US educators awarded for exemplary teaching in mathematics

January 05, 2017

WASHINGTON, DC - Janet Heine Barnett, Caren Diefenderfer, and Tevian Dray were named the 2017 Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award winners by the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) for their teaching effectiveness and influence beyond their institutions. The three math professors were honored for their contributions to mathematics education on Jan. 5 in Atlanta at the Joint Mathematics Meetings, the world's largest gathering of mathematicians.

"These educators exemplify the outstanding work of all our members, who demonstrate the MAA's commitment to foster the next generation of mathematicians and elevate their potential," said Francis Su, president of the MAA. "Their dedication to helping students see the history and interdisciplinary nature of mathematics, and to shaping the teaching of mathematics beyond their institutions, is to be admired."

Barnett is a professor of mathematics at Colorado State University-Pueblo, where she specializes in the history of mathematics and secondary mathematics education. Barnett has created primary source projects for faculty to use to introduce students to the works of Euler, Lagrange, and Boole. She is also honored for her work with an NSF-funded program to strengthen mathematics achievement in middle and high school classrooms.

Diefenderfer, a mathematics professor at Hollins University, is recognized for inspiring students in her classrooms and beyond, developing and teaching interdisciplinary courses that also help students develop communications skills. In the wider mathematical community, Diefenderfer has been a pioneer in Quantitative Literacy, a field of education with the goal to improve college students' reasoning proficiency when using quantitative content. She is one of the founders of the MAA's SIGMAA on Quantitative Literacy and recently served as the Director of the Tensor Women and Mathematics program at the MAA.

Dray is recognized not only for exemplary teaching, but also for his interactive curriculum development. A mathematics professor at Oregon State University, he works hard to find non-traditional teaching methods to engage students and make mathematics relevant to broader fields of research. Dray has also helped develop a curriculum that bridges calculus and physics, and served as co-principal investigator of the Central Oregon Consortium, a partnership that provides professional development to middle-school math teachers in rural Oregon.
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