to our team in the coming years.”

Funded in part by a National Science Foundation grant, MwIC developed six new instrumentation courses, created a new state-of-the-art customized instrumentation and controls lab facility for hands-on learning, engaged secondary schools throughout Nebraska to increase awareness of mechatronics careers, and provided professional development for more than 100 secondary and college educators from 50 institutions while helping establish multiple scholarship and internship opportunities. Students also benefited from the more than $350,000 worth of equipment donated to the project by equipment manufacturers and CCC’s business partners, Pauley said.

As a result, mechatronics enrollment from the 2016-17 to the 2018-19 academic year increased by more than 25 percent.

“We have worked closely with our business and education partners to build the new instrumentation specialization and I’m pleased with the growth in our mechatronics program as a result,” said Davidchik. “I am especially excited about the potential to expand our enrollment even further with additional graduates from the new mechatronics pathway.”

“This award recognizes the positive thinking, innovation and responsiveness of CCC leaders to meet an identified industry need and prepare students for an exciting career in instrumentation,” said CCC-Columbus President Dr. Kathy Fuchser.