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  1. Michael Jacobson
  2. https://clas.ucdenver.edu/mathematical-and-statistical-sciences/michael-jacobson
  3. Professor
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. Auburn University, University of Memphis, University of Colorado Denver
  1. Kelsey Funkhouser
  2. https://clas.ucdenver.edu/inclusive-excellence-stem/kelsey-funkhouser
  3. Postdoctoral Researcher
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. University of Colorado Denver
  1. Josias Gomez
  2. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Josias-Gomez
  3. Graduate Doctoral Research
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. University of Memphis
  1. Leigh Harrell-Williams
  2. https://www.memphis.edu/cepr/faculty/harrell-williams.php
  3. Associate Professor
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. University of Memphis
  1. Scotty Houston
  2. https://www.memphis.edu/msci/people/sghoustn.php
  3. Instructor
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. University of Memphis
  1. RaKissa Manzanares
  2. https://clas.ucdenver.edu/mathematical-and-statistical-sciences/rakissa-manzanares
  3. Associate Professor C/T
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. University of Colorado Denver
  1. Gary Olson
  2. https://clas.ucdenver.edu/mathematical-and-statistical-sciences/gary-olson
  3. Senior Instructor
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. University of Colorado Denver
  1. Dave Shannon
  2. https://edu7.auburn.edu/collegedirectory/profile_page.php?uid=shanndm
  3. Humana-Germany-Sherman Distinguished Professor
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. Auburn University
  1. Jessica Webb
  2. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jessica-Webb-11
  3. Research Staff
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. University of Memphis

Collaborative Research: Promoting Success in Undergraduate Mathematics throug...

NSF Awards: 1821454, 1821460, 1821619

2021 (see original presentation & discussion)

Undergraduate, Graduate

The NSF IUSE-funded, Promoting Success in Undergraduate Mathematics through Graduate Teacher Training (PSUM-GTT) project, a collaboration between Auburn University, University of Memphis, and University of Colorado Denver, aims to strengthen the instructional skills of graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) in the Mathematical Sciences. The research component examines the impact of PSUM-GTT to inform ongoing program refinement and share findings with the field. Program components include a first-year teaching seminar, peer mentoring, support from a peer TA coach, a Critical Issues in Undergraduate STEM Education (CIUSE) seminar series, and K-12 outreach. The ultimate program goal is to improve the academic outcomes of the undergraduates taught by the GTAs. Intended project outcomes include GTAs’ increased preference for student-focused instruction, satisfaction with their instructional training and mentoring, increased attention to equity and inclusive pedagogy in the classroom, and decreased DFW rates of their undergraduate students.

 To assess the program impacts, GTAs complete surveys and focus groups, and DFW rates of students taught by the GTAs are collected. To encourage self-reflection on their teaching practices, GTAs also respond to journal prompts, serving as additional research data. Preliminary analysis indicates significant increases in GTAs’ knowledge of, use of, and attitudes towards student-centered active learning techniques and a broadening of GTAs’ beliefs about and practices around equity. GTAs also report support from mentors, project staff, and other GTAs.  

Our video will highlight the impact of the peer mentoring program and an equity-focused joint CIUSE seminar held in 2020, through Zoom, for GTAs and faculty at all three campuses.

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Discussion from the 2021 STEM For All Video Showcase (9 posts)
  • Icon for: Michael Jacobson

    Michael Jacobson

    Lead Presenter
    Professor
    May 10, 2021 | 03:52 p.m.

     Hi, I would like to introduce myself and our collaborative project.  I’m Mike Jacobson and have been a university faculty member in mathematics for over 40 years.  Approximately two months after my first Ph.D. student started in an Assistant Professor position, I received a call from the student about how to create a syllabus for a new class.  Quickly, I realized that our program was not really preparing our PhD students for academia – albeit, research is one component, there is more to the professorate.  In preparing the next generation of college faculty, we began adding (non-research related) components to the preparation for our doctoral students.  This has led to the development and implementation of program as indicated in our project’s video…

    You might have questions about

    • actual time commitment,
    • impact on the undergraduate students,
    • impact on the doctoral students
    • preparation for the job market

     My colleagues and I would be more than happy to answer all your queries and hear about your thoughts about our program.

     

  • Icon for: Laura Larkin

    Laura Larkin

    Facilitator
    Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow
    May 11, 2021 | 04:59 p.m.

