The Cincinnati Engineering Enhanced Mathematics and Science Program (CEEMS) is led by the University of Cincinnati as the higher education Core Partner in Partnership with fourteen Core Partner school districts: Cincinnati Public Schools, Oak Hills, Princeton, Norwood, Winton Woods, and a Rural STEM Consortium of nine school districts. CEEMS works to meet the growing need for engineering-educated teachers who are equipped to provide learners with opportunities to achieve recently revised Ohio State Science Standards juxtaposed with Universal Skills (21st Century Learning Skills). These standards are centered in "real world application: connections to engineering." To address this local, regional, state, and evolving national need, CEEMS offers four professional development pathways to teacher preparedness: 1. Masters in Curriculum and Instruction (CI) degree with Engineering Education (MCIEE) specialization; 2. Summer Institute for Teachers (SIT); 3. Education Pathway with Licensure for Engineering (EPLE) majors; and 4. Engineering Education Pathway for Career Changers (EEPCC).
The key to these pathways are eight new courses focusing on engineering and science content, and design and challenge-based pedagogy. Leveraging these courses in combination with existing Course and Curriculum Master's of Education pedagogical courses, CEEMS develops and deploys two pathways for in-service teachers (MICEE degree and SIT with certificate) and three pathways for pre-service teachers (MICEE degree with licensure, dual undergraduate engineering degree with teaching licensure, and teaching licensure for professionals with a STEM undergraduate degree). Preparation of SIT participants allows them to (1) integrate the materials into the courses they teach and (2) disseminate and provide professional development to their colleagues through a district-level "teacher leaders" dissemination program and a regional annual STEM education conference. With this tiered approach, CEEMS is reaching a total of 1,925 teachers (160 pre-service and 1,765 in-service) over five years. These teachers are impacting more than 38,500 7-12 grade students per year.
The five implementation goals of this engineering-based CEEMS MSP are to: (1) Improve 7-12 student 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; (3) Recruit engineering undergraduates as science or mathematics teachers through involvement in teaching experiences with younger college students in the schools and through a succinct licensure program; (4) Recruit career changers to science or mathematics teaching through succinct licensure programs; and (5) Build a collaborative sustainable education licensure STEM degree-granting infrastructure positively impacting the entire region.
CEEMS is firmly rooted in current research in the fields of science, mathematics and engineering education. It affords a much-needed opportunity to study how students learn mathematics and science if engineering is used as the context.
The CEEMS research effort uses a mixed method design to respond to the following questions: (1) How do students in a design and challenge-based learning environment engage in decision making, strategic planning, evaluation and revision of plans, creative thinking, and task persistence? (2) How do students in design and challenge-based learning environments perceive their involvement in STEM careers? (3) What measures and instruments are most effective at capturing and documenting these learning tasks? (4) How are the teachers' gains in knowledge of engineering transferred into instructional plans? (5) What supports and barriers do teachers encounter as they implement their plans with students? and (6) How do the knowledge gains and implementation factors impact the teachers' pedagogical content knowledge?