The Applied Baccalaureate Degree: An Emerging Pathway to Technician Education


The overarching goal of this research was to provide college administrators and instructors, employers, and researchers with up-to-date, detailed information about how AB degree programs in STEM fields, particularly those affiliated with NSF-ATE centers and projects, operate through partnerships and meet students’ and employers’ workforce needs.

Researchers took a three-phase approach to investigating NSF-ATE-related applied baccalaureate degrees, including a landscape study and inventory of applied baccalaureate projects and affiliated centers within the universe of NSF-ATE, a participatory field study methodology intended to gather in-depth information on identified programs, partnerships, and centers, and a continual dissemination phase, which included webinars, seminars, workshops, conference presentations, and other professional development opportunities during all research phases and the year following the second phase.

Project Profile

The Applied Baccalaureate Degree: An Emerging Pathway to Technician Education was a project sponsored by the National Science Foundation‘s Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program. This project was designed to examine the phenomenon of applied baccalaureate (AB) degrees in the United States, by documenting and evaluating NSF-ATE’s impact on technician education in the form of new and emerging AB degree programs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.

project-profileProject Profile. The Applied Baccalaureate Degree: An Emerging Pathway to Technician Education

Select Presentations


National Perspective and Research on Applied Baccalaureate Degrees
Applied Baccalaureate Association, Seattle, WA, November 4, 2014
Dr. Debra Bragg

Demonstrating Program Quality: Lessons Learned from Applied Baccalaureate Degree Pathways
High Impact Technology Exchange Conference, Austin, TX, July 24, 2012
Explored how key stakeholders of AB degree programs establish, demonstrate, improve, and communicate program quality.
Julia Panke Makela, Collin M. Ruud, & Deborah Boisvert
Recording | Presentation | Handout 

Applied Baccalaureate Degree Pathways: Emerging Opportunities in Technician Education in STEM Fields
National Career Development Association, Atlanta, GA, June 22, 2012
Informed career development professionals about developments in AB degree pathways to enhance work with clients.
Julia Panke Makela

The National Landscape for Applied Baccalaureate Degrees in STEM Fields
Community College Baccalaureate Association International Conference, Philadelphia, PA, March 3, 2012
Preliminary findings from the project’s first phase of research.
Debra D. Bragg & Julia Panke Makela


Emergence Amid Uncertainty: Applied Baccalaureate Degrees in STEM Technician Education
May 17, 2012
Findings from the first major phase of the research project.
Julia Panke Makela, Collin M. Ruud, and Chris Mullin
Presentation | Recording

Exploring the Landscape: Identifying Pathways to Baccalaureate Degrees in Technician Education
October 6, 2011
Findings related to the project’s early survey work.
Debra D. Bragg, Julia Panke Makela, James Jacobs, & Barbara Anderegg

External Evaluation

External evaluation for OCCRL’s research on AB degree pathways in STEM fields and technician education was provided by EvalWorksView a summary of the review of our first technical report.

External Review of Research. The Applied Baccalaureate Degree: An Emerging Pathway to Technician Education
June 2015
Amy Germuth
Technical Report

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