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Award Detail

Awardee:DEL MAR COLLEGE DISTRICT
Doing Business As Name:Del Mar College
PD/PI:
  • Phillip Davis
  • (361) 698-1126
  • pdavis@delmar.edu
Co-PD(s)/co-PI(s):
  • Michael J Starek Dr.
  • David H Hattox
Award Date:06/17/2016
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 788,027
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 788,027
  • FY 2016=$788,027
Start Date:09/01/2016
End Date:08/31/2020
Transaction Type:Grant
Agency:NSF
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.076
Primary Program Source:040106 NSF Education & Human Resource
Award Title or Description:Unmanned Aircraft Systems Technology Education Consortium (UASTEC)
Federal Award ID Number:1601785
DUNS ID:063067359
Parent DUNS ID:063067359
Program:Advanced Tech Education Prog
Program Officer:
  • John Jackman
  • (703) 292-4816
  • jjackman@nsf.gov

Awardee Location

Street:101 Baldwin
City:Corpus Christi
State:TX
ZIP:78404-3805
County:Corpus Christi
Country:US
Awardee Cong. District:27

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:Del Mar College
Street:
City:
State:TX
ZIP:78404-3897
County:Corpus Christi
Country:US
Cong. District:27

Abstract at Time of Award

Geospatial Technology (GST) is a general term that relates to the use of technology for collection and processing of geospatial data in a variety of contexts and applications. GST applications range from environmental monitoring and remote sensing to drug and law enforcement, pipeline inspection, agriculture and ranch management. With the widespread availability of high resolution satellite imagery equipment, desktop software for Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and inexpensive Global Positioning Systems (GPS) receivers, geospatial technologies are currently at the forefront of the revolution in the acquisition and analysis of critical data that impacts daily life. An integral part of geospatial technology equipment is the unmanned aircraft system (UAS) also known as the "drone". UAS are subsystems used to collect aerial data, hence they include instruments such as digital cameras, sensors and radiometers. The goal of the proposed project is to improve geospatial technology education at the community and technical college level to increase the number, diversity, and quality of geospatial technology professionals. This is achieved primarily through the establishment of a unique broad-based consortium of key stakeholders called the Unmanned Aircraft System Technology Education Consortium (UASTEC). The members of the consortium are Del Mar College (DMC, a public two year community college), Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi (TAMUCC) a 4-year institution, the Camber Corporation (a DOD contractor) and the Lone Star UAS Center of Excellence. The UASTEC project will create a new four-course DMC certificate in UAS Technology that can be earned in as little as two semesters. The new UAS curriculum will prepare technicians to assist in the maintenance and operation of expensive UAS equipment with a solid understanding of the technology and regulatory requirements for their legal commercial operation. The project simultaneously emphasizes both career and technical education and workforce professional development. Through an articulation agreement with TAMUCC, the DMC UAS certificate will transfer seamlessly. The GST workforce will be able to enroll in the UAS Certificate program through a continuing education arrangement that bypasses tedious college application processes while permitting academic college credit for a nominal fee. Additionally, the project reaches out to high schools to train secondary school teachers in UAS in order to give high-school students the opportunity to earn college credit by enrollment in dual-credit college level GIS courses.


Project Outcomes Report

Disclaimer

This Project Outcomes Report for the General Public is displayed verbatim as submitted by the Principal Investigator (PI) for this award. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this Report are those of the PI and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation; NSF has not approved or endorsed its content.

Overview

The UASTEC project has concluded its active award period (August 2016?July 2020) by meeting its goals and objectives.  The project endeavored to create a sustainable technician education program leading to industry certification and academic credentials.  It has achieved both goals as demonstrated by our UASTEC graduates obtaining their FAA Part 107 UAS Operators license at a 95% pass rate on first attempt and the number of UAS graduates awarded our UAS Level 1 Occupational Skills Award degree.  The project has created three new unique courses in unmanned aerial technology that are now incorporated into our long-standing Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) degree program and department course inventory.  The courses have been continuously updated during the project to reflect incremental changes and improvement in both the UAS hardware and software technology used in the program.  The UAS curriculum has been shared and cataloged with the NSF ATE-Central repository for widespread dissemination in coming years.  The UAS academic program has been finalized and approved by our college-wide curriculum committee.  The state of Texas is allowing us to teach the new courses under an innovative course exemption until they can be officially added to the state-approved catalogue during the 2020-21 academic calendar.  Our students enjoy training on the latest in UAS hardware and software platforms thanks to the funds provided for their procurement by the UASTEC award.  Our graduates are receiving the latest in UAS skills and knowledge as demonstrated by their high pass rate of the FAA Part 107 industry credential following a rigorous proctored exam on theory and practice. 

Challenges

The project experienced several unforeseen challenges that serve as lessons for future proposers of cutting-edge technology.  We encountered difficulty in getting wide-spread adoption of our UAS courses in secondary school dual-credit courses.  The state of Texas and individual school districts are ill-equipped to adopt to rapidly changing technology in their curriculum process.  The secondary school system has weak bonds with the workforce and industry leading to a disconnect between the needs of the workforce and the graduates of the school system.  We had a difficulty getting our local school districts to accept UAS technology into their career and technology education (CTE) tracks because their curriculum process was mandated from their board of managers or state, neither of which were quick nor in alignment with current workforce needs.  Future proposers of leading-edge technology should plan for a possible large gap in time before the secondary system will accept their higher-education technology programs.

Partnerships

The project enjoyed a very positive and fruitful relationship with industry and organization support, at the local, state and national levels.  We developed a well-attended advisory board structure with local employers that meets frequently and provides numerous opportunities for our students and graduates with internships and employment.  At the state level, we worked with the national AUVSI organization (http://www.auvsi.org) to establish a state chapter of the professional organization with a focus on Texas-based issues.  We have sustaining relationships with the state Esri industry users group (http://scaug.org), the national URISA professional group (http://urisa.org) and numerous other state and national non-profit organizations.

In order to expand our UAS courses beyond the academic classroom, we incorporated our curriculum with our Workforce Development office to offer the courses to our local first responders, such as the Corpus Christi Fire Department and Nueces County Emergency Agency, as non-credit short courses.  These economic courses contain the same technical content and are offered in a variety of formats: F2F, hybrid F2F + online and pure online.  We are achieving similar passing rate for the FAA Part 107 UAS license for our workforce non-credit graduates.

Sustainable Broader Impacts

The UASTEC curriculum and capacity-building efforts will be leveraged into our next proposed NSF-funded effort?the Artificial Intelligence to Environmental Science (AI2ES) national institute proposal.  This $20M national consortium of Tier 1 research universities (University of Oklahoma and Texas A&M University) invited Del Mar College UASTEC CoPIs to serve as senior researchers in the forthcoming institute (July 2020?July 2025).  We will be tasked with creating new courses on AI for two-year college undergraduates and will be utilizing modules from our existing UASTEC courses as building blocks for the new AI courses.  We expect this effort to ensure the UASTEC curriculum remains state-of-the-art through at least 2025 and expands its broader impact well beyond the state border of Texas into the national level.

 


Last Modified: 06/24/2020
Modified by: Phillip Davis

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