News

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The Problematic Math of College Admissions

Oct
2022

Just Equations, The Charles A. Dana Center, UT Austin, and TPSE Math partnered to host a webinar/panel:  The Problematic Math of College Admissions

 

Panelists: Veronica Anderson (PenUltimate), David Bressoud (Macalester College), Pamela Burdman (Just Equations), and David Hawkins (National Association for College Admission Counseling)

Moderator: David Kung (Charles A. Dana Center, UT Austin)

Recording, slides and report can be viewed here.

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COME-IN (Creating Opportunities in Mathematics through Equity and INclusion) 

August 2022

Mathematics and statistics departments are being asked by their administration to improve the equity, diversity, and inclusivity in their department or have decided themselves to do this. However, the resources to support efforts to accomplish such goals are scarce. To help with this issue, TPSE created a diverse working group in 2021 of 16 mathematicians for the purpose of creating resources to guide a department in the mathematical and statistical sciences to assess and improve its efforts related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The working group adapted the core criteria from the AAAS STEMM Equity Achievement (SEA) Change to the needs and challenges of the mathematical and statistical sciences. The resulting resources are called COME-IN (Creating Opportunities in Mathematics through Equity and INclusion). 

The COME-IN tools consist of a set of reflective questions about recruitment, evaluation, and mentoring that relate to students, faculty, and staff. They include considerations and issues of which leaders might be unaware as they work to assess and improve their EDI efforts. The tools are also self-guided; department leaders identify their priorities, collect data, and develop action plans to address the problems at hand.

Please visit our website for further information about COME-IN.

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Research Evidence for Active Learning Invited Address

June 2022

The Teaching Strategies and Practices Mathematics Advisory Group hosted a Research Evidence for Active Learning Invited Address.  Estrella Johnson (Virginia Tech) presented Active Learning in Undergraduate Mathematics Courses: What we know, What we're pretty sure of, and What we still need to figure out. The recording of this talk can be found here. The slides can be viewed here.

 

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Transforming Higher Education to Achieve Equity

March 2022

TPSE has gathered a team of mathematical scientists to develop a detailed framework for mathematics and statistics departments to study, understand, and address issues of equity and inclusion among their students, faculty, and staff. The framework, based on the SEA Change departmental review guidelines created by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), helps academic departments to do a self-assessment of their policies and practices, identify their priorities for change, and develop measurable action plans to create more equitable environments.  

TPSE developed this self-assessment framework by assembling a task force that includes reflects different parts of the mathematical and statistical sciences, including representatives of the American Mathematical Society (AMS), the American Mathematical of Two Year Colleges (AMATYC), the American Statistical Association (ASA), the Mathematical Association of America (MAA), the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), and TPSE. Among these representatives were faculty from two-year and four-year colleges, research universities, and minority serving institutions; as well as people involved in Spectra, Indigenous Mathematicians, SACNAS, Lathisms, AWM, and the National Association of Mathematicians (NAM); people of diverse racial, ethnic, and gender identities; mid- and late-career faculty and graduate students; and leaders in a variety of roles. 

Guided by the extensive literature on problematic barriers and effective supports for students of color in STEM fields, and the Departmental Self Assessment Guide from AAAS, this group started by establishing equitable rules governing its own processes to ensure that all individuals would have their voices heard . The task force is nearing completion of  a departmental review guide that provides a detailed framework for mathematics and statistics departments to:

  • Understand how their policies and practices relate to equity and inclusion among their students, faculty and staff;

  • Identify their most important gaps in pedagogy & curriculum, key transition points, professional development, and other aspects of work in the department;

  • Develop customized, tangible, and measurable action plans to address those gaps.

 

A key feature of this framework is that it is not prescriptive but provides a structured process through which departments can identify their own paths, given their own context, priorities, and challenges.
 
Please join a  conversation at the Joint Mathematics Meetings (JMM) in Seattle in January, at panel discussion Transforming Higher Education to Achieve Equity. The panel will be moderated by Dr. Ron Buckmire, chair of the AMS Committee on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and a member of the TPSE task force. Panelists are Dr. Abbe Herzig, (TPSE) and Dr. Shirley Malcom (AAAS and SEA Change).
 
Wednesday, April 6, 10:30am – 12:00pm
AMS Committee on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Panel Transforming Higher Education to Achieve Equity.
 
Dr. Malcom will offer comments in support of efforts to consider mathematics curricula, teaching practices, and culture through the lens of social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion. She leads SEA Change, a program of the AAAS that aims to advance institutional transformation in support of diversity, equity, and inclusion, especially in colleges and universities. TPSE is leading the effort to realize SEA Change’s goals within the mathematical sciences. Dr. Herzig will describe their work to draft guidelines to help mathematics departments understand and address equity and inclusion.

