Assessment of a Collaborative NSF RET Program Focused on Advanced Manufacturing and Materials

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Manufacturing is a key pillar to economic vitality and growth in the United States (US). However, the US faces increasing competition in the area of manufacturing from across the globe. As such the future of the US’s role in manufacturing requires innovation, cutting-edge and sustainable technologies, and new materials. Furthermore, this new era of manufacturing will require a well-educated and well prepared STEM workforce. Since the task of inspiring and preparing K-12 students in STEM falls largely on K-12 teachers, it is critical that the teachers understand the role of materials and manufacturing in the US and are provided with the tools and knowledge that will empower them to get children excited about STEM as well as careers in materials and advanced manufacturing. The main objective of the Collaborative Research Experience for Teachers Program entitled Inspiring The Next Generation of a Highly-Skilled Workforce in Advanced Manufacturing and Materials was to provide current and future middle and high school teachers with the skills required to successfully engage their students in STEM learning experiences by immersing these teachers in real world engineering research that was thematically centered around materials and advanced manufacturing. This collaborative RET site placed teachers and pre-service teachers with research mentors at one of three regional universities to work on engineering research projects that connect with regional strengths in advanced manufacturing and materials. Participating teachers and pre-service teachers joined other professionals in the region in an immersive materials “bootcamp” facilitated by ASM prior to the start of their research experience. Field trips, guest speakers and group work that produced K12 curriculum complimented the teams’ research experience. During the culminating activities, the groups presented the STEM curriculum developed, the final laboratory project results and provided regular guided reflections regarding their efforts during the six week program. Local System Change (LSC), Mathematics Teaching Efficacy and Beliefs Instrument (MTEBI) and Science Teaching Efficacy and Beliefs Instrument (STEBI) surveys were administered to identify changes in attitudes, beliefs and practices. Results of the evaluation suggest that this collaborative RET program was successful at meetings its nine objectives and positively impacting the attitude, beliefs and practices of the participating teachers. Feedback obtained from the teachers will be used to modify the program for the next cohort.


Poster presented at ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, New Orleans, LS, June 2016.