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Mathematics Faculty Awarded NSF Grant to Improve Undergraduate STEM Education

Posted 11/13/2017
Category: Accolades

Five Mathematics Department faculty members were recently awarded a three-year $583,525 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant for Supporting and Sustaining Scholarly Mathematical Research through the NSF’s Improving Undergraduate STEM Education initiative. Larissa B. Schroeder (principal investigator), Jean McGivney-Burelle, Fei Xue, Mako E. Haruta, and David Miller (co-principal investigators) are the faculty that comprise the Engaged Mathematics Research Group (EMRG).

The purpose of the Supporting and Sustaining Scholarly Mathematics Teaching (S3MT) project is to improve the retention and success of STEM majors through the adoption of research-based teaching practices in first-year and second-year college mathematics courses. The University’s Mathematics faculty is forming a team of 12 scholarly mathematics faculty members from Drake University, Georgetown University, Grand Valley State University, Keene State College, and Metropolitan State University, who will apply active learning practices in flipped mathematics courses, and will study the effectiveness of these pedagogical innovations.

The team will collaborate with the University of Hartford project team to develop methods that best leverage active learning, and support the more widespread adoption of engaged teaching and learning strategies at diverse institutions with different student populations.

In addition, the University’s EMRG project team’s research will focus on developing a more robust understanding of the challenges, opportunities, and necessary supports for mathematics faculty with different levels of experience in the scholarship of teaching and learning. The longer-term goal of the project is to expand the cross-institutional network to include departmental colleagues at participant institutions and beyond; and to broaden and enrich the virtual community of faculty engaged in this effort.

The S3MT project builds on the EMRG team’s $172,136 NSF grant, Flipping Calculus (2013-17) that transformed the pedagogy of the Mathematics Department’s Calculus I course, which led to significant learning gains in first-year students.

Curriculum materials created as part of the Flipping Calculus grant are available to the public on the project website With support from a 2012 Provost’s Technology Fund Grant, the Mathematics Department renovated four traditional lecture-style classrooms into flipped classrooms with café-style tables and Apple technology, including multiple projection units, classroom iPad sets, and Apple TVs.

Alongside this grant, on Oct. 4 the EMRG team hosted Dr. Hiroki Oura and Dr. Yuki Watanabe, researchers from the Tokyo Institute of Technology, to continue conversations initiated last year on the scholarship of teaching and learning, and distance learning research projects.