The beginning of 2015 has been a flurry of activity as the Texas State University NASA STEM Educator Professional Development Collaborative becomes fully operational with the hiring of the 10 EPDC specialists that are located at each of the 10 NASA Centers across the U.S. The specialists were at Texas State Jan. 13-16 for planning meetings, training on Texas State and EPDC procedures, and employee orientation. It was a time for welcoming the new faces and renewing old friendships and was overall a great start to launching their careers as Texas State faculty members. Upon their return to their Centers, the EPDC specialists immediately hit the ground running and are delivering a wide variety of EPDC events in their regions and webinars to a national audience (see webinar listings here). Special thanks go to EPDC specialists, Steve Culivan from Stennis Research Center and John Weis from Marshall Space Flight Center for organizing the webinar schedule and re-designing the achievement certificates for educators who participate in the webinars and other EPDC trainings.
Other participants in the Jan. 13-16 kick-off meetings at Texas State were 10 faculty members from the five partner Minority Serving Institutions who, along with a team of Texas State STEM Education faculty members, will further expand NASA offering to teacher educators and the pre-service teachers and will support efforts to deliver NASA services and resources to greater numbers of underserved student and teacher populations. MSI partnership institutions include North Carolina Central University, Norfolk State University, University of South Florida, Salish Kootenai College, and California State University, Northridge. Also participating in the January planning meetings were representatives from U. S. Satellite and Penn State University who will be supporting the design and delivery of online EPD offerings.
Prior to the January kick-off meetings, the Fall semester was spent building the Texas State EPDC leadership team, weekly conferencing with our primary NASA points of contact, Dr. Gamaliel Cherry from Langley Space Center and Dr. Katie Wallace from Marshall Space Flight Center, conferencing with the 10 NASA Centers, and visiting NASA Headquarters and 8 of the 10 NASA Centers. Site visits to the remaining 2 NASA Centers occurred in February and March. The spring semester promises to be equally busy as the leadership team focuses on expanding the functionality of and EPDC web portal and operationalizing the EPDC event registration system.
In closing, let me say that it is a great honor for Texas State to be partnering with NASA on the Educator Professional Development Collaborative and our university and EPDC leadership team are fully committed to providing outstanding educator professional educator and resources that capitalize on the unique assets of NASA and to making these services and resources more widely available to all of our nation’s educators and students. In the meantime, know that we have all hands on deck, and are proceeding full speed ahead!
Leslie Huling, Project Director
NASA STEM Educator Professional Development Collaborative
Texas State University