Date of Award


Degree Type



Education and Human Services

First Advisor

Harper, Brian

Subject Headings

Engineering -- Study and teaching (Elementary) -- United States, Engineering -- Study and teaching (Secondary) -- United States, K-12, engineering, professional development, evaluation, quantitative, qualitative


A national push for reform in STEM K-12 education and a raised focus on including engineering in the classroom have emphasized the necessity for specific professional development opportunities for teachers. These programs are available however, they are typically very expensive and consequently inaccessible to most educators in the public school sector. The Engineering Education Summer Conference (EESC) is a three day professional development conference for K-12 teachers interested in using engineering in their classrooms and is funded primarily by the University Transportation Center at Cleveland State University. Its goals are to debunk biases of engineers and engineering, provide resources and funding to teachers, and indirectly increase exposure K-12 students have to engineering. One day was devoted to hands-on activities during which teachers participated as learners, and the remaining days consisted of presentations by engineers, engineer organizations, staff at the Great Lakes Science Center, a grant writer, and teachers who have used engineering in their classrooms. The EESC evaluation was conducted in the summer of 2010 and examined the effectiveness in achieving those goals using a combination of quantitative and qualitative research methods. Findings show that the conference succeeded in increasing the belief that engineering is important and necessary in society. Results also suggested teachers left more familiar with engineering, though this conflicted with qualitative responses that revealed they were still unsure how to incorporate engineering into the classroom and stated that time constraints, not enough concept knowledge, confusion about how engineering related to their standards, and a lack of money were significant barriers in doing so. Data shows that conference participants left with more stereotypical views of engineers more specifically, there were significant increases in the beliefs that engineers do not work well with people and that minorities do not have the skills necessary to be

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