    Hi Michael-

    This is such a worthwhile project and values the idea that teaching well is not something that just happens but can certainly be learned.  Just because someone is knowledgeable in a field does not mean they are great at teaching it.  I'm curious if the mentors are education specialists or math professors or math education practitioners.  Also, have you surveyed the participants to see if the program has impacted graduate student interest in teaching?   

     
    3
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Jennifer Valerio
    Gary Olson
    Michael Jacobson
  • Icon for: Leigh Harrell-Williams

    Leigh Harrell-Williams

    Co-Presenter
    Associate Professor
    May 11, 2021 | 08:25 p.m.

    All of our recent presentations are available on our ResearchGate page: https://www.researchgate.net/project/Developmen...

    One specifically about the mentoring program development is found here: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/338805...

     
    2
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Gary Olson
    Michael Jacobson
  • Icon for: Michael Jacobson

    Michael Jacobson

    Lead Presenter
    Professor
    May 11, 2021 | 08:31 p.m.

    Thanks Leigh!

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Leigh Harrell-Williams
  • Icon for: Michael Jacobson

    Michael Jacobson

    Lead Presenter
    Professor
    May 11, 2021 | 06:39 p.m.

    Laura, as we developed this “program” we tried very hard to piece this together so that the time demand would not overwhelm the GTA’s need to complete their mathematics training.  With the help of a small stipend, we found it was best to have mentors be a mix of department faculty and “senior” graduate students.  In addition, a “canvas course” for mentors and mentees was developed, which includes periodic “scripts” for the mentee-mentor pair to follow – assuring helpful discussions, as the semester progresses.  Anecdotally, the "gains" by the mentors, may be more substantial that the impact on the mentee.  We have surveyed participants about interest in teaching, but because of the disruption of the last two years, have not completed analysis of the responses.  Thanks for your  query!

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Gary Olson
  • Icon for: Josias Gomez

    Josias Gomez

    Co-Presenter
    Graduate Doctoral Research
    May 12, 2021 | 02:34 p.m.

    Laura, thanks for watching our video and inquiring about our project.
    In addition to Michael’s response, I want to point out that in general, we have received positive feedback from mentees regarding their graduate student mentors. They often mention that having a peer-mentor allows them to feel more comfortable discussing their struggles, and reaching out at any time (many have each other’s cellphone numbers), especially since they see them more often than they would a faculty/staff mentor. 
    A key aspect of our program is the multifaceted training process. Mentees receive support from experienced faculty and/or coaches, especially on dealing with difficult teaching or behavior situations, but also peer mentor support on everyday teaching issues. Hence, increasing their available resources.

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Michael Jacobson
  • Icon for: Bridina Lemmer

    Bridina Lemmer

    Facilitator
    Technical Assistance Consultant
    May 12, 2021 | 05:23 p.m.

    Michael and team, I love the focus of this work on and have to agree with Laura- teaching a subject at any level is a whole new ball game, and even in many K-12 teacher preparation programs the day-to-day skills needed are often overlooked. I think it took me 4 years before I finally had a decent syllabus!  

    You mentioned a "canvas course" above for your mentors and mentees and I'm curious, especially with the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, if you've given any consideration into evolving this into a self-sustaining ongoing community of practice?

    My 2nd year of teaching I transferred to an entirely different school and setting and I needed to "relearn" a number of things, so I can definitely imagine something like that being well-received.

  • Icon for: Scotty Houston

    Scotty Houston

    Co-Presenter
    Instructor
    May 13, 2021 | 10:31 a.m.

    Good morning Bridina, and thank you for watching our video.
    Thank you for your comment as well, and I don't think the group has thought much about this yet. I definitely agree that it would a worthwhile venture, and it would fill a gap that does need addressing. We as a team definitely want this project to continue at our institutions and be adopted by other institutions as well, and more research is occurring on this topic. Right now, the canvas course is designed for our mentees and mentors in the project, but I could see it growing as the grant moves forward and hopefully continuing well past the term of the grant.

  • Icon for: David Barnes

    David Barnes

    Facilitator
    Associate Executive Director, NCTM
    May 14, 2021 | 04:56 p.m.

    Very interesting.  I wish I had math courses in my undergrad and grad days which were a product of this.  Maybe I missed it but I was wondering if the GTA also collaborate/debrief across those in a topic and from year to year?  One thing that I am noticing is that often the variation in experiences between teachers or instructors, teaching the same course in a location – say 4th grade math in a school or in this case pre-calc at the university – is often significant.  I’m not advocating for a fully prescribed approach but if we find that something works, then shouldn’t we all be doing it?

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