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Innovating Education for the Next Generation of Engineers – Results of an NSF-RET Program Focused on Innovation

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

RET Initiatives

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.755.1 - 23.755.16



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Paper Authors

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Margaret Pinnell University of Dayton


Rebecca P. Blust University of Dayton

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Professor Blust has been the Coordinator for UD’s Innovation Center and Design and Manufacturing Clinic since 2009. Professor Rebecca Blust has served as the Equity Advisor for the School of Engineering at the University of Dayton and is an Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering Technology. As equity advisor, Prof. Blust facilitates bias-free faculty searches; reviews annual scorecard data for her college, alerting the department chair and/or dean of inequities based on salary, space and professional development; and implements equity programming aligned with the unique diversity needs of her unit. Professor Blust is also the representative for the School of Engineering on the University Promotion and Tenure Committee and has served as a University Faculty Mediator for the Associate Provost at UD.

Professor Blust was the Co-PI on a $200,000 NSF STEM grant in addition to a $500,000 grant from the Kern Family Foundation. Blust is currently serves as the academic advisor to the UD Women’s Engineering Sorority (Phi Sigma Rho). She has participated in UD’s Women in Engineering Summer Camp for the past 10 years and Explore Engineering. Professor Blust is dedicated to community service and has developed and participated in the Lunch Buddies program, which pairs college female engineering students with 6th and 7th grade girls every Friday to do STEM activities. She has also served as the director of Camp Invention, a program that fosters creativity and invention among K-5th graders.

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Suzanne Franco Wright State University

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Associate Professor of Statistics and Research, Leadership Studies in Education and Organizations, College of Education and Human Services.
Director of Research and Evaluation, Dayton Regional STEM School

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Renee Beach


Sandra M Preiss Dayton Regional STEM Center

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Sandra Preiss, is the Coordinator for the Dayton Regional STEM Center.  She has served the STEM Center since December 2007 in various capacities.  Her current role includes operational management; program management; innovation management; educator professional development; and curriculum generation and editing.  Sandra, a licensed high school science educator, has taught in academic and informal educational settings ranging from early childhood through high school.

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Innovating Education for the Next Generation of Engineers – Results of an NSF- RET Program Focused on Innovation Engineering innovation and design continues to be vital to economic success,sustainability, and the creation of jobs in the U.S., and remains at the top of government policyagendas today. For the U.S. to maintain its edge in innovation, our youth must be inspired topursue STEM fields and must also be exposed to the process of innovation in order to understandthe synergism of the methods and approaches used in ideation, discovery and experimentation inthe STEM disciplines. This paper describes a unique National Science Foundation – ResearchExperience for Teachers program that is thematically centered around innovation andengineering design. The overall objectives of this six week program for K-12 STEM teachersand pre-service teachers entitled Engineering Innovation and Design for STEM Teachers was toenhance the knowledge of teachers and pre-service teachers about engineering innovation anddesign so that they can facilitate inspirational engineering and innovation experiences in theirclassrooms as well as better inform their students of potential career fields and societal needsrelated to STEM. During the first and second summers of this program, ten teachers and five pre-service teachers were placed on teams with an engineering student, engineering faculty and anindustrial mentor or community partner. Each team participated in an introductory engineeringinnovation and design project as well as a more in-depth project provided by the industrialmentor or community partner. The experience was enhanced through field trips to the industrialmentors’ sites, guest speakers, laboratory experiences and tours, technical writing seminars, aswell as history and ethics of engineering innovation sessions. Additionally, the participants wereguided through a well structured curriculum writing experience modeled after that used for ahighly successful regional STEM teacher professional development program. Through thisexperience, the teams made use of a curriculum template that was developed to ensure that theresulting lessons provided high quality inquiry based STEM experiences for the students thatincluded concepts of engineering innovation and design and were also aligned with the statecurriculum standards. Guided reflections, team presentations of STEM Curriculum, anddeveloped prototypes provided evidence associated with the objectives. Local System Change(LSC), Mathematics Teaching Efficacy and Beliefs Instrument (MTEBI) and Science TeachingEfficacy and Beliefs Instrument (STEBI) surveys were administered to the in-service teachersprior to the program. Follow-up surveys were administered to the 2012 cohort and will beadministered to the in-service teachers during the 2013 academic year to identify changes inattitudes, beliefs and practices. Classroom observations of participants delivering developedSTEM content provided details regarding transference to K-12 classrooms. A focus group withthe engineering students provided feedback regarding their growth and experiences. Results fromboth qualitative and quantitative assessment suggest that this program was successful at meetingthe program objectives.

Pinnell, M., & Blust, R. P., & Franco, S., & Beach, R., & Preiss, S. M. (2013, June), Innovating Education for the Next Generation of Engineers – Results of an NSF-RET Program Focused on Innovation Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19769

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