Restricted Research - Award List, Note/Discussion Page

Fiscal Year: 2014

2081  The University of Texas at San Antonio  (23641)

Principal Investigator: Saygin, Can Bonner, Emily

Total Amount of Contract, Award, or Gift (Annual before 2011): $ 570,000

Exceeds $250,000 (Is it flagged?): Yes

Start and End Dates: 6/1/13 <> 8/31/15

Restricted Research: YES



Title of Contract, Award, or Gift: South Texas STEM Educator Center

Name of Granting or Contracting Agency/Entity: Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board

Program Title: none


The structure of the South Texas STEM Educator Center has been designed by an interdisciplinary team of STEM content specialists, STEM formal and informal education specialists, researchers with expertise in the learning sciences, and specialists in education research and evaluation methods from the University of Texas at San Antonio’s (UTSA) Academy for Teacher Excellence (ATE), College of Education and Human Development, College of Engineering, and College of Sciences. The UTSA team has partnered with several South Texas school districts to develop a comprehensive Project-Based Learning (PBL) component for implementation in high school algebra. Figure 1 gives the proposed framework for the Center, with Teacher Professional Learning, Research and Expert Guidance, and Program Review and Redesign Support as fundamental pillars with Project-Based Learning as the foundation, and STEM Clearinghouse as the roof that drives the effort. The Center will be organized into three major areas that correspond to the three components in the RFP or the three pillars in our model: Component A: Professional Learning, Component B: Research and Expert Guidance, and Component C: Educator Preparation Program Review and Redesign Support. Under the umbrella of the Academy for Teacher Excellence at UTSA, the Center already has a home base and familiarity with interdisciplinary faculty across campus. The first component to be developed will be Professional Learning, with PBL activities developed by Drs. Can Saygin and Maurice Burke during Spring 2013. The initial issues, questions, and concerns of these future teachers, as they work through the activities as algebra students, will help the Research Team of Component B, Dr. Chavez and Dr. Bonner, develop research questions about the implementation and appropriateness of the activities. The input from the researchers of Component B and the preliminary input from the preservice teachers will allow Dr. Saygin and Dr. Burke to make changes, if needed, before full implementation of the PBL activities in Summer 2013 to the first cohort of the Center's teachers. Following the Summer program and during the academic year implementation, team leaders of Component C, Dr. Claeys and Dr. Fraga, will engage mentor teachers and coaches to observe classroom implementation of PBL and Culturally Relevant Teaching (CRT) and will prepare recommendations to the math/science faculty and education faculty teaching preservice teachers on changes in the preservice programs to include comprehensive and unifying PBL and CRT activities. Major Goals for Project: (1) Establish a STEM Educator Center to provide faculty-led professional learning for South Texas teachers and college graduates who are completing certification requirements in an accelerated teacher preparation program. (2) Develop, test (conduct research), and disseminate an evolutionary process for teacher professional learning in a PBL environment focused on strengthening content knowledge and STEM-related instructional skills for teachers. (3) Create a teacher professional model that focuses on culturally responsive teaching strategies using PBL activities to support teachers who serve diverse and economically disadvantaged student populations. (4) Create a STEM Education Clearinghouse to serve as a repository of the latest in STEM related programs and research. 5) Develop a research-based blueprint for educator preparation programs and school districts to increase teacher effectiveness to ensure that Texas schools meet the goals of the Texas College and Career Readiness Standards (CCRS).


Major Objectives for Project: Participating teachers will (1) become competent and confident in the teaching of functions and course content using PBL principles and activities. (2) develop expertise with the TEKS and CCRS, including an emphasis on connecting algebra concepts to engineering, mathematics, and science applications through PBL learning activities. (3) develop their expertise in PBL through mathematical modeling and the integration of these concepts into their regular classroom practices using PBL. (7) promote and use the latest results in educational research on understanding the theoretical foundations of which classroom instruction and teaching strategies are based, including integrating research results on culturally relevant teaching and incorporating PBL activities.


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