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TPSE Leadership Institute

November 2021

TPSE launched a newly developed Leadership Institute with a cohort of 17 faculty participants (fellows). The program began in July with a two-day workshop with several speakers sharing their expertise on leadership topics. Each fellow is working on self-selected year-long project under the guidance of an experienced mentor.  The topics of the projects for the pilot group include, curriculum change, student retention, teaching practices, and diversity, equity, and inclusion.  To meet the fellows and learn about their projects click here
 
A goal of the program is to increase the capacity of the mathematical sciences community to enact change at the local and national levels, and to respond to future challenges.  The program is targeted at post-tenure math faculty who are interested in leadership positions at any level, from their own institutions to mathematics organizations and societies, to policy groups and Federal agencies. To learn more about the Leadership Institute click
here.  The application period to join the Leadership Institute will be re-open in the spring with applications due April 1, 2022. 

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Tech Tip Video Series

August 2021

The Teaching Strategies and Practices sub-group of TPSE has commissioned a set of short videos to explain various technology tools that can be used to engage students in the learning of mathematics. The videos give a brief description of the tool, the pedagogical purpose, and an explanation of how the tool can support the learning goals of mathematics courses and enhance the student’s experience. Videos and tech tips currently available are for Desmos, Discord, GeoGebra, NearPod, Perusall, VoiceThread and Wonder.me and can be viewed on here. Additional videos will be coming soon. 

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Graduate Education Study

November 2021

TPSE’s vision is to prepare students with the mathematical knowledge and skills necessary for engagement in society and in the workplace. The pandemic provided an opportunity to participate in discussions on career training for graduate students.  To engage further in these conversations and to understand the landscape better, TPSE commissioned the Rutgers Education & Employment Research Center (EERC) to examine current issues associated with graduate education.  The EERC was asked to study the recruitment, diversity, admission processes of both master’s and doctoral programs in math, and how those programs support their graduate students. TPSE was also interested in investigating career preparation and advising strategies including career advising, curriculum and learning opportunities, mentoring, internships/externships, research opportunities, and faculty development.  The study has been completed and we would like to share the final report which can be found here

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Preparing Math Majors for Careers

October 2020

Researched and compiled by Rutgers University on behalf of TPSE, the new publication Preparing Math Majors for Careers features insights and recommendations on a wide range of topics related to policy, curriculum, advising, and professional development. Consisting of an executive summary and six briefs that focus on a specific area, the report highlights promising career-readiness practices from math departments across the country. Specific areas of focus include:
 

  • Policies and Practices for Career Readiness

  • Revising Curriculum

  • Advising Strategies and Practices

  • Professional Development for Faculty and Staff

  • Working with Alumni

  • Partnering with Industry

 
A webinar presented by the researchers was held October 29 to outline and highlight the findings and recommendations from the report.
The publication and webinar video are available on the TPSE website. Additionally, a series of “implementation workshops” will be scheduled from December 2020 to March 2021. These online workshops are for participants interested in implementing the strategies detailed in the report and each session will concentrate on one of the focus areas.

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Careers Outside of Academia 

August 2022

A TPSE project is providing information for departments and students on discovering careers outside of the academy. Graduate Programs face evolving landscapes for recruitment, admission, diversity and academic plus career advising. TPSE commissioned a Rutgers Education and Employment Research Center (REERC) study to learn more about the strategies math faculty and their departments use to help students identify careers in math and to ensure math majors are career ready. The TPSE-REERC report Career Preparation in Math Graduate Programs presented enhancements and recommendations for graduate programs. In response to this report, a working group from the TPSE Graduate Education Mathematics Advisory Group developed a career resources guide Opening Doors: a TPSE primer on careers for mathematicians outside of the academy which can be found here

This guide is for graduate students, mentors, and directors of graduate studies and it supports graduate students planning to include non-academic positions in their job applications. This guide includes the various excellent available resources and communicates that a career search is much more than submitting your resume. Please share this resource with others. 

 

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Department Chair Conversations

March 2022

Nimmi Kannankutty (Senior Advisor, Office of the Director at the National Science Foundation) presented Getting to know national trends and your own students.  She shared a step-by-step demonstration on accessing national and institutional data on mathematics students.   The presentation slides can be viewed here and the recording can be viewed here

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TPSE Sponsors a Session at JMM on the Future of the Mathematics Education Enterprise

March 2022

TPSE Math will inaugurate a series on the future of the mathematics education enterprise – visions of the future for our community.   At JMM 2022, TPSE will showcase a panel of innovators in undergraduate data science curricula: Professor Johanna Hardin, Pomona College, MAA Hogg Award for Excellence in Teaching Introductory Statistics; Professor Deanna Needell, UCLA, Dunn Family Endowed Chair in Data Theory; Professor Talitha Washington, Atlanta University Center Consortium, Director Data Science Initiative.  The panel will be moderated by Sylvester James Gates, Jr, Brown Theoretical Physics Center Director, Ford Foundation Professor of Physics, an Affiliate Mathematics Professor and the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University.   Gates served on the 2016 U.S. President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), the National Commission on Forensic Science. The mathematics community is facing special challenges and undergoing many changes.  We are looking forward to being a voice in formulating future education directions.  Data science is providing our community the opportunity to offer a curriculum that impinges on everyone’s daily life. This panel discussion is scheduled on Wednesday, March 6, 2022, 9:00 - 10:30 am. A detailed schedule of events at JMM 2022 can be found here.

