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Mathematical Research Honored with the 2023 Mary P. Dolciani Award

The Mathematical Association of America (MAA) annually honors teachers who impact and improve Mathematical education with the Mary P. Dolciani Award. We are ecstatic to announce the 2023 Dolciani Award recipient, Stan Yoshinobu.

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 Recipient

Dr. Stan Yoshinobu earned a BA in mathematics from the University of California, San Diego, in 1995 and earned his MA and PhD from UCLA, finishing in 2000. Yoshinobu worked as a research mathematician and published work in pure mathematics for a few years early in his career, but has focused on mathematics education, pedagogy, and faculty development for the past 20 years.

Yoshinobu's approach has improved mathematical education by promoting student-centered inquiry-based learning – fundamentally changing the three-way relationship between teachers, learners, and mathematical content. He has been awarded Educational Advancement Foundation (EAF), National Science Foundation (NSF), and other grant funding for creating the Academy of Inquiry-Based Learning (AIBL), developing transformational workshops for college mathematics faculty, mathematics teacher educators, and facilitators to run more workshops. Dr. Yoshinobu has been crucial in propagating a broad and growing community of IBL practitioners who are reshaping modern mathematics pedagogy.

Since 2003, he has presented numerous workshops, invited talks, and given conference & poster presentations on Inquiry-Based Learning (IBL) instruction. He has extended IBL to projects for K-12 mathematics education, such as his work on mathematics curriculum development for at-risk children in grades 3–6 in San Luis Obispo, CA, and his professional development for K-12 teachers to strengthen their mathematics content and inquiry-based teaching skills.

This work offers high leverage, reaching teachers who reach large numbers of students and deploying higher education expertise to improve K-12 education as a public good. One nominator estimated that “In all, these workshops prepared 495 instructors to teach with more effective and equitable methods that reached over 22,000 students in the first year alone. A rigorous evaluation effort showed that instructors’ classroom behaviors changed in ways that can be tied to their gains of knowledge, skills, and supportive beliefs from attending an IBL workshop.”

In 2010, he became the founding Director of the Academy of Inquiry-Based Learning (AIBL). From 2006 to 2021, he obtained approximately $4M in grants to support and study Inquiry-Based Learning (IBL) instruction and fund IBL workshops. He has posted at least 234 blog posts since 2011. A major pillar of the AIBL is that IBL raises and addresses concerns of equity and diversity. Since 2010, Stan’s work has argued for and instituted evidence-based research to expand understanding of best practices in IBL.

The work that Dr. Yoshinobu and his AIBL have done to rethink the nature of teaching has been thoughtfully and inclusively developed and so effectively disseminated that it has helped make gains in K-16 mathematical education in the US. Just as the career of Mary P. Dolciani provided leadership to the mathematical community, Yoshinobu’s work serves as an important example of how teachers and scholars can have rich service lives that have an enormous impact on mathematical education. For his creative and inspiring leadership, his unrelenting focus on equity and diversity in the mathematical community, and his huge, indeed, transformational impact on teachers and students in the US, Stan Yoshinobu is an inspiring choice for the 2023 Mary P. Dolciani Award.