JMM Panel Discussion 1/17/14: Summary

A panel invited by the TPSE Math organizing group led the project’s first discussion of issues facing undergraduate mathematics education. Panel members were Michele Cahill, Carnegie Corporation of New York; Jo Handelsman, Yale University; Brit Kirwan, University of Maryland; Joan Leitzel, Ohio Mathematics Initiative; Congressman Jerry McNerney, California’s 9th District, PhD in Mathematics; and Phillip Griffiths, moderator, Institute for Advanced Study. 

The following is a summary of remarks from both panel members and attendees.

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Transforming Postsecondary Mathematics Education

by Peter March

We are interested in systemic change in postsecondary mathematics education. Over the last several decades there has been a remarkably large - and documentable - amount of local change in mathematics departments across the country. Yet, local change has not led to global, systemic change.

Why not? 

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Meeting the Challenges of Improved Post-Secondary Education in the Mathematical Sciences

by David M. Bressoud, Eric M. Friedlander & C. David Levermore

The mathematical sciences play a foundational and crosscutting role in enabling substantial advances across a broad array of fields: medicine, engineering, technology, biology, chemistry, computer science, social sciences, and others.  The delivery of excellent post-secondary mathematics education is essential to the present and future wellbeing of our nation and its citizens.

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TPSE Math Panel - January 17, 2014

A group of distinguished panelists will take stock of our rapidly changing environment and engage the audience. Please join us!

Friday, January 17, 2014 - 4:15-6:00 - Baltimore Convention Center, room 336 - Joint Math Meetings

Topics to be discussed include:

  • A more useful undergraduate experience: the evolving needs and expectations of undergraduates who take mathematics
  • The implications for mathematics departments of the economic and productivity issues facing higher education
  • Lowering barriers to STEM success

The Panelists:


New Project Seeks Input from Mathematics Community

We seek your help in encouraging constructive change in postsecondary mathematics education. We are all aware of the forces at work: the expanding set of careers using mathematics and the changing types of mathematics that they use, the rise of online education, declines in state funding, and the tsunami of student debt. These issues have been the focus recently of two very different, significant reports: PCAST’s Engage to Excel and the National Academy’s The Mathematical Sciences in 2025

Our goal is to mobilize the mathematical community around these issues. Our first activity is a panel at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in Baltimore on January 17, 2014, featuring influential leaders from inside and outside the mathematical community. The topics to be discussed at the panel are:

  • Analysis of how well present curricula fit the needs of students (and potential employers), and what changes might create a better fit.
  • The likely impacts of online education, pressures on tuition, and constrained funding.
  • Improving mathematics education through changes in faculty reward structures.
  • How to lower barriers to STEM success.

We wish to learn from your experiences and to hear your thoughts about actions that can be taken. We hope you can attend the session in Baltimore, but if not, we encourage you to share your views below or via the "suggestions" tab.

We believe we are poised at the beginning of an era of disruption. Can you help us to build a national effort to assure that mathematics navigates these coming years in the most constructive and positive fashion possible?