The goal of the Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) site at the University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA) is to build a long-term collaborative partnership between middle and high school science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) teachers from school districts in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) and the UTPA engineering faculty by actively involving the teachers in research activities in the area of Emerging and Novel Engineering Technologies (ENET) complemented with a professional development program that provides them with learning experiences and resources in order to bring new knowledge of engineering into their classrooms.
- Each year 12 middle and high school teachers from school districts in the Rio Grande Valley will participate in research projects at UTPA. The projects span a large array of topics in engineering including control systems, power and energy, wireless networks, algorithms, microelectronics, and robotics.
- The participating teachers will develop lesson plans related to their research which they will implement in their classes in the following school year.
- The teachers will showcase their work and build communities of practice with other educators at an annual workshop.
- Through participation in the RET program the teachers will have an enhanced knowledge base in engineering and the skills to translate this into their classroom practices, thus impacting their students and motivating them towards science, technology, computing, and engineering disciplines.
- The teachers' activities in the summer will be approximately split as follows: 60% research and 40% curriculum development. Professional development workshops will be conducted to help teachers plan and develop new lesson plans and classroom activities based on their research activities and relevant to the subjects they teach. An important component in these plans and the unit as a whole is that they will be aligned with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), alignments appropriate to grade level and content area(s).
Benefits of Participation
- Summer stipend of $5,000 for succefully completing a 6-week program participation on the UTPA campus (approximately 40 hours per week).
- Academic year follow-Up Activities: Teacher participants can earn up to $3,000 stipend during the following academic year for completing the following activities: 1) implementing curriculum in the classroom, 2) completing a required number of progress reports documenting progress in classroom implementation, 3) coordinating with the RET-ENET program director for a classroom observation, 4) submitting the developed lesson plan for publication, 5) giving a presentation and participating in the RET-ENET Annual Workshop, and 6) delivering a final report to the RET-ENET program.
- A budget of up to $2,000 provided for classroom implementation supplies.
- Gain laboratory skills through a research experience in an engineering research laboratory.
- Build lesson plans inspired by engineering applications to take back to the classroom.
- Learn real world applications of science and mathematics.
- Professional development certificates.
Academic Year Follow Up Activities
The follow up activities during the academic year include:
- Sending regular electronic communications that document progress in curriculum implementation in the classroom.
- Cordinating witht he program to bring students back to UTPA research labs.
- Coordinating with the RET-ENET Program Director for classroom observations.
- Evaluating of the impact of classroom implementation on student learning.
- Presentating and Participating in the Annual RET-ENET Workshop
- Submitting developed lesson plan for publication.
- Delivering a final report to the RET-ENET program (End of Spring Semester)