Exploring a Content-Focused Approach to Describing and Improving Instructional Quality in Mathematics
Erica Litke, University of Delaware
- Friday, March 29
- 4:30-5:30 SAEC 1151
Research examining teaching quality in mathematics has evolved from a focus on general pedagogical aspects to one that considers mathematics-specific teaching practices. This research has developed our understanding of quality mathematics instruction broadly speaking and has guided improvement efforts. However, less attention has been paid to instructional practices grounded in specific mathematics content domains. I present results from research focused on describing the nature and quality of instruction in two different content contexts—9th grade algebra and 4th and 5th grade lessons on data and statistics topics. I examine the features of instruction that support students’ learning opportunities in these specific content domains. I discuss the implications of examining instruction from a content-focused perspective for understanding and measuring instructional quality and for supporting instructional improvement efforts.
Dr. Erica Litke is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education in the School of Education. She received her doctorate in Education Policy, Leadership, and Instructional Practice from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Her research focuses on secondary math instruction and issues of equity, particularly around instructional practice. Recent work looks at the state of algebra instruction in urban districts. Other work looks at the impact of district-level policies designed to address equity in secondary mathematics. Erica has worked at the National Center for Teacher Effectiveness on projects related to the Mathematical Quality of Instruction. Prior to getting her doctorate, Litke was a high school mathematics teacher at a public school in New York City, where she was a Math for America Master Teacher. Her research has appeared in Teachers College Record, American Journal of Education, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, and American Educational Research Journal. She previously served as editor and co-chair of the Harvard Educational Review.
This event is associated with the UAMTE (Utah Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators) Annual Conference and co-sponsored by the Center for Science & Mathematics Education.
The last day to apply for the 2019-2021 U-BEES cohort is March 31st. Teachers in elementary schools supported by United Way of Salt Lake are eligible for a 100% tuition subsidy. For more information, visit csme.utah.edu/ubees.
Just Walk Away, René: Cultural Issues in Broadening Participation in Mathematics
Phil Kutzko, University of Iowa
- Thursday, April 4
- 4-5pm in JWB 335 (refreshments at 3:30 in JWB common room)
This presentation is hosted by the Department of Mathematics
Science, as we know it today, developed in a particular time and place for reasons that have never fully been explained. The concept of a function—a concept that underlies all of modern science—first appears in Descartes’ La Géometrie in 1637; within a generation, Newton and Leibniz had developed the calculus and Newton had laid the foundation for modern physics. Similar transformative advances occurred shortly thereafter in chemistry, biology and medicine. This is the context in which we do science today; a West European, Cartesian context in an increasingly non-European nation. The Western approach to science embodies certain cultural values, among them skepticism, objectivity, secularism and a belief in progress as an unmixed virtue. These values are by no means universally accepted, either internationally or within our own country. Further, they have sometimes been used to justify aggression and sometimes worse by Europeans and their descendants in the Americas against other ethnic groups and even against certain groups of European ethnicity. This, it would seem, is reason enough for underrepresented minority groups and other Americans who have not historically been invited to the table to steer clear of European science. Any approach toward broadening participation in science that fails to take into account this cultural context can only go so far. Examples are afforded by standardized testing and affirmative action each of which is ultimately motivated by the same goal: to remove impediments to access caused by overt ethnic and class discrimination (standardized tests) and by the consequences of such discrimination (affirmative action). Both have been valuable in extending access to ethnic and national groups who have found Western science culturally appealing as well as to individuals with similar proclivities from underrepresented groups; indeed, the use of standardized testing transformed the populations doing science during the Sputnik era while affirmative action has been responsible for similar transformations in more recent times. However, these and other strategies that have focused largely on removing barriers to inclusion may be nearing the limit of their utility.
One of the distinctive features of the University of Iowa math department’s initiative to broaden participation in our graduate program is the awareness we have developed of the cultural context in which this initiative takes place. I will discuss this cultural context in my talk and argue that an understanding of this context can lead to new strategies, strategies which, in our case, have transformed a traditional mathematics department in an ethnically homogeneous state into what some have called a model for what an American math department should look like in the twenty-first century.
Phil Kutzko was born and raised in New York City and is a product of the New York City public schools. He attended the City College of New York and received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Wisconsin. He joined the University of Iowa mathematics faculty in 1974. Kutzko’s research is in the area of pure mathematics known as the representation theory of p-adic groups, an area with applications to the theory of numbers. He is the author, with Colin Bushnell, of a monograph in the Annals of Mathematics Studies (Princeton) and has lectured widely on his work. He is a Fellow of the AAAS, a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society and was a University of Iowa Collegiate Fellow at the University of Iowa until his retirement in December, 2017. Kutzko is honored to have played a part in the University of Iowa Department of Mathematics’ activities in minority graduate education and in the extension of these activities to other departments of math sciences nationally as well as to STEM departments at the Iowa Regents universities. In this context, he was the Principal Investigator and Director of the Iowa Regents Universities NSF-AGEP project and the Principal Investigator and Senior Advisor to the Alfred E. Sloan Foundation/University of Iowa Center for Excellent Mentoring. He presently serves at the Director of the National Alliance for Doctoral Studies in the Mathematical Sciences, a project which involves mathematical sciences departments at a variety of colleges and universities and whose goal is to increase the number of doctoral degrees in the mathematical sciences awarded to underrepresented US minority students. Kutzko was honored for his work in this area with the 2008 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring. This award was presented to him by President Obama in a White House ceremony in January, 2010.
