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Peer Instructor or College Faculty – Who is Better for Leading Teacher Professional Development? (Evaluation)

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Evaluation: Exploring the Impact of Programs for K-12 Teachers.

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1217.1 - 26.1217.14



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Paper Authors


Eugene Rutz University of Cincinnati

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Eugene Rutz is Academic Director in the College of Engineering & Applied Science at the University of Cincinnati. Responsibilities include oversight of eLearning initiatives, working with high schools on engineering coursework, and academic oversight of the Master of Engineering program. Eugene serves as co-PI on an NSF sponsored math and Science partnership grant.

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Anant R. Kukreti University of Cincinnati

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ANANT R. KUKRETI, Ph.D., is Director for Engineering Outreach and Professor in the Department of Biomedical, Chemical and Environmental Engineering at the University of Cincinnati (UC), Cincinnati Ohio, USA. He joined UC on 8/15/00 and before that worked 22 years at University of Oklahoma. He teaches structural mechanics, with research in steel structures, seismic analysis and design, and engineering education. He has won five major university teaching awards, two Professorships, two national ASEE teaching awards, and is internationally recognized in his primary research field.

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Julie Steimle University of Cincinnati

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Julie Steimle received her Bachelor of Arts in English and Secondary Education from Thomas More College. She served as development director and managed academic programs in two non-profit organizations, Pregnancy Care of Cincinnati and the Literacy Network of Greater Cincinnati, before coming to the University of Cincinnati in 2009. Ms. Steimle initially coordinated UC’s Supplemental Educational Services Program. Currently, she is the Project Director of the Cincinnati Engineering Enhanced Math and Science Program.

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Catherine Maltbie University of Cincinnati

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Dr. Cathy Maltbie is a Research Associate at the University of Cincinnati with a joint appointment with the Evaluation Services Center and the Arlitt Child and Family Research and Education Center. She has a BS in Chemical Engineering and a Doctorate in Educational Foundations. Her research areas include evaluation, cognitive and social aspects of educational environments, and STEM education from pre-K through graduate school.

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Peer Instructor or College Faculty - Who is Better for Leading Teacher Professional Development? (Evaluation)The University is beginning its 4th year of an NSF Math and Science Partnership Grant. Two ofthe program’s primary goals are as follows:1. Improve 7-12 science and mathematics achievement to prepare for and increase interest in the college study of engineering or other STEM careers.2. Develop mathematics and science teacher knowledge of engineering and the engineering design and challenge-based instruction process through explicit training and classroom implementation support.In addition to improving math and science teaching, the program also seeks to develop acommunity of teachers who will implement an explicit and authentic articulation of engineeringin 7th-12th grade math and science classrooms so that these teachers will effectively enablestudents to understand engineering design and consider careers in engineering fields.The primary mechanism for developing this cadre of teachers is through a two-year summerinstitute. For two summers, teachers complete seven weeks of engineering courses, contentcourses, and professional development. After successful completion of the two year program,participants earn a Certificate in Engineering Education. The courses in the summer instituteinclude courses addressing engineering design, courses addressing engineering applications ofscience and courses covering applications of math in engineering. The courses are mostly taughtby college faculty recognized as excellent teachers but several have been taught by high schoolteachers who are experienced at K-12 engineering education.In order to determine efficacy of the approach and to provide a mechanism for continuousimprovement, feedback from the participants is collected both as surveys and focus groupdiscussions. This feedback has consistently indicated that peer instructors (experienced highschool instructors) are more effective at presenting concepts effectively and broadeningparticipants understanding of the content as compared with college faculty. Analysis wasperformed to determine if there were statistically significant differences between participantevaluations of courses led by college faculty as compared to courses taught by high schoolinstructors. A one-way ANOVA indicates that there are statistically significant differences notonly in enabling participants to understand concepts but also in understanding and applying theengineering design process.This paper describes the courses in the summer institute, the pedagogical approach used, and theevaluation of teaching effectiveness as regards the course instructors. The paper describeschanges made to the program based on participant feedback and provides recommendations forteacher professional development based on lessons learned in the program.

Rutz, E., & Kukreti, A. R., & Steimle, J., & Maltbie, C. (2015, June), Peer Instructor or College Faculty – Who is Better for Leading Teacher Professional Development? (Evaluation) Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24554

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