Faculty Awarded More than $2 Million to Strengthen STEM Education and Interest

Last Updated on May 20, 2014 at 12:50 pm

Originally published October 1, 2013

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) have awarded UTEP faculty grants totaling more than $2 million to help strengthen minority interest, participation and education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics-related fields.

Below are the grants that have been awarded:

“Transforming Students’ Partnerships with Scientists through Cogenerative Dialogues”

Pei-Ling Hsu, Ph.D., assistant professor of teacher education and Wen-Yee Lee, Ph.D., associate professor of chemistry, received $1.5 million from the NSF to enhance the student-scientist partnership to stimulate interest in science. The team will employ co-generative dialogue, a conversation among students and faculty scientists to reflect and speak freely about their experiences. Cogenerative dialogue has been shown to be an effective means of empowering urban students, who often struggle with learning, and to build interest and enthusiasm for science.

“Development and Enhancement of Green Energy Learning for Effective Engineering Education to Foster the 21st Century”

Tzu-Liang Tseng, Ph.D., associate professor of industrial, manufacturing and systems engineering, received funding from ED to integrate green energy into engineering curriculum and cultivate leaders in the fields among minority and female engineering students. New green energy courses with an emphasis on green material, green fabrication, and green building will significantly enhance students’ knowledge in the emerging technologies.

“Developing Metacognitive Learners to Persist and Achieve Timely Completion of Engineering”

Peter Golding, Ph.D., professor of metallurgical and materials engineering, received a grant from ED to work with an interdisciplinary team, including with Harry Meeuwsen, Ph.D., director of the Center for Effective Learning and Teaching, to increase the number and proportion of Hispanics who persist and graduate from undergraduate engineering programs.

“Elsa Villa has pointed out that learners with poor meta-comprehension skills, for example, can often finish reading passages without even knowing they have not understood them,” Golding said. “Seems to me we have all experienced that at one time or another! We will help our engineering students counter this, knowing that advancing their metacognitive skills is not only critically important to college success, but to achievements throughout life. Developing such lifelong learning skills from the outset is key to causing a paradigm shift in engineering education. It is a game changer — enabling students to achieve beyond preconceived learning boundaries.”

TIERA: Training in Environmental Research and Academic Success

Elizabeth Walsh, Ph.D., professor of biological sciences, received funding from ED to revise the freshman and sophomore level environmental science (ES) curriculum. Along with an interdisciplinary team of physicists, geologists and other biologists, Walsh will develop a two-year introductory ES program that engages Hispanic students and improves recruitment, retention, and graduation rates. Students will be provided supplemental mentoring and research experiences to prepare them as highly trained professionals.


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