Newswise — EL PASO, Texas – Meagan Kendall, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Engineering Education and Leadership at The University of Texas at El Paso, has been awarded the majority of a $2 million collaborative grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to design engineering leadership academies as part of an effort to enhance the quality of undergraduate STEM education at Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs).

"Dr. Kendall’s effort in securing this major NSF award is a reflection of her outstanding career progression at UTEP,” said Roberto Osegueda, Ph.D., vice president for research in UTEP’s Office of Research and Sponsored Projects. “We are very proud of Dr. Kendall’s accomplishments”

A goal of the five-year program is to bolster the population of non-tenure-eligible Engineering Instructional Faculty (EIF), who are viewed as an under-explored and under-supported contingent that plays a critical role in students’ educational experiences within engineering.

“This program has three priority areas: critical transitions; innovative cross-sector partnerships; and teaching and learning in STEM,” Kendall said.

Through professional development and coaching of approximately 80 EIF, the project will enrich a growing network of educational leaders at HSIs. These EIF will design educational initiatives for their campuses that seek to improve student learning and retention, with the potential to directly impact the education of over 1,800 engineering students throughout the project.

“Ultimately, our goal is to positively impact the educational experiences of undergraduate engineering students at HSIs by, first, listening to and partnering with the faculty that are in the best position to enact change but rarely have the resources to make their vision reality,” Kendall said.

Kendall is the grant’s principal investigator. She is collaborating with co-principal investigator Ines Basalo, Ph.D., assistant professor in practice of mechanical engineering at the University of Miami; and Gemma Henderson, senior instructional designer at the University of Miami. The other portion of the collaborative grant worth $984,000 was awarded to Alexandra Coso Strong, Ph.D., assistant professor of engineering education at Florida International University and collaborator on the project.

The University of Texas at El Paso enrolls more than 25,000 students in 166 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs in 10 colleges and schools. With $108 million in total annual research expenditures, UTEP is ranked in the top 5% nationally and fourth in Texas for federal research expenditures at public universities, after UT Austin, Texas A&M and the University of Houston. UTEP is one of the largest and most successful Hispanic-serving institutions in the country, with a student body that is over 80% Hispanic.