PENSACOLA — The University of West Florida Haas Center has finalized the sale of Professional Educators Assessment and Results System, an electronic teacher evaluation system, to the Santa Rosa County School District for $125,000.

"This sale of UWF intellectual property is important on multiple fronts," said Dr. Matthew Schwartz, assistant vice president for the Office of Research Administration and Engagement. "It demonstrates UWF’s capability to respond to real-world needs of our regional partners through the development of tools that improve their business processes. It also shows that UWF can develop intellectual property that is valued by the marketplace.”

The Haas Center IT team, comprised of software and database developers, IT professionals and UWF students, designed and developed PEARS in response to the school district’s need for an economical technology application that aids in meeting state-mandated requirements, while remaining flexible to accommodate an ever-evolving evaluation process and continuous growth.

The team collaborated with professors from the Department of Computer Science and the Department of Applied Science, Technology and Administration for planning and application design, and then partnered with the UWF Innovation Institute to launch the program in August 2015.

"The school district needed a custom software program, but they didn't have the time and resources to dedicate to the process of researching and combining new technologies they had never used before," said Teresa Middleton, assistant director of data analytics and information technology at the center. "The partnership with UWF helped them continue their mission of providing quality education to students, while the Haas Center team conducted the research and designed the program according to best practices."

Schwartz said the UWF Office of Research Administration and Engagement is preparing for increased activity in the realm of UWF intellectual property and commercialization based on indications from the development of new academic programs and staff expertise.

"The development, sale and implementation of PEARS directly aligns with the part of the university’s mission that states we will ‘contribute to the needs of professions and society,’" he said. "We’ve focused our university services on areas that serve our community. By developing this tool, the UWF Haas Center has highlighted the strong connection between UWF and our broader community."

Visit haas.uwf.edu for more information about the UWF Haas Center.