Center for Inquiry and Equity in Mathematics

Who gets to ask questions in mathematics?

History of CIEM

In 2003-2005, Dan Chazan and Sarah Sword designed a set of mathematics courses for graduate students in education  investigated mathematics questions together – some of those questions were designed by Dan and Sarah; others we designed by the graduate students themselves.

In 2007, Sarah Sword launched the Center for the Scholarship of School Mathematics, an NSF funded Center for Learning and Teaching. The Center was a Fellowship program for mathematics teacher education faculty who taught either elementary or secondary pre-service teachers and  and who wanted to spend a week immersed in mathematics questions of their own design. Faculty from universities across the country attended the summer workshop and then incorporated elements of the immersion into their classes for undergraduate and graduate students in education.  The mathematics in CIEM will be similar to the mathematics in the original program.

Many of the current and recent leaders in our field today – including NCTM presidents, AMTE presidents, and NSF program officers – were Fellows of the original Center for the Scholarship of School Mathematics. 

The faculty took aspects of their work at the Center for Scholarship of School Mathematics and customized it for their home universities. Mandy Jansen was one of the faculty who implemented the course at her university in a course for doctoral students in mathematics education, and is now serving as Co-PI of CIEM.  In CIEM, she will support others as they implement aspects of this work in their own courses for pre-service teachers.

More recently, EDC created an NSF-funded project, Designing for Equity by Thinking in and about Mathematics (DEbT-M).  As part of DEbT-M, Michael Young, co-PI on CIEM, created “Mathequity,” a set of professional development sessions for teachers in which they examined issues in the intersection of mathematics and equity. Aris Winger facilitated those sessions, which were specific to DEbT-M teachers’ experience of learning mathematics in DEbT-M professional development, and also to their experience of teaching in an urban setting. 

CIEM brings the best of both of these models to faculty who are interested in examining, deepening, and personalizing their own practice of mathematics and equitable work. Our history also leads us expect that the knowledge and strategies the group develops together will be stronger than anything we could develop alone – and that those strategies will inform the field in ways that we cannot yet imagine.  


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