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2. Campus Projects to Improve STEM Teacher Training and Professional Development Quality

Nano@Illinois Research Experience for Teachers (RET)

National Science Foundation Award #1407194
Xiuling Li
Micro and Nanotechnology Lab
Project Dates: May 1, 2014-April 30, 2017

The nano@illinois Research Experience for Teachers (RET) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will annually (from 2014-2017) expose a diverse set of in-service and pre-service science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) teachers and community college faculty from across the nation to cutting-edge research in nanotechnology. The RET will focus on recruiting underrepresented minority populations (focused on ethnicity, geography, disability, and veteran status) including women and will target teachers from high-need areas, including inner city, rural, low-income, and those with significant URM students. Participants will conduct research over 6 weeks in world-class labs with 4 follow-up sessions during the school year. Participants will have possibilities to extend the RET for 2 years.

Teacher professional development will include teacher-focused lectures, ethics seminars, hands-on modules, STEM education issues, career choices, and resources for implementing a nano lab and curriculum. With interest and experience in K-14 education, faculty's and staff's commitment to this RET Site will ensure positive outcomes for the teachers and their students. The RET Site will leverage institutional knowledge and educational resources developed through the NSF Center for Nanoscale Chemical-Electrical-Mechanical Manufacturing Systems (Nano-CEMMS). Teachers will develop modules to be disseminated widely. High-quality follow-up sessions and evaluation will be infused.