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Research Experience For Teachers Site: A Professional Development Project For Teachers

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Teacher and Counselor Professional Development

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.1032.1 - 15.1032.10



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Paper Authors

author page

Vikram Kapila Polytechnic University

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

Research Experience for Teachers Site: A Professional Development Project for Teachers

1. Introduction

In recent years, science and math educators, technology professionals, business leaders, and policymakers have pointed to an urgent need to develop a strong and technologically trained workforce to ensure American leadership in the 21st century “innovation economy.” Unfortunately, the American K-12 education system is currently suffering from a crisis of inadequate teacher preparation in STEM1 disciplines leading to poor student achievement in these areas. This is especially true for African American, Hispanic, and female students. Weak academic preparation of minorities and women closes these groups out of scientific careers at a very young age. In fact, on January 6, 2010, when President Obama launched his “Educate to Innovate” campaign, he said, “Teacher quality is the most important single factor influencing students’ success or failure in STEM subjects.” The Educate to Innovate initiative will train math and science teachers so that they can support their students to excel in these subjects.

For close to a decade, a team of engineering faculty, graduate researchers, and undergraduate students at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly) have collaborated to improve teacher preparation in STEM disciplines. With the support of various federal, state, and foundation grants, a variety of programs, from one-week to six-weeks in duration, have been conducted to introduce engineering disciplines and practices to over 150 teachers. This paper describes a pre-college teacher engagement project conducted under the Research Experience for Teachers (RET) Site program of National Science Foundation. The project is based within the mechanical engineering department at NYU-Poly. Ten teachers were selected to attend a six week summer research workshop in 2009.2 The workshop consisted of two-weeks of “Guided Training” followed by a four-week “Collaborative Research” experience.

This paper provides an overview of the RET Site program’s structure and activities. In addition, illustrative examples of teachers’ research and its classroom integration are given. Highlights from external evaluator’s report are also included.

2. Overview

Under the umbrella of an RET Site program, NYU-Poly offers a paid research opportunity to ten teachers each year to participate in an intensive professional development

1 Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics 2 Due to an unforeseen professional appointment, one teacher requested to withdraw from the project and was allowed to so.

Kapila, V. (2010, June), Research Experience For Teachers Site: A Professional Development Project For Teachers Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16321

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