UTA Department of Mathematics

Mathematics Education Seminar

Date/Time/Room: Monday (2/13/2006) at 1:00pm in 304 Pickard Hall

Speaker: Dr. Teri J. Murphy, Associate Professor
Department of Mathematics, University of Oklahoma


"Mathematics Education Research as the Glue for Multi-Disciplinary Work"

Abstract: Education research applies methods from disciplines such as anthropology, philosophy, political science, psychology, and sociology to the study of teaching and learning. These social science fields offer research that is evidence-based rather than proof-based as mathematics is. Thus answers are not definitive and often evolve over time. Dr. Murphy's background is in mathematics education, with an emphasis on the undergraduate level as opposed to the more typical K-12 emphasis. Her current research emphasizes work that crosses disciplinary boundaries.

In this talk, Dr. Murphy will give an introduction to two different multi-disciplinary research topics with which she has been involved. One of these areas is diversity in undergraduate engineering education. Her work is supported by two grants in this area from the National Science Foundation. One project is studying a department that was successful at achieving gender parity among its undergraduate majors without efforts specifically targeting that goal. The other project is studying the modest success the University of Oklahoma has had in attracting and graduating African-American, Hispanic, and Native American engineering majors. The teams for both of these projects include faculty from African-American studies, computer science, industrial engineering, and women's studies. The other multi-disciplinary area is enculturation of graduate students. This work has included collaborations with faculty in environmental science, information science, and psychology, as well as interactions with faculty in biochemistry, microbiology, and zoology. The talk will highlight the role of mathematics education research in these projects.