Skip to main content

Postsecondary CTE Research Fellows at NC State Will Support New Cohorts of Students Through 2025 with $1.3M Grant from ECMC Foundation

CTE Fellows

The NC State College of Education’s Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research will continue efforts to strengthen postsecondary career and technical education (CTE) at universities across the nation through a four-year, $1,354,331 grant from the ECMC Foundation.  

This project is part of a network of six fellowship programs known as the CTE Leadership Collaborative (LC).  Through grants made to leading organizations and institutions, the LC  supports leaders from a range of disciplines and a variety of approaches—known as ECMC Foundation Fellows (Fellows)—dedicated to improving postsecondary CTE.   

The Postsecondary CTE Research Fellows Program at the NC State College of Education was initially established in 2018 through a three-year, $2 million grant intended to enhance and strengthen postsecondary CTE research to improve student success. Since 2018, the CTE Research Fellows Program at NC State has supported a total of 47 research Fellows at the graduate and postdoctoral levels at 31 universities and institutions across the country to successfully publish, obtain grants, present, and further their careers in faculty and research positions.  

“The fellowship broadened my knowledge of CTE from a limited, local perspective to a more comprehensive national picture of the field,” said recent Fellow Adam Atwell. “The fellowship provided me the networks, tools, and skill sets needed to transition to a full-time senior research analyst role with Jobs for the Future (JFF) where we aim to move the needle of CTE student success and promote access to economic advancement for all.”  

The latest grant funding will allow the program to continue the development of Fellows through 2025. 

“The Postsecondary CTE Research Fellows Program provides a runway to help launch graduate students and early career researchers into positions that will enable them to continue to conduct high-quality research to improve postsecondary CTE,” said Associate Professor James Bartlett, who is the project’s principal investigator. “There are very few opportunities for graduate students and early career scholars focusing on postsecondary CTE to develop relationships with leaders, business professionals, researchers, journalists and data professionals. The ECMC Foundation’s CTE Leadership Collaborative is offering our Fellows these opportunities.”

Bartlett, who is the Past-President of the Association for Career and Technical Education Research, said, “The Fellows are making impacts and it is noticeable at the national level.  Prior to this project, the visibility of research on postsecondary CTE at major academic conferences has seen a decline and there has been a reduction of doctoral programs across the country that focus on the discipline. As a result, many early career researchers find themselves being the only person in their doctoral program studying postsecondary CTE and may not have a faculty member or mentor in their program with the expertise to support their research.  This program is creating a sense of community for those researchers.”

“The impact of the program on postsecondary CTE research has been noticeable through a drastic increase in the presence of postsecondary CTE research projects, presentations and publications at top-notch CTE outlets,” said Associate Teaching Professor Michelle Bartlett, who serves as a co-principal investigator on the project. “Continuing the program for three more cohorts will further strengthen the pipeline of upcoming postsecondary CTE research talent. The Fellows’ projects are impactful in improving postsecondary CTE and will add to the field in incredible ways.” 

Through the program, past Fellows engaged in research projects on a variety of topics related to postsecondary CTE, including perceptions of CTE, student access, degree attainment, learning, and labor market outcomes, impacts of CTE policy, and exploring how CTE addresses more significant societal problems such as economic mobility.   

Additionally, they had opportunities to participate in training institutes focused on postsecondary CTE research, webinars focused on research methods, a mentor program, and  ECMC Foundation’s annual CTE Leadership Collaborative Convening. 

Through the latest grant funding, the ECMC Foundation Fellows program will also create a research forum conference and professional development program. Jordan Dolfi, who serves as the program coordinator, is managing the application process for the 2022-23 cohort of ECMC Foundation Postsecondary Research Fellows.  A call for applications is currently posted and applications can be submitted online.