Partner Colleges

As a regional National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education (NSF ATE) Center, the SMART Center collaborates with two and four-year colleges to achieve its mission of creating the next generation of skilled technicians for the maritime and transportation industry. Each partner is responsible for helping the Center in meeting its goals of (1) increasing career awareness of the maritime and transportation industry, (2) developing effective career pathways for students, re-careering workers, and veterans to enter and progress through the industry to higher levels of responsibility, and (3) modeling effective partnership formation with industry leaders.

Our primary college partners are Tidewater Community College, Anne Arundel Community College, San Jacinto College, and Bishop State College. They are located in Virginia, Maryland, Texas and Alabama and are focused on meeting the need for a more skilled technician workforce in the maritime transportation industry particularly in the shipbuilding and ship repair, ports and logistics, and seagoing/mariner sectors.

                   SMART Center College Partner Map


                       SMART Center Partner Profiles

The SMART Center's host partner is Tidewater Community College (TCC). TCC has a long-standing record of innovative collaboration with national maritime and transportation industry leaders headquartered in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. TCC pioneered the SMART Maritime Technologies career and academic pathway which offers the A.A.S. Maritime Technologies degree; the degree enables students to "stack" academic credentials (career studies certificates) toward their A.A.S. degree. Industry employers have recognized the degree as groundbreaking and pivotal to creating the next generation of technicians and technical supervisors.

Primary SMART Partnership Contact: Barbara Murray, Director & Principal Investigator (


Anne Arundel Community College (AACC) is SMART Center's partner outside Baltimore, Maryland home to one of the busiest ports on the eastern seaboard. Through its Transportation, Logistics and Cargo Security division, AACC offers an A.A.S. degree and two academic certificates in maritime and transportation industry-related segments:

As a SMART Center partner AACC facilitated the first "exported" SMART Summer Maritime Transportation Institute in the summer of 2013. Fourteen secondary and post-secondary educators, faculty, administrators, career coaches, and guidance counselors did a "deep dive" into the maritime and transportation industry by engaging with industry leaders, touring employer's work sites, talking with current industry apprentices and workers, and collaborating on problem-based learning activities to add to their own classroom and student counseling expertise.

Primary SMART Partnership Contact: Kipp Snow, Instructional Specialist (

San Jacinto College is an ideal partner for the SMART Center with its focus on meeting the needs for creating a more highly-skilled and educated mariner/seagoing technician for the maritime and transportation industry. SJC launched its Associate Degree in Maritime Technology in the fall semester of 2012 at the request of local industry for a higher quality, better educated, more well-rounded entry level professional mariner. The SJC degree combines United States Coast Guard (USCG) and Standards for Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) approved maritime training with the college level academics required of a two year college degree. Our goal is to provide new mariners to the industry with, practiced knowledge in the areas of math, science and English that most closely relate to their maritime career path.

The SJC Maritime Program, just outside of Houston, Texas offers USCG approved and internationally recognized STCW maritime training and deck level coursework for all professional mariners from the entry level deckhand on an inland towboat to Unlimited Tonnage Masters on the world’s largest ships and everything in between. Engineering courses are available from engine room fundamentals to QMED (Qualified Member of the Engineering Department), DDE (Designated Duty engineer), to Chief Engineer. SJC's courses are taught by USCG Approved Ship Masters, Chief Engineers, former US Navy, Merchant Marine Officers and skilled technicians with more than a century of combined experience who make the learning experience at San Jac Maritime both effective and enjoyable. 

As a SMART Center partner SJC will implement the successful SMART Summer Maritime Transportation Institute model (beginning in summer 2014) and collaborate on innovative, effective career pathway development particularly for mariners.

Primary SMART Partnership Contact: Dr. Sallie Kay Janes, Vice President of Continuing and Professional Development

Kathy Thompson, Dean of Technical Education and Workforce Development for Bishop State College in Mobile, Alabama, has a passion for "crafting a 21st-century workforce the Mobile area needs to remain competitive" with an increasing focus on serving members of the area's maritime and transportation industry sector.

As a SMART Center partner Bishop State will look to customize and replicate several aspects of SMART's work including:

  • creation of viable career pathways into and through the maritime and transportatio industry for students including those coming from high school, the military, and the workplace;
  • development of effective partnerships with the maritime and transportation business community employers to effectively assess and respond to its ever-evolving employment needs
  • educating teachers, administrators, faculty, guidance counselors, and career coaches in local school systems that feed into Bishop State about the career opportunities for students in the maritime and transportation industry

Bishop State currently has A.A.S. Occupational Technologies degrees in Automotive Technology which offer opportunities for the school to customize and adapt curriculum to create a maritime industry-related A.A.S. degree . It also offers academic certificate programs in maritime-related occupational areas including Welding Technology, Plumbing, HVAC, and Drafting and Design Technology.

Primary SMART Partnership Contact: Kathy Thompson, Dean of Technical Education and Workforce Development (