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Alder Award Abstracts

Friday, August 7, 2:00 PM - 3:20 PM, Marriott Wardman Park, Salon 2/3

In January 2003, MAA established the Henry L. Alder Award for Distinguished Teaching by a Beginning College or University Mathematics Faculty Member to honor beginning college or university faculty whose teaching has been extra ordinarily successful and whose effectiveness in teaching undergraduate mathematics is shown to have influence beyond their own classrooms. An awardee must have taught full time in a mathematical science in the United States or Canada for at least two, but not more than seven, years since receiving the Ph.D. Each year at most three college or university teachers are to be honored with this national award and are to receive $1,000 and a certificate of recognition from the MAA. Award recipients will be expected to make a presentation at one of the national meetings of the MAA. Nominations for the award may be made by any member of the MAA or by any section of the MAA.

This session will be moderated Francis Su, Harvey Mudd College, MAA President.

Reality Shifting: Building Mathematical Confidence

2:00 PM - 2:20 PM
Talithia WilliamsHarvey Mudd College

The decision to pursue a career in mathematics, whether academic, industry or government, often rests on one’s perception of their own mathematical talent. As such, it’s easy for us to lose talented students who don’t “see” themselves as mathematically gifted. During this talk, I’ll highlight teachers and professors who shifted my reality by building my mathematical confidence and discuss ways that I continue that legacy with my own students.

A Taste of Research

2:30 PM - 2:50 PM
Patrick X. RaultSUNY Geneseo

Research experiences in undergraduate mathematics develop critical thinking and intellectual independence, but relatively few students have the opportunity to participate. We will discuss the Inquiry-Based Learning (IBL) teaching style, which can bring a taste of these experiences to the rest of our students. Such active learning strategies have gained significant endorsements in recent years, most notably from the NSF with a 2014 press release titled “enough with lecturing.” A comprehensive and high-impact study published last year states that these tastes of research significantly improve grades and reduce failure. It may now be time to stop asking “should we transition to an active classroom?” and start asking “what kind of active classroom should I create?” The Greater Upstate New York IBL Consortium provides a model to support making the transition at a regional level.

Be Inspirable!

3:00 PM - 3:20 PM
Allison K. HenrichSeattle University

Zap! A flash of inspiration strikes. You’re in a summer PREP workshop, and you get a great idea for a technique you can try in your classes to encourage students to take more ownership of their learning. What happens next? You excitedly return home. You redesign your syllabus for the next class you’re going to teach in the fall—incorporating your new idea. You can’t wait to try it out! If this sounds like you, you’re probably inspirable. Inspirable people put themselves in situations where they’ll be exposed to new ideas. And what’s more, they will often grab on to new ideas and run with them, changing the way they teach, mentor, approach their scholarship, and engage with their community. Inspirable people are often high achievers and agents for positive change. If I could give one piece of advice to a student or recent PhD, it would be this: Be inspirable. In this talk, I’ll tell a few stories about times I’ve been inspirable and describe what unfolded as a result.