UTEP Awarded Grant to Improve STEM Education at HSIs
UC STAFF | January 24, 2018 | UNIVERSITY COMMUNICATIONS
Meagan Vaughan Kendall, Ph.D., assistant professor in UTEP's Department of Engineering Education and Leadership (E-Lead), received a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant geared toward engaging engineering educators from HSIs through a series of workshops.
An engineering professor at The University of Texas at El Paso has been awarded a first-of-its-kind grant to enhance STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education at Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs).
Meagan Vaughan Kendall, Ph.D., assistant professor in UTEP's Department of Engineering Education and Leadership (E-Lead), received a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant geared toward engaging engineering educators from HSIs through a series of workshops. The award is a collaborative grant worth nearly $100,000. UTEP was awarded more than 60 percent of that amount as the lead institution of the collaborative that included engineering professors from the University of Miami and Olin College of Engineering in Massachusetts.
The grant is part of the NSF's effort to bolster the quality of undergraduate education for Hispanic students in STEM. It is one of the first awards through the HSIs Improving Undergraduate STEM Education program.
"I am exceedingly excited and proud that UTEP has been recognized with this award," Kendall said. "In keeping with our access and excellence mission, UTEP and the College of Engineering have put considerable effort into making sure that a quality engineering education is accessible to the students in our community. The E-Lead program is only one example. We've had many successes in our efforts to improve engineering education for Hispanic students, and so have many others in our community. With this grant, we will be able to bring engineering educators in our community into a conversation about the future of engineering education at HSIs and how NSF can support those efforts as we support our students."
Kendall will serve as the collaborative's lead principal investigator. She will work alongside a group of faculty from Miami led by Ines Basalo, Ph.D., assistant professor of practice, and Alexandra Coso Strong, assistant professor of systems design and engineering at Olin College.
The group will conduct a pair of two-day workshops in the spring. The first one will be March 29-30 on the UTEP campus. The second will be April 27-28 at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida. Participants will experience and implement innovative approaches to engineering education based on the concepts of intrinsic motivation, students as empowered agents and design thinking. They also will produce lesson plans for specific course activities and test them in their classrooms.
"By leading this workshop effort, UTEP will be in a prime position to listen and share experiences with others engaged in the continued improvement of engineering education at HSIs," Kendall said. "This means we will gain valuable knowledge of ways we can grow and improve in areas that NSF will be supporting. Ultimately, our hope is that the impact will be felt across the College of Engineering, increasing both the quality of the engineering education we offer and the access students have to the resources they need to graduate and enter the engineering field."
Kendall added that the collaborative is motivated and complements each other in that the three sites represent different educational contexts, but share a vision for the continued improvement of engineering education at HSIs.
That notion is in step with the overall goal of the HSI Program, according to Jim Lewis, acting NSF assistant director for Education and Human Resources.
"For decades, NSF has worked to provide members of communities traditionally underserved in STEM with access to STEM education and opportunities in STEM careers," Lewis said. "Through our HSI Program, NSF aims to identify the most critical challenges and important opportunities for learners in undergraduate STEM education at HSIs."