Graduate Education Study


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

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. 

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

August 2021

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, January 5, 2022, 9:00 - 10:30 am. A detailed schedule of events at JMM 2022 can be found here.

TPSE Sponsoring Mini-course at JMM

August 2021

Developing Mathematics Programs for Workforce Preparation in Data Science and Other Applications will be presented by Rick Cleary (Babson College) and Chris Malone (Winona State University) on Wednesday, January 5, 2022, 1-3:00pm and Saturday, January 8, 1-3:00pm.


Expected takeaways for participants are:


1.)  Consideration of updated mathematics curricula that can be taught without the usual three semesters of calculus as a pre-requisite.  

2.)  How to structure courses and programs that have sophisticated mathematical content but are simultaneously useful for students preparing for careers rather than graduate school.

3.)  Ideas for structuring a new major or program in a mathematics department that involves stakeholders from outside mathematics, particularly employers and other academic departments.

4.)  Careful evaluation of courses and pre-requisite structures that will encourage broader participation in new programs.

Rick Cleary will lead discussion for the first two points.  He has over 15 years of experience building non-standard mathematics curricula for students interested in engineering and business.  Much of this work can be seen in his September 2020 presentation to the Electronic Seminar on Mathematics Education can be found here.Chris Malone will lead discussion on points three and four.  He helped build the successful data science major at Winona State University.  Details can be found here

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.

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.

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 and can be viewed on here. Additional videos will be coming soon. 

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

August 2021

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, January 7, 2022, 1-2:30pm. 


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

Michael Dorff appointed Director of Strategy and Implementation 

May 2021

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.

How to Support and Lead the Urgent Transition to Quality Online Learning in Intro Math

November 2020

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