Academic journal article Journal of STEM Education : Innovations and Research


Academic journal article Journal of STEM Education : Innovations and Research


Article excerpt

Dear Colleagues,

I hope that all of our readers had an enjoyable holiday season, and that 2012 is full of exciting, enjoyable experiences for all, both personally and professionally. Here at the Institute for STEM Education and Research, the new year brings us Volume 13, Issue 1 of the Journal of STEM Education. This issue contains six articles that contribute to our ability to prepare and engage students in STEM classes-an ability that ultimately helps attract and retain students in these crucial and profitable fields.

First, Brock Barry contributes a very informative guest editorial about "Professional ethics in the STEM disciplines." He reminds us of the impact STEM practitioners' decisions can have in the real world, and therefore how important it is that these practitioners have the ability to make ethical decisions. Since this is a weighty subject, and sometimes a difficult one to teach, Dr. Barry shares here his knowledge of the many resources available to STEM educators to assist in bringing lessons on professional ethics into the classroom.

Next, Dunbar P. Birnie, III, David M. Kaz, and Elena A. Berman share a detailed description of a successful, repeatable hands-on design project in "Solar collector design optimization: A hands-on project case study." They provide suggestions for how to implement this project in any undergraduate class, including possible variations of-and improvements to-their initial attempt.

Then, "Promoting engineering education among high school and middle school students" by Rohitha Goonatilake and Rafic A. Bachnak addresses the need to attract and retain students in STEM fields in the U.S. The authors explain a summer program at Texas A&M International University that was held to inform students about the opportunities advantages available to STEM majors.

Joan Raines also tackles the issue of retention in "FirstSTEP: A preliminary review of the effects of a summer bridge program on pre-college STEM majors." She relates the data compiled after a pre-college summer program designed to better prepare students entering STEM fields for college, in hopes that they will then succeed academically and graduate. …

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