Areas of Concentration: Mathematics/Science Education

Mathematics/Science Education.   (click here to see faculty involved) Mathematics has long been hailed as the “Queen of the Sciences” because of the fundamental role it plays in creating models for innumerable and diverse phenomena from which useful information can be extracted.  Examples include making predictions of behavior of natural phenomena based on current data (such as in physics, chemistry, etc. and engineering), and selecting optimal strategies from among many options in man-made systems (such as in operations research, financial markets, economics, political science, etc.). With the aid of modern computers and software, results gained from models have assumed levels that earlier practitioners could only dream about. The training of future scientists and mathematicians is ever more important as the world becomes more and more complicated. Research is an extremely powerful teaching tool that leads to student’s disciplinary learning and professional growth well beyond traditional classroom settings.

Unfortunately, enrollment figures in mathematics programs in the USA do not look promising. Over the decade 1990-2000 the total US undergraduate enrollment grew 9.4%, while the math component numbers first climbed then fell back to the 1990 level. From 1990 to 2006 the US yearly math Ph D output has been around 1100, with the US citizen proportion of that total at about 43%.The number of math graduate students during this period averages about 10,000, with about 55% being US citizens. The overwhelming need for mathematics teachers in US high schools has been well documented, and some attempts have been initiated to address this problem, but  more creative solutions are urgently needed. The initiatives organized collaboratively at the Center will have major impact on mathematics teaching and research throughout the Consortium as well as the wider mathematical community. [read more >>]