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Four Outstanding Teachers Honored with MAA’s 2021 Teaching Awards

WASHINGTON, DC (July 28, 2021) Annually, the Mathematical Association of America honors teachers who are making an impact on STEM education with the Alder Awards and Dolciani Award. We are pleased to announce the 2021 Alder Award winners Andrew Penland, Alexander Diaz, Kim Seashore; and Dolciani Award winner, John Ewing.

Henry L. Alder Award

The Henry L. Alder Award for Distinguished Teaching honors beginning college or university faculty whose teaching has been extraordinarily successful and whose effectiveness in teaching undergraduate mathematics is shown to have influence beyond their own classrooms.

Mary P. Dolciani Award

The Mary P. Dolciani Award recognizes a pure or applied mathematician who is making a distinguished and active contribution to the mathematical education of K-16 students in the United States or Canada.

About This Year’s Recipients

Alder Awards

Dr. Andrew Penland is widely known amongst his students for his “fun and entertaining” teaching style. While teaching at Western Carolina University (WCU), Dr. Penland worked to empower high school students in the Smoky Mountains to enjoy mathematics as they competed in numerous competitions in North Carolina. Dr. Penland has worked to increase mathematical appreciation in the general community by giving general audience talks at local music venues and community colleges as well. 

Dr. Alexander Diaz-Lopez, currently a professor at Villanova University, has been a leader in developing spaces for mathematicians to build a strong community. Dr. Diaz-Lopez created groups such as the Informal Department Lunchtime Gathering (InDLG), Community of Mathematicians and Statisticians Exploring Research (Co-MaStER), as well as mentored for the Center for Undergraduate Research in Mathematics (CURM). Because of his devotion to building community spaces for mathematicians, Dr. Diaz-Lopez developed two programs to support students during the 2020 pandemic as well as support Latinx and Hispanic students. 

Dr. Kim Seashore from San Francisco State University (SF State) has used her experience as a former K-12 educator to innovate the mathematics curriculum at her university in a collaborative effort. As a mentor, Dr. Seashore already served as the principal M.A. thesis adviser to eight graduate students. In 2016, she established the Mathematics Education Research Group for Equity (MERGE) at SF State. A large number of undergraduate and graduate students, including many who are not in her classes or under her official mentorship, seek out Dr. Seashore for advice on mathematics, education, and beyond.

Dolciani Award

Dr. John Ewing has made important contributions to mathematics and mathematics education, first as a professor of mathematics at Indiana University, then as Executive Director of the American Mathematical Society, and currently as President of Math for America (now MfA) over the course of a 50-year career. Dr. Ewing truly believes that teachers are professionals and that we can best advance K-12 math and science education by advocating for and supporting our best math and science teachers, just as we honor our best mathematicians, instead of focusing attention on the poorest teachers.

“These award winners have demonstrated commitment to improving the quality of mathematics instruction, and a willingness to roll up their sleeves to improve student success,” said Michael Pearson, executive director of the MAA. “We all benefit from the shared wisdom and experience of our colleagues, and MAA is pleased to recognize these exemplary individuals for their contributions.”