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James W. Dearing, John Carrese, Laurence Clement, Elaine Craft, Patressa Gardner, Jim Hyder, Elaine Johnson, David McNeel, Joshua Phiri, Matthias (Matt) Pleil
This paper describes the work of three grantees of the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Program that voluntarily joined the Synergy Collaboratory, a cross-grantee effort sponsored by NSF to expose ATE grantees to evidence-based concepts new to them about scaling up and diffusing out innovative projects of their creation. The objective of this paper is to answer the following questions:
1. When a set of grantees is introduced to concepts about how to grow their work, whether that means replicating a program, expanding a clientele or number of students served, increasing the reach of a project so that additional businesses, colleges, or communities are involved, or partnering with others so that pilot activities can be multiplied, how long does it take them to try out those concepts?
2. Which concepts get tried, and how?
3. Are concepts tried together, or one by one?
4. Why do grantees try certain concepts and not others?
5. Do grantees add value to concepts by putting them to use?
We answer these questions through case study descriptions of the experiences of these three Synergy projects. We then summarize our observations by addressing the above questions.