College of Science faculty members who wish to request Fall semester Learning Assistants (LAs), should submit an application no later than April 5, 2019. For more information, visit csme.utah.edu/la
Undergraduates in the College of Science seeking summer internships should apply to the internship program by April 5, 2019. For more information, visit csme.utah.edu/internships.
This talk by Phil Kutzko, director of the Math Alliance (https://mathalliance.org/welcome/), should be of interest for faculty in
any department that wants to recruit to its graduate programs minority students with strong math skills.
The National Alliance for Doctoral Studies in the Mathematical Sciences is a rapidly growing community of faculty whose goal is to increase the number of students from backgrounds that are underrepresented in the mathematical sciences who earn doctoral degrees in those fields. One key to the success of the Alliance is its Graduate Program Groups – groups of faculty at doctoral or Master’s serving departments in the mathematical sciences who are eager to welcome, mentor and train the increasing number of well-prepared Alliance undergraduate and Master’s students who will enter graduate programs each year. (Please click here for a description of our GPGs and here for a list of our Doctoral Program Groups). I will describe the growth of our Alliance, its program and its accomplishments and will outline ways in which the University of Utah can work with the Alliance, both at the departmental level and as a University Partner. I look forward to a lively discussion!
Students interested in applying to the 2019 REFUGES Summer Bridge program should apply no later than April 7, 2019.
For more information, visit csme.utah.edu/refuges.
THURSDAY-APRIL 18, 2019
4:00 pm 4630 TBBC
Host: Shelley Minteer
“Active Learning: Why it’s Justified. How to Implement It.”
Thomas J. Wenzel is the Charles A. Dana Professor of Chemistry at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. Dr. Wenzel received his B.S. in chemistry from Northeastern University in 1976 and his Ph.D. in analytical chemistry in 1981 from the University of Colorado. He began his faculty position at Bates College in 1981. He has been the recipient of over $3.8 M in research and/or educational grants from the National Science Foundation, Research Corporation, the Petroleum Research Fund, and the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation. His work in the area of chiral NMR shift reagents has been supported since 1991 through seven consecutive NSF-RUI grants. His research accomplishments have been recognized through the American Chemical Society Award for Research at an Undergraduate Institution (2010). He was the Chair for the 27th International Symposium on Chiral Discrimination (Chirality 2015). He is especially interested in developing the use of project-based laboratory experiences and group-learning in general and analytical chemistry (active NSF-IUSE grant). His educational activities have been recognized through the J. Calvin Giddings Excellence in Education Award from the Analytical Division of the American Chemical Society (1999). He has been active in efforts to promote research at undergraduate institutions and the participation of undergraduates in research. He served as President of the Council on Undergraduate Research in 1996-97 and has undertaken many other leadership responsibilities for the organization in his tenure as Councilor. He served a 3-year term as chair for the American Chemical Society’s Committee on Professional Training, the entity that approves chemistry departments to offer certified undergraduate degrees.
Join us as we celebrate the accomplishments of the Spring 2019 College of Science interns!
Participating undergraduate students will each give brief presentations outlining the highlights of their internship experiences.
Refreshments will be served.
Creating the Future of Education: Leadership Thinking and Problem-Solving
A short talk followed by discussion.
Dr. Lindy Elkins-Tanton, Arizona State University and Beagle Learning
Monday, April 22, 4 PM, INSCC 110
Dr. Lindy Elkins-Tanton is a planetary scientist and educator who focuses on the evolution of terrestrial planets, and the relationships between Earth and life on Earth. Dr. Elkins-Tanton is the director of the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University, co-chair of the Interplanetary Initiative, and she is the Principal Investigator (PI) of the Psyche mission, selected in 2017 as the 14th in NASA’s Discovery program. She is also a co-founder of Beagle Learning, which provides strategies for active, engaging learning for all.
Her research includes theory, observation, and experiments concerning terrestrial planetary formation, magma oceans, and subsequent planetary evolution including magmatism and interactions between rocky planets and their atmospheres. She also promotes and participates in education initiatives, in particular, inquiry and exploration teaching methodologies, and leadership and team-building for scientists and engineers.
Professor Elkins-Tanton received her B.S. and M.S. from MIT in 1987, and then spent eight years working in business, with five years spent writing business plans for young high-tech ventures. She then returned to MIT for a Ph.D. She spent five years as a researcher at Brown University, followed by five years on MIT faculty, before accepting the directorship of the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism at the Carnegie Institution for Science. In 2014, she moved to the directorship at Arizona State University.
She serves on the Standing Review Board for the Europa mission, and served on the Mars panel of the Planetary Decadal Survey and on the Mars 2020 Rover Science Definition Team.
Professor Elkins-Tanton is a two-time National Academy of Sciences Kavli Frontiers of Science Fellow and served on the National Academy of Sciences Decadal Survey Mars panel. In 2008 she was awarded a five-year National Science Foundation CAREER award, and in 2009 was named Outstanding MIT Faculty Undergraduate Research Mentor. In 2010 she was awarded the Explorers Club Lowell Thomas prize. The second edition of her six-book series “The Solar System,” a reference series for libraries, was published in 2010 and the book “Earth,” co-authored with Jeffrey Cohen, was published in 2017. Asteroid (8252) Elkins-Tanton was named for her. In 2013 she was named the Astor Fellow at Oxford University, and in 2016 she was named a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union.
ASU webpage: https://isearch.asu.edu/profile/2437950
NASA Psyche Mission webpage: https://psyche.asu.edu/
GoogleScholar webpage: https://scholar.google.com/citations?hl=en&user=sODCFRQAAAAJ
Beagle Learning: https://blog.beaglelearning.com/