Asee peer logo

Developing Highly Qualified Middle Grades Teachers With Expertise in STEM Disciplines via SUSTAINS

Download Paper |


2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

NSF Grantees’ Poster Session

Tagged Division

Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.402.1 - 24.402.7



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Melissa M. Bilec University of Pittsburgh

visit author page

Dr. Bilec is an assistant professor in the Swanson School of Engineering’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Dr. Bilec’s research program focuses on sustainable healthcare, the built environment, and life cycle assessment. She is interested in improving the overall environmental performance of buildings while connecting the occupants in a more thoughtful manner. She is the Principal Investigator in a multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional research project, NSF EFRI-Barriers, Understanding, Integration – Life cycle Development (BUILD). She has worked in the sustainable engineering arena since 2004. As the assistant director of education outreach in the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation, Pitt’s center for green design, she translates research to community outreach programs and develops sustainable engineering programs for K-12 education.

visit author page

author page

Daniel Mosse University of Pittsburgh


Margaret S. Smith University of Pittsburgh

visit author page

Margaret Smith holds a joint appointment at the University of Pittsburgh as Professor of Mathematics Education in the School of Education and Senior Scientist at the Learning Research and Development Center. Her research focuses on what teachers learn from the professional education experiences in which they engage. Smith’s current research is examining the extent to which beginning teachers learn to plan lessons that build on student's mathematical thinking and the experiences in which they engage that support that learning.

visit author page


Jennifer L Cartier University of Pittsburgh

visit author page

Dr. Cartier joined the Department of Instruction and Learning in the School of Education at the University of Pittsburgh as a Science Education faculty member in 2001. She has been the Principal Investigator on two longitudinal NSF-funded research projects that investigate how elementary teachers develop the capacity to design and support student engagement in cognitively challenging science learning contexts. Dr. Cartier is currently studying how secondary science teachers develop pedagogical design capacity through participation in carefully scaffolded role-play scenarios and other approximations of pedagogical practice. Since January of 2012, Dr. Cartier has served as the Director of Teacher Education at the University of Pittsburgh, spearheading the design of innovative components of the secondary teacher preparation curriculum such as explicit training in relationship-building skills, adolescent social-emotional learning needs, and mindfulness practices that build teachers' capacity to engage in responsive teaching. With support from NSF's Noyce program, Dr. Cartier is currently collaborating with faculty across the University of Pittsburgh to design a middle grades teacher preparation program that focuses on sustainability.

visit author page

Download Paper |


  ASEE  2014  Abstract     Authors:  Melissa  Bilec,  Jennifer  Cartier,  Mark  Collins,  Meryl  Lazar,  Daniel  Mosse,  Margaret  S.   Smith         Developing  Highly  Qualified  Middle  Grades  Teachers  With  Expertise  in  STEM  Disciplines  via   SUSTAINS      Beginning  in  2012,  teacher  educators  throughout  Pennsylvania  launched  programs  to  prepare  teachers  who  specialize  in  middle  grades  (4-­‐8).  This  new  state-­‐approved  certification  track  will  replace  the  current  elementary  track  (K-­‐6)  and  overlap  with  the  existing  secondary  track  (7-­‐12).  Camblin  (2003)  reminds  us  that  “the  middle  grades,  those  enrolling  10-­‐  to  14-­‐year-­‐old  students,  have   an   important   relationship   to   college   access.   The   middle   grades   are   when   students,  families,  and  school  personnel  begin  to  address  career  aspirations,  academic  preparation,  and  college   information.”   The   Commonwealth’s   new   emphasis   on   highly   qualified   middle   grades  teachers   provides   a   unique   opportunity   to   impact   children   at   a   crucial   time   in   their   formal  education  experience  (Fleming,  2011).    In   our   project,   we   are   aiming   to   (1)   develop   a   program   (SUSTAINS,   STEM   Undergraduate  Students   Teaching   Adolescents   Innovation   and   Sustainability)   that   will   allow   undergraduate  STEM  majors  at  the  University  of  Pittsburgh  (Pitt)  to  interact  with  young  adolescents  in  formal  and   informal   learning   contexts   and   to   engage   with   peers   and   faculty   members   around   issues  pertaining   to   K-­‐12   education;   (2)   develop   a   state-­‐approved,   one-­‐year   Masters   of   Arts   in  Teaching   (MAT)   program   to   prepare   middle   grades   (4-­‐8)   teachers   who   will   specialize   in  mathematics   and/or   science;   (3)   integrate   issues   related   to   sustainability   across   the  undergraduate   and   teacher   preparation   programs;   and   (4)   expand   our   capacity   for   faculty   in  the   Schools   of   Education,   Arts   &   Sciences,   and   Engineering   to   collaborate   on   program   and  course   design.   We   expect   that   these   capacity-­‐building   will   help   address   the   need   for   middle  grades  math  and  science  teachers  by  developing  a  program  to  attract  college  STEM  majors  into  the   teaching   profession   and   by   developing   a   rigorous   middle   grades   teacher   preparation  program  that  reflects  core  commitments  of  effective  middle  grades  educators.    We  will  present  our  progress  thus  far  related  to  SUSTAINS  community  building  and  program  development.    This  work  is  supported  by  the  National  Science  Foundation  Noyce  Teacher  Scholarships,  Project  NO.  1240000.      

Bilec, M. M., & Mosse, D., & Smith, M. S., & Cartier, J. L. (2014, June), Developing Highly Qualified Middle Grades Teachers With Expertise in STEM Disciplines via SUSTAINS Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20293

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2014 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015