Should We Put the “Active” in Learning?

Visiting Speaker: Dr. Linda Braddy, Vice President for Academic Affairs at Tarrant County College (TTC) Northeast Campus

Saturday, May 4 (2:15 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.)
Engineering Teaching and Learning Complex (ETLC) 2-001

There are now, perhaps more than ever, amazing career opportunities for people with training in mathematically-intensive field. Rapid advances in technology and in connections between mathematics and other fields present tremendous opportunities, and mathematical competencies can lead to higher paying jobs and play a profound role in students’ economic mobility. Yet the mathematical sciences community is struggling to substantially increase the number of mathematics graduates entering the workforce, the number of students pursuing a degree in the mathematical sciences, and the number of graduates in all fields who have adequate mathematics skills and competencies to meet current workforce demands.

"The status quo is unacceptable" signaled a call to action to the mathematical sciences community in 2015. The Mathematical Association of America’s (MAA) A Common Vision for Undergraduate Mathematical Sciences Programs in 2025 challenged the community to modernize curricula, programs, and pedagogies in order to produce an adequate number of graduates with strong mathematical competencies for the workforce and a more mathematically-literate citizenry. The most productive approach to preparing the next generation of citizens literate in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) will involve multidisciplinary teams of mathematical scientists, other domain specialists from STEM and non-STEM fields, and employers working together to modernize undergraduate mathematics and statistics programs.

This presentation will focus on evidence-based modernizations of pedagogies, curricula, and course structure, including highlights of a recent MAA publication on engaging instructional practices, a recent workshop by the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C., and a recent convening of the national "Transforming Post-Secondary Education in Mathematics" (TPSE Math) group.

The 2018 MAA Instructional Practices Guide is grounded in the wealth of existing research literature on how we can improve the teaching and learning of undergraduate mathematics. The crucial finding from this research in fact poses the greatest challenge to many assumptions implicit in the mathematical sciences community: effective teaching and deep learning require student engagement with mathematics both inside and outside the classroom. Bringing student ideas, beliefs, and practices into the direct view of peers and instructors enriches teaching and learning and promotes community in remarkable ways. The vast body of evidence strongly supports the transformational power of particular instructional practices in prompting changes in instructors and students at all levels from all demographic backgrounds. Indeed, such transformation can promote equity, inclusion, cultural responsiveness, and social justice within the mathematical sciences community.

The changing face of the mathematical sciences, particularly with respect to the inclusion of data science, modeling, and computation, has broad implications for modernized curricula and course structure. A recent National Academy of Sciences workshop examined the effectiveness of structural updates for entry-level mathematics and statistics courses, including a pathways approach, the use of multiple measures for placement, and parallel (a.k.a. "just-in-time") remediation as opposed to serial remediation. The TPSE Math convening also examined mathematics pathways at both the lower and upper divisions of undergraduate education.

Linda Braddy is currently the Vice President for Academic Affairs at Tarrant County College (TCC) Northeast Campus. Linda is a co-author of the Mathematical Association of America Instructional Practice Guide which is regarded as the "how to" guide to deliver effective instruction at the undergraduate level by focusing on three foundational types of practices: classroom practices, assessment practices, and course design practices. She is also the co-author of A Common Vision for Undergraduate Mathematical Sciences Programs in 2025, which focused on modernizing undergraduate programs in the mathematical sciences.

Dr. Braddy previously served as Deputy Executive Director of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) in Washington, D.C. (2012-2016), where she oversaw MAA programs, public policy efforts, the Competitions Department, and the Meetings and Facilities Department. She served as dean of the Division of Health and Natural Sciences at TCC's South Campus from 2009-2011, and subsequently served as dean of the Division of Mathematics and Natural Sciences on South Campus (2011-12). Immediately prior to her tenure at TCC, she was chair of the Department of Mathematics at East Central University (ECU) in Ada, Oklahoma, as well as a tenured, full professor. Throughout her tenure at ECU, she directed professional development programs for K-12 mathematics teachers and other grant-funded initiatives to improve the teaching and learning of mathematics, directed initiatives to redesign courses and programs, and won multiple teaching awards at the local and regional levels.

She received her Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Oklahoma and her research area is undergraduate mathematics education.

Sponsored by:
The Department of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences
Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL) Visiting Speaker Grants