I'm one of a group of mathematics, engineering and science faculty that received a $2 million grant over five years through the National Science Foundation's STEP (STEM Talent Expansion) program. The group, which also consists of Kandethody Ramachandran (PI), Arcadii Grinshpan, Catherine Beneteau (all Mathematics), Jennifer Lewis (Chemistry) and Gordon Fox (Life Sciences) received this funding to reform the Engineering and Life Sciences Calculus sequences at USF. The failure rates in these courses are quite high and we believe that, in many cases, it is because students do not see the relevance of the course work to their intended major. One of the three major thrusts of this project (the use of bridge projects) addresses this issue directly. Students taking Engineering Calculus II and III and Life Science Calculus II are given the option of replacing their final examination with a project. Projects are advised by two faculty: a subject area advisor (who typically assignes the problem) and the instructor of the calculus course the student is taking.
I serve as the coordinator for the Engineering Calculus sections and either assign problems to the students, locate an engineering faculty member that can assign a project, or help the students develop their own ideas. Since 2008, I have advised over 500 students on individual projects. Here is a link to a PDF which contains several examples of projects I've assigned and advised.
Here is a link to the electronic journal, Undergraduate Journal of Mathematical Modeling: One + Two, in which high-quality student reports on their calculus reports are published.
Trang Luong presents her calculus project at our 2012 STEP Workshop
I'm part of a team of faculty that recently was funded by NSF to create a Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) site at USF. Specifically, the program will invite high school and community college STEM faculty, as well as pre-service teachers, to participate in a summer research experience in the area of Functional Materials. Teachers will work with faculty on research projects, develop a lesson plan to use in their classrooms, and develop a web site to house their lesson plans. Here is a link to the program web site.
This project is in collaboration with Venkat Bhethanabotla of Chemical & Biomedical Engineering and Sylvia Thomas of Electrical Engineering, along with numerous participating faculty from the College of Engineering and the College of Arts and Sciences.
I'm part of a team that is implementing a new degree program at USF specifically for students who are interested in becoming middle school science or math teachers. Specifically, I am developing with Sylvia Thomas of Electrical Engineering, a capstone course entitled Contemporary Issues in STEM Education. A focus of the course will be on project-based learning in which students will use an engineering design cycle to develop a process or product.
This project is funded by Helios Education Foundation under the guidance of PI Dr. Gladis Kersait, of the College of Education.
Here is a link to a newspaper article that describes the program.
Engineering Design Cycle
I'm on the planning committee of this project. The goal is to incorporate evidence-based teaching strategies into gateway science and math courses at the University of South Florida, with the aim of increasing student retention.
This work is funded by NSF as a planning grant, under the leadership of Dr. Gerry Meisels of the Coalition for Science Literacy at USF.
Scott W. Campbell, Professor Chemical & Biomedical Engineering ENB 118 University of South Florida Tampa, FL 33620
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