This award provides funding for a three year standard award for a Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) in Engineering and Computer Science Site Program at Central Michigan University (CMU), entitled, RET Site on Multidisciplinary Engineering Research for Rural Michigan's Future, under the direction of Dr. Tolga Kaya.
This RET Site brings together the following five specialized and successful entities to provide a strong and sustained collaboration in support of rural Michigan youth and high school teachers for a future focused on STEM education and employment. 1) CMU, long a leader in teacher education and professional development is the host site. 2) Engineering faculty in CMU's dynamic School of Engineering and Technology provide the cutting edge, creative research and subject-matter expertise with a theme of smart vehicles/robots. 3)Professional development staff within the Center for Excellence in Education (CEIE) model and support best practices in curriculum development, assessment, and teaching and learning strategies for participating faculty and high school teachers and science education majors (pre-service teachers). 4) Science and Mathematics Program Improvement (SAMPI) at Western Michigan University will advise on and implement the comprehensive evaluation plan. 5) The Science/Mathematics/Technology Center (SMTC) at CMU provides extensive relationships with high school STEM teachers and administrators and the personnel and practices to manage the RET Site and its projects. The three year program will provide a research and professional development opportunity for a total of 36 teachers, 12 each year, from the Iona-Montcalm, Clare-Gladwin, and Gratiot-Isabella School districts and CMU science education pre-service teachers. Each research team will include one in-service and one pre-service teacher, one experienced engineering undergraduate student who will be supervised by one engineering faculty during a six week summer research program. The focus of the program is on interdisciplinary engineering research with an emphasis on smart vehicles/robots that would allow teachers to link the research to technology which high school students are relatively familiar with. Individual research teams will study different aspects of smart vehicles/robots such as sensors, motion manipulation, computer simulation and characterization, mechanics, and data processing.
CMU is located in the heart of central rural Michigan where it is "the" university to which schools turn for access to newly educated teachers and for professional development for their current teachers. This RET Site will focus on teachers in these rural areas and support them as they lift the STEM knowledge base of their students, increasing their opportunities for employment and for becoming entrepreneurs. Involving pre-service teachers in this program ensures that they begin their careers well-trained and equipped with research experience and confidence to take into their classrooms.