Collaborative Research: Enriching the Professional Development of School Teachers & Community College Faculty in Rural Michigan - An RET Site on Smart Vehicles

  • Yelamarthi, Kumar (PI)
  • Voege, Janis J. (CoPI)
  • Cunningham, Julie J.A. (CoPI)

Grant Details


Within a coherent theme of Smart Vehicles, this collaborative Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) in Engineering and Computer Science Site at Central Michigan University (CMU) and Western Michigan University (WMU) will expose in-service and pre-service teachers, and community college faculty to leading research spanning mobile robotics, kinematics and kinetics, vehicle manufacturing robots, vehicular sensor networks, ergonomics, material science, and circuit design. The multidisciplinary nature of Smart Vehicles in engineering will provide a holistic ground for developing creative course modules in physics, chemistry, engineering, and technology that aligns well with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), Common Core State Standards (CCSS), and Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) Criteria for STEM curriculum. Engaging regionally automobile focused industrial advisors and university faculty with rural secondary school and community college teachers will serve as a model-platform, and provide rare best-practices-based professional development opportunities and experience. CMU, a regional comprehensive university, is located in the heart of central rural Michigan where it maintains a reputation as 'the' university to which schools turn for access to newly educated teachers, and for professional development for their current teachers. This RET renewal 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. Engaging pre-service teachers in cutting-edge research ensures that they begin their careers well-equipped with research experience and confidence to take into their classrooms. Similarly, with nurtured NGSS-based curriculum design and implementation expertise these teachers will take on leadership roles in their employing schools, thereby multiplying the effect of this project. Overall, through partnership with K-12 schools, community colleges, and a public university, this RET site will provide a profound influence on the learning and career paths of young students in the rural Michigan area, with knowledge, skills, abilities and attitudes which are in high demand, but who have traditionally been underrepresented in the STEM education and employment.

This Site will offer an intensive six-week summer research program for a total of 45 rural STEM teachers over three years with a focus on those serving groups that are underrepresented in science and engineering. RET participants will engage in cutting-edge research on Smart Vehicles, under the guidance of engineering faculty mentors who lead active research programs, and who serve the community through outreach activities. The engineering faculty mentors, curriculum development specialist, Instructional Coach from Science/Mathematics, Technology Center, and staff from CMU's Faculty Center for Innovative Teaching will coach participants as they design standards-compliant curriculum modules and conduct professional development activities for each participant group. Extensive follow-up activities through the academic year include on-site Instructional Coaching, Quarterly Team Meetings, engineering faculty involvement in secondary school and community college classrooms, and Cross Classroom Collaborations to ensure translation of research experience into practice. The annual CMU High-Impact STEM Teaching Symposium will share findings with regional educators, and the annual CMU STEM Day will engage more than 200 secondary school students in exploration of engineering disciplines on CMU campus. The Science and Mathematics Program Improvement (SAMPI) staff at WMU will serve as external program evaluators, track and evaluate the site progress and provide feedback for improvement. They will also conduct longitudinal studies to assess the long-term impact of the proposed RET site.

This RET Site is co-funded by the Directorate for Engineering (ENG), Division of Engineering Education and Centers (EEC) and the Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE), Division of Computer and Network Systems (CNS).

Effective start/end date01/1/1612/31/20


  • National Science Foundation: $616,611.00


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