Math Gets a Makeover

by Shannon Najmabadi
Chronicle of Higher Education, April 16, 2017
Full text here. Excerpt reprinted with permission.

TPSE (often pronounced "Tipsy") works with other groups to bring awareness, resources, and legitimacy to math reform, and makes it easier for reform-minded faculty members to learn from one another. The organization is led by a prominent mathematician in the field, Phillip Griffiths, an emeritus professor of mathematics at the Institute for Advanced Study. His involvement alone, many math reformers say, validates the effort.

TPSE’s aim is broad: to provide "mathematically rich and relevant education for all students, whatever their chosen field of study." But the crux of its work involves changing what is taught to undergraduates, and how. Reformers hope that making content more relevant and delivery more interactive will help students succeed, in class and beyond.

In practice, these changes range from doing more group work to offering a menu of entry-level math courses. One organization TPSE works with, the Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas, for example, has led an effort to offer courses on statistics and quantitative reasoning as two such options. (Mr. Treisman, founder and executive director of the Dana Center, is also on TPSE’s governing board.)