MARCH 21, 2022 — UTSA has launched a new program designed to train the next generation of engineering educators from diverse experiences and backgrounds. Housed within the Margie and Bill Klesse College of Engineering and Integrated Design (Klesse College) and in partnership with the College of Education and Human Development (COEHD), the Engineering Education program currently offers two graduate certificates and is in the process of developing a new master’s degree in engineering education, which will focus on helping students expand their teaching, research and grant proposal skills.
The program reflects the university’s commitment to educational accessibility, particularly for students from historically underrepresented communities, and is helping to advance the institution’s national role as an advocate for equity and inclusion.
The Engineering Education program’s founding faculty were hired through Academic Affairs’ Strategic Faculty Hiring Initiative, a multi-pronged approach to hire promising, accomplished and diverse faculty in key areas to advance UTSA’s momentum as a Hispanic Serving Tier One research institution. Jointly appointed in the Klesse College and COEHD, these faculty scholars were hired based on their unique experiences and research expertise in advancing equity and inclusion within the field of engineering education.
Araceli Martinez Ortiz joined UTSA in the fall of 2021 as the Engineering Education program director and Microsoft President’s Endowed Professor. She has a passion for motivating students and teachers and extending STEM education access to underserved and underrepresented communities. She joined UTSA with the express goal of developing a robust program to produce engineering educators who can foster interest and develop relevant skills in students throughout San Antonio, South Texas and the nation.
“In my unique role as a professor of engineering education, it is my privilege to motivate students to recognize their potential and to guide them in developing their talent towards joining the engineering profession, armed with the power to positively impact their communities and the world,” Martinez Ortiz said.
Prior to joining UTSA, Martinez Ortiz served as executive director of the LBJ Institute for STEM Education and Research and as a research professor at Texas State University. With a specialization in teaching and learning approaches that support students’ academic journeys—including deeper comprehension of engineering concepts and professional development of engineering educators—Martinez Ortiz is recognized as a national leader in intervention and research efforts. In addition, her efforts support women and other historically underrepresented populations in engineering programs at the K-20 level.
Over the last eight years, her research has attracted more than $37 million in grant funding from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Education, NASA and others. She also advises NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement on the organization’s many outreach and educational efforts.
Joel Alejandro "Alex" Mejia joined UTSA in the fall of 2021 as associate professor of engineering education and director of the UTSA Prefreshman Engineering Program (PREP).
He is an NSF Career Award winner with a specialization in researching bicultural and bilingual STEM education, including the approaches that contribute to a more expansive understanding of engineering in sociocultural contexts, the impact of critical consciousness in engineering practice, and the development and implementation of culturally responsive pedagogies in engineering education.
Assistant Professor Karina Vielma joined UTSA in the spring of 2020 as the university’s first engineering education faculty member.
Vielma’s research focuses on connecting students, especially underrepresented minorities, to best practices for learning and succeeding in engineering, including positive engineering identity development, research experiences, mentoring, and confidence in mathematical skills. She is passionate about expanding knowledge and best practices to challenge and solve critical issues of access and equity.
UTSA currently offers two graduate level certificates designed for those interested in pursuing a career as an engineering educator. The Graduate Certificate in Engineering Education is a nine-credit-hour curriculum with emphasis on engineering curriculum development, instruction and assessment methods to support student learning outcomes.
The Career Technology and Engineering Teaching (CTET) Certificate, when combined with the Engineering Education Certificate, offers a certification pathway for teachers who wish to become Career Technical Education (CTE) educators to teach dual credit engineering courses in high schools or community colleges by meeting the 18-semester credit hour eligibility requirement to teach dual credit classes.
The standard deadline to apply to the certificate programs is April 1 for the fall 2022 semester. For more information, visit the Engineering Education program webpage.
The UTSA Klesse College’s interdisciplinary structure and hands-on, experiential learning-focused curricula produces engineers and design professionals ready to make their mark on the world. Each of its academic programs are built on a foundational commitment to identifying and solving grand challenges where humanity intersects with the physical world.
The UTSA College of Education and Human Development is one of the leading providers of educators, clinicians, and practitioners in the San Antonio area and has one of the largest teacher certification programs in Texas producing Latino/Hispanic teachers.
The college also boasts three accredited/verified licensure and professional certification programs including EC-12 school administrator, superintendent, reading specialist, school counseling, clinical mental health counseling, school psychology, and behavior analysis.
The college is responsible for innovative research and grants in STEM Education, urban educational outcomes, bilingual education, bi-national and bicultural issues, applied behavior analysis, integrated behavioral healthcare, special education, behavioral analysis, PK-12 school administration, higher education administration, and race, ethnicity, and gender studies.
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The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
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UTSA is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education .
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