Teachers and Graduate Students Enhancing Education

Program Overview

Modeled on a very successful program funded by the NSF, Ph.D. students serve as “visiting scholars” in local middle schools. Teams of teachers and PhD students work together to integrate research and new approaches into classrooms. Ph.D. students observe the classroom first, then gradually assist teachers - working up to teaching a lesson as the primary teacher.

Program Goals

  1. Provide training, mentoring, and experiences for graduate students to develop their abilities as potential future faculty and professionals
  2. Enhance quality of education in middle schools
  3. Provide professional opportunities and content support for middle school teachers
  4. Foster partnerships between the university and local schools

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Attend training and Check-in meetings
  • Commit to being in the classroom for 1 day per week (roughly 7 hours)
    • Can split up the time; schedule is up to you
    • Initially assist with lessons led by the teacher, later develop your own lesson plan
  • Submit a short weekly reflective journal on your experiences in the classroom
  • Create an inquiry-based lesson plan that relates to your research theme and implement it
  • Obtain a service learning grant from Purdue University to support any classroom costs
  • Submit final lesson plan, all associated materials, and a one page final reflective essay about your lesson plan

Program Outcomes

Ph.D. Students:

    • New way to apply their research
      Improved teaching abilities & knowledge
      Better understanding of K-12 education
      Enhanced communication and time-management skills


    • Enhance lesson plans and teaching
      Add new lessons based on research
      Content matter support
      Increased understanding of "research"

Middle School Students:

    • Exciting new curriculum additions
      New role models in the classroom
      * this is not a funded graduate assistantship; optional 2 credits course (GRAD 590 - Graduate Student Engagement in K-12 Education)

Next Step

If you are interested in learning more about this program or have additional questions, please email Faith Weeks (fweeks@purdue.edu) for more information.

If you would like to participate in this volunteer program all you need to do is send your CV (including on campus contact information) and a one page, informal biography of yourself, including why you want to be a part of this program, and a simple explanation of your research to email Faith Weeks at fweeks@purdue.edu. This information will be used to match you with a middle school teacher for the upcoming semester.

Participating Middle School: Tecumseh Junior High School, 2101 S. 18th St. Lafayette, IN 47905

Download Participant brochure or Teacher Brochure.

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Ernest C. Young Hall, Room 170 | 155  S. Grant Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2114 | 765-494-2600

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