Request for Funding to Support Travel to
J. WINSTON CRAWLEY
Goals and Objectives
The goal of my attendance at the meeting is simple:
To enhance my value to the department and the University, specifically in the area of mathematics.
My doctorate, received in 1976 from the University of Tennessee, is in mathematics. However, in the 24 years I have taught at Shippensburg University, the majority of the courses I have taught, and thus the majority of my professional development, has been in computer science. At this stage in my career, I am teaching more math courses and more advanced math courses, and feel the need for some "rejuvenation" of my interests and abilities in mathematics. This meeting will allow me to pursue several specific objectives that relate to that need:
- Learn some ideas that will allow me to direct meaningful undergraduate research in mathematics.
- Renew my skills in teaching students how to think logically, and specifically how to reason about concrete and abstract mathematical ideas.
- Reinforce my love for mathematics as an area of intellectual inquiry.
- Enhance my knowledge in areas of mathematics that were not part of my original training.
- Increase my knowledge of assessment techniques that are specific to the subject matter of mathematics.
Professional Development Explanation
The annual joint meeting of the American Mathematical Society (AMS) and the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) is the most important forum for renewing the mathematical "vigor" of members of the (college-level) teaching profession. It is probably a safe generalization that the AMS offers a broader appeal for those employed at "research" institutions, whereas the MAAís concentration is focused more on the interests of universities (such as Shippensburg University) where effective teaching is the most important hallmark of its professors. Having a joint meeting, however, helps to encourage the cross-fertilization of the two emphases. Thus, the meeting contains major components of formal, high-level mathematical research, of research that is more closely tied to the content of the undergraduate curriculum, and of issues involved in conveying the subject matter to a new generation of students, both in mathematics and in areas that use mathematics.
Thus, this meeting provides a great variety of opportunities to pursue professional development in all its manifestations.
My plans are to participate in these specific activities which relate directly to the objectives outlined earlier:
- I am taking a minicourse titled Cwatsets: A research experience for undergraduates. The course description is attached.
- I am taking a minicourse titled Developing your departmentís assessment plan. The course description is attached.
- There is a session on The Great Theorems of Mathematics that consists of numerous talks on theorems that have proven over time to be especially elegant and powerful. I will attend all the talks in this session that do not overlap with the Cwatsets minicourse.
- There are numerous hour-long talks given by leading mathematicians. I plan to attend several of these.
- There is a session on Topics in Teaching, Learning, and Exploring Proof. I will attend several of the talks in this session.
- There are several sessions that relate to my objective concerning development in areas not part of my original training in mathematics. Among these are the following:
Mathematics in Industry
Statistics and Mathematical Modeling: Lively Applications for the Classroom
LiveMathMaker - The Future of Mathematics on the Internet
Informal Session on Actuarial Education
The Pedagogical Potential of Computer Symbolic Algebra in the Teaching of Precalculus and Calculus
- There are other sessions that do not specifically relate to any of my primary objectives, but which I may nonetheless attend. For example, there is a session on Redefining "College Algebra" Courses. Since the department is currently addressing this very issue, and I am involved in this effort, I may attend parts of this session to learn about what other universities have done or plan to do.
The expected outcomes relate directly to the specific courses, sessions, and talks I will attend.
- Minicourse on Cwatsets. When I received my mathematical training, the concept of undergraduate research did not really exist. I therefore have no training in recognizing and developing problems that are appropriate for this "in-between" level - more challenging than the usual textbook problems, but still accessible to an undergraduate student. As a result of taking this course, I will be more able to assist with undergraduate research. The course will not only provide a specific context for doing so, but will also provide general knowledge on the types of problems that are appropriate at this level.
- Minicourse on assessment. The "learn about assessment techniques" objective is actually quite low on my priority list - this is not why I chose to attend the meeting. On the other hand, when I saw that there was a minicourse on this I decided it would be good to attend it, since the department is currently struggling with this issue. As a result of taking this course, I (along with other members of the department) will develop at least a preliminary plan for improving the current assessment techniques within the department.
- The Great Theorems of Mathematics. This session will provide significant mathematical stimulation relating to my objective of "reinforcing my love for mathematics as an intellectual pursuit."
- Hour-long talks. The speakers are generally chosen based on two criteria ñ their deep understanding of an area of mathematics, and their ability to explain that area in an interesting and understandable manner. These talks will significantly renew and reinforce my interest in mathematics.
- Teaching, Learning, and Exploring Proof. Many of the talks relate to the question, "How can we teach students to read and understand proofs, and to develop their own proofs?" This is a crucial question in teaching a course I am assigned in the spring, Introduction to Abstract Algebra. As a result of attending these talks, I will better understand the psychological and pedagogical background to teaching students how to develop mathematical reasoning ability.
- Sessions on math in industry, etc. Attending some of these talks will increase my knowledge in two important areas: applications of mathematics, and effective use of technology in the classroom.
|Airfare (round trip from Harrisburg to New Orleans)
|Lodging (5 nights at $124 plus tax)
|Meals (5 days at $40 per day)
|Mileage to and from airport (100 miles at $0.325)
|Taxi between airport and conference center
Copy of minicourse descriptions (course #7 and course #10)
Copy of registration and hotel confirmation