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Preparing Rural Middle School Teachers to Implement an Engineering Design Elective Course: A Just-In-Time Professional Development Approach

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2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Minneapolis, MN

Publication Date

August 23, 2022

Start Date

June 26, 2022

End Date

June 29, 2022

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

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Tameshia Baldwin North Carolina State University at Raleigh

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Latricia Townsend North Carolina State University at Raleigh


Callie Edwards North Carolina State University at Raleigh

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Dr. Callie Edwards is an experienced educational researcher and program evaluator. For a decade, she has studied, partnered with, and advocated for historically underrepresented and underserved populations in health, education, and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, such as women, communities of color, individuals who experience low-income backgrounds, and those who are the first in their family to graduate from college. She has also served in the areas of college assessment, academic coaching, pre-college and new student programs, underrepresented student recruitment and retention, and student wellness.

Dr. Edwards holds a Ph.D. in Educational Research and Policy Analysis with a specialization in Higher Education Administration from North Carolina State University (NCSU). Her dissertation explored the counternarratives of high-achieving Black male engineering majors, and earned the NCSU 2018 Higher Education Dissertation of the Year Award, and an honorable mention from the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education 2019 Dissertation of the Year Award selection committee.

Dr. Edwards currently serves as the Associate Director of Program Evaluation and Education Research at the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, where she provides leadership for highly specialized and multifaceted research programs. She also directs and manages the work of Research Assistants, Graduate Research Assistants, and Undergraduate Interns, leads the submission of proposals for external sponsored funding, and serves as principal investigator on sponsored projects.

Prior to joining the Friday Institute, Dr. Edwards served as a Research Specialist at the North Carolina Department of Commerce, a Research Assistant in the Office of Assessment at NCSU, and a Program Coordinator in the Minority Engineering Programs Office at NCSU.

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This paper presents the experiences of two STEM outreach specialists as they prepared two rural middle school teachers with limited STEM backgrounds to implement a 3-part grade level specific engineering design elective course at their schools. This work is part of an Innovative Experiences for Teachers and Students (ITEST) project designed to provide community-based engineering design experiences for underrepresented middle school students (grades 6-8) from rural N.C. The course engages students in authentic STEM design experiences situated in the advanced manufacturing industry in an effort to improve their STEM content knowledge and career awareness and their self-efficacy, identity and interest in STEM careers, particularly engineering.

The outreach specialists experienced a number of challenges as they worked with the teachers, many of which were exacerbated by the on-going pandemic. In response to social distancing requirements imposed by COVID-19, the specialists adopted a just-in-time (JIT) approach to teacher professional development (PD) where the content, pace, and scheduling of PD sessions were based on each individual teacher’s prior content knowledge, comfort level and work schedule. This paper focuses on the process of skill preparation of the middle school teachers in the execution of the 6th grade course in the 2020-21 school year. Additional aspects to be discussed include a sampling of best practices, an overview of lessons learned and implementation strategies during the second iteration of the 6th grade course and the first implementation of the 7th grade course during the 2021-22 school year.

Baldwin, T., & Townsend, L., & Edwards, C. (2022, August), Preparing Rural Middle School Teachers to Implement an Engineering Design Elective Course: A Just-In-Time Professional Development Approach Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN.

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