Joint Mathematics Meetings (JMM)
TPSE Math has become a partner for the Joint Mathematics Meetings (JMM) scheduled to take place January 5-8, 2022, in Seattle. At JMM, TPSE will hold a forward-thinking session on the future of the mathematics enterprise, imagining what lies 20 years ahead. Possible topics include education, policy, and staffing of departments. The JMM is the largest annual mathematics gathering in the world. will include a broad range of presentations, panels, and minicourses on mathematics research, pedagogy, inclusion, and more.
Note: Info about JMM can be found here https://www.jointmathematicsmeetings.org/jmm#partners
Michael Dorff appointed Director of Strategy and Implementation
We are pleased to announce the appointment of Michael Dorff, Professor of Mathematics at Brigham Young University, as TPSE Math’s Director of Strategy & Implementation, on a part-time basis beginning June 1. In this position, Michael will work with the TPSE Board to cultivate, expand, and drive innovative strategies to execute TPSE’s mission and goals. Among other responsibilities, he will be tasked with building the capacity of the Mathematics Advisory Group (MAG) to serve as an effective resource for advancing the TPSE agenda, and he will play a central role in TPSE’s fundraising efforts.
Michael is past president of the Mathematical Association of America, past department chair at BYU, founding co-director of Preparing Student for Business, Industry and Government Careers (PIC Math), founding director of the Center for Undergraduate Research in Mathematics (CURM), a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society (AMS), recipient of the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) Fellows Award, a semifinalist for the Cherry Award for Great Teaching from Baylor University, co-author of the book entitled A Mathematician's Practical Guide to Mentoring Undergraduate Research, and he has been a member of the TPSE Math MAG.
Michael replaces Dave Kung who recently accepted a position with the Dana Center but will remain active with TPSE Math. We thank Dave for all of the work he did to move our priorities forward and wish him the very best in his career.
Upper Division Pathways (UDP) - Curriculum Workshop
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.
Preparing Math Majors for Careers
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
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.
TPSE Responds to Challenges Caused by COVID-19 Outbreak
The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown higher education into a state of flux. Ensuring that students are able to receive quality online instruction has become of paramount importance. From the onset of the pandemic, TPSE Math and its network of partners have been quick to respond to concerns and challenges faced by faculty and other mathematics professionals.
With partners, TPSE organized a number of webinars to facilitate the exchange of information related to topics including online learning, teaching, and assessment, and as a forum for mathematics faculty to talk through current and future challenges facing the education community.
Tools for Teaching Online Video Series
The Teaching Strategies and Practices (TSP) 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. The video shows the tool in use from both faculty and student perspective. At present, videos commissioned are for Jamboard, Desmos, Geogebra, Flipgrid, Panopto, WonderMe, GoogleSheets, Purusall, and Discord. An announcement will be sent out once the videos are available, which we anticipate being in June.
How to Support and Lead the Urgent Transition to Quality Online Learning in Intro Math
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the higher education community, TPSE partnered with Ithaka S+R to develop a resource guide on the department and institutional considerations for effectively delivering introductory math courses in an online environment. Introductory math courses are a core component of undergraduate general education requirements and a key predictor of student persistence and success. How to Support and Lead the Urgent Transition to Quality Online Learning in Intro Math outlines a coordinated action strategy to help institutions increase both quality and efficiency in relation to mathematics pathways. The guide aims to be a resource for department chairs, academic administrators, and senior leaders involved in course delivery decisions. It includes resource suggestions for online teaching and learning but is not a “how to teach online” guide. The report is available from the TPSE website and from the Publications section of the Ithaka S+R website.
Suzanne Weekes Appointed New Executive Director of SIAM
TPSE board member Suzanne Weekes, Professor of Mathematical Sciences at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, was recently named the new executive director of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM). She will assume her new role effective January 1, 2021 and will “continue to build SIAM’s reputation as the leading professional society for applied mathematicians and computational scientists.”
Inaugural Chairs Forums
More than 200 math department chairs met to discuss their challenges via Zoom on May 29. Organized by Director of Strategy and Implementation Dave Kung and MAG member Alycia Marshall, the forums served as an opportunity to exchange ideas and brainstorm solutions to common challenges. About 40 other MAG members and community leaders joined the effort to facilitate discussion groups of 10 to 15 and record their ideas.
With higher education budgets in peril due to the coronavirus pandemic, the conversations covered many of the different ways the mathematics community is responding.
Stay tuned for a report summarizing discussions, and notices of future gatherings.