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A Hands On, Interdisciplinary Laboratory Program And Educational Model To Strengthen A Radar Curriculum For Broad Distribution

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Division

Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.52.1 - 11.52.20



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Paper Authors

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Mark Yeary University of Oklahoma


Tian Yu University of Oklahoma

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Dr. Tian-You Yu is an Assistant Professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. His education at the University of Nebraska and post-doc experience at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado provide a unique cross-disciplinary background of atmospheric research. He has many reviewed technical journal and conference papers in the areas of applications of signal processing techniques to radar problems and studies using atmospheric radars. In parallel with his technical strength, he has a passion for delivering high quality education. He has developed and taught several undergraduate and graduate courses at the University of Oklahoma.

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Robert Palmer University of Oklahoma


Mike Biggerstaff University of Oklahoma

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Dr. Michael Biggerstaff is the lead scientist behind the Shared Mobile Atmospheric Research and Teaching (SMART) radar program, a collaborative effort between the University of Oklahoma, Texas A&M University, Texas Tech University, and the National Severe Storms Laboratory that built and successfully deployed two mobile radars to enhance storm research and to improve meteorological education. Dr. Biggerstaff has received awards in teaching and advising. He received several invitations for short courses in the U.S. and abroad.

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L. Fink University of Oklahoma

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Dr. L. Dee Fink, an off-campus evaluator, is the person responsible for developing and implementing the evaluation plan, and he has an extensive background in pedagogy and assessment. Because of this expertise, Dr. Fink will be responsible for: 1.) developing and monitoring the pedagogical models being used, 2.) leading the orientation programs for both undergraduate peer teachers and the faculty members involved, to make sure they fully understand the pedagogy procedures being used, 3.) developing the evaluation plan and materials, 4.) collecting and analyzing the evaluation data.

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Carolyn Ahern Ahern and Associates

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Dr. Carolyn Ahern, Assessment Coordinator, earned her B.A. in English from Ohio Wesleyan and her M.A. and Ph.D. in English from Cornell University. She also holds an M.B.A. from the University of Oklahoma. For the last 20 years, she has specialized in the design, implementation, and assessment of educational materials. Most recently, she has been the coordinator of assessment for two NSF grants at the University of Oklahoma: Sooner City (Civil and Environmental Engineering) and the Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement Project (the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the School of Meteorology).

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

A Hands-on, Interdisciplinary Laboratory Program and Educational Model to Strengthen a Radar Curriculum for Broad Distribution

Introduction Severe and hazardous weather such as thunderstorms, downbursts, and tornadoes can take lives in a matter of minutes. In order to improve detection and forecast of such phenomena using radar, one of the key factors is fast scan capability. Conventional weather radars, such as the ubiquitous NEXRAD (Next Generation Radar developed in the 1980’s), are severely limited by mechanical scanning. Approximately 175 of these radars are in a national network to provide the bulk of our weather information.

Under the development for weather applications, the electronically steerable beams pro- vided by the phased array radar at the NWRT can overcome these limitations of the current NEXRAD radar. For this reason, the phased array radar was listed by the National Research Council as one of the primary candidate technologies to supersede the NEXRAD [1]. By def- inition, a phased array radar is one that relies on a two-dimensional array of small antennas. Each antenna has the ability to change its phase characteristics, thus allowing the overall system to collectively locate specific interesting regions of weather. The NWRT is the na- tion’s first facility dedicated to phased array radar meteorology. In addition, the demand for students trained in this area will be high as new radar technologies replace the ones designed 20 years ago, and as weather radar usage extends into areas such as homeland security. From the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) perspective, the phased array radar technology developed at the NWRT will be used to enhance the safety and capacity of the National Airspace System. Moreover, this proposal is consistent with one of NOAA’s Mission Goals for the 21st Century: to serve society’s needs for weather information [2].

Long-term warnings have improved greatly over the last five years and are now being used for critical decision making [3]. Further improvements are being aimed at providing longer warning lead times before severe weather events, better quantification of forecast uncertainties in hurricanes and floods, and tools for integrating probabilistic forecasts with other data sets. Many other industries, groups, and individuals use weather information. For example, the construction industry uses weather information to schedule specific activities and to purchase materials. K-12 teachers use weather data to develop math and engineering skills in their students, which is essential for the future [4, 5, 6].

Following the classic Boyer Report, it is very important that no gap exists between teaching and research [7]. In addition, faculty members who creatively combine teaching with research are essential to the improvement of undergraduate education [8, 9, 10, 11]. With this in mind, we now introduce the model that governs and sustains the teaching and research mission of our university laboratory, as depicted in Figure 1. The synergistic interaction between teaching and research, their drivers and end-results is also illustrated. These drivers can be classified into those of resource needs (e.g. qualified personnel) and technology related issues. Resource needs can be further classified into three types – (1) design and application engineers, (2) radar system integrators and managers, and (3) research and development scientists. These needs

Yeary, M., & Yu, T., & Palmer, R., & Biggerstaff, M., & Fink, L., & Ahern, C. (2006, June), A Hands On, Interdisciplinary Laboratory Program And Educational Model To Strengthen A Radar Curriculum For Broad Distribution Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--129

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