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TPSE Math Panel at JMM: Developing Innovative Upper Division Pathways in Mathematics

March 2022

Developing Innovative Upper Division Pathways in Mathematics:  Strategies for Enrollment and Inclusion will be led by Rick Cleary. The Upper Division Pathways (UDP) group of TPSE has been working to identify best practices in mathematics departments that have grown their enrollments, increased participation from students in traditionally underrepresented groups, and produced graduates well prepared for careers.  In this panel, members of our working group will inform the community of our work to date.  We will highlight resources and strategies departments can use to recruit a larger and more diverse set of students.  We will also discuss ways that mathematics departments can make good arguments for support within their institutions.  We will discuss lessons from a TPSE commissioned report from the Rutgers Education and Employment Center on best practices in innovative departments. This panel is scheduled on Friday, April 8, 2022, 1-2:30pm. 

 

A detailed schedule of events at JMM 2022 can be found here.

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Dual Enrollment

December 2021

TPSE's Lower Division Pathways working group led by Alycia Marshall (Anne Arundel Community College) and Ricardo Moena (University of Cincinnati) hosted a webinar Focus on Dual Enrollment Pathways Success on November 17. John Fink, Senior Research Associate at the Community College Research Center (CCRC) at Teachers College, Columbia University presented Rethinking Dual Enrollment as an Onramp to College & Career Pathways Lessons from the Dual Enrollment Equity Playbook. As a mechanism for expanding access to college and career opportunity, dual enrollment (DE) programs hold great promise but are underutilized. National research on access to DE shows racial equity gaps. John shared insights and examples from partnerships between K12, community colleges, and universities that have achieved strong access and outcomes for Black and Latino students in DE, drawing on in-depth fieldwork to 9 communities across the country as detailed in CCRC and the Aspen Institute's Dual Enrollment Playbook.

Karon Klipple, Senior Project Director at WestEd and the Executive Director of the Carnegie Math Pathways presented Dual Enrollment and Transition Courses Find Success while Increasing Access and Support. Many high schools and colleges are now recognizing dual enrollment and transition courses, using these same elements of design, as powerful means of creating gateways to college and preparing students for success once there. Building on its work in alternative pathways in higher ed, the Carnegie Math Pathways program has partnered with a number of states and districts to implement dual enrollment and 12th grade transition courses as a means of creating more equitable opportunities for college access and success. Karon shared important strategies and lessons learned from several effective dual enrollment and transition course programs that have succeeded in expanding access and supporting students for success.

Recording of the presentations and slides can be found here

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Upper Division Pathways (UDP) - Curriculum Workshop

May 2021

During the spring 2021 semester, Rick Cleary (Babson College) and Chris Malone (Winona State) designed a virtual two hour workshop on updating curriculum in the mathematical sciences, with emphasis on data science.  The workshop proved to be popular, and was delivered twice to accommodate the demand. 

A diverse set of schools chose to participate.  Each workshop had participants from PhD granting departments, comprehensive public schools, private universities and two year colleges, and each had representatives from minority serving institutions.  The workshop was designed so that the first hour featured ‘big picture’ curriculum discussion around alternate pathways that would place less emphasis on calculus as a gateway to mathematics. The second hour highlighted the Winona State experience in developing a data science major, and asked participants to consider how they might develop a new program.

While many schools were interested in developing courses or programs related to data science, others were interested in specialties like actuarial mathematics, and some wanted to develop applied mathematics programs more broadly. Positive feedback was received from both sessions which helped to inform our next steps:

  • Rick and Chris have proposed a four hour version of the workshop as a mini-course at JMM 2022.

  • The MAA is exploring creation of an on-line journal that would provide information for mathematicians seeking to develop curriculum related to data science.  Rick is working with the MAA on this project and the input from the UDP workshops has proved valuable.  

 

Discussions during the workshop show that for curricular change to be widespread, we need to encourage faculty development and support collaboration between mathematics and other disciplines.  For development, we would hope to convince mathematicians that they can make their courses more useful for students interested in careers without losing what they see as the essence of mathematics.  In collaboration, departments need help in moving beyond a traditional service role to partnership with related disciplines.  We hope TPSE UPD will continue to help initiate and support these changes.