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Faculty across SEC collaborate to increase number of mathematics teachers

UK professor of STEM Education Lisa Amick, Ph.D., (center, holding laptop) with members of the SEC + Mathematics Community
Lisa Amick, Ph.D., UK professor of STEM Education, (center, holding laptop) with members of the SEC + Mathematics Community.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 10, 2023) — University of Kentucky College of Education Department of STEM Education Associate Professor Lisa Amick, Ph.D., is co-leading a community of mathematics educators from Southeastern Conference (SEC) universities, along with several other universities, working together on how they can increase the number of new mathematics teachers. The group met at the University of Florida earlier this month. 

These collaborations have been taking place as part of the SEC Faculty Travel Grant program, intended to enhance faculty collaboration that stimulates scholarly initiatives between SEC universities.   

The group, dubbed the SEC+ Mathematics Education Community, has been meeting online monthly for more than two years and first met in-person at UK in October 2022.  

“By pooling our experiences, we were not only able to gain better understanding of the underlying reasons for the declining enrollments in mathematics education, but we were also able to learn about innovative approaches being taken across the SEC and brainstorm other creative ideas,” Amick said. “Topics of discussion at our most recent meeting at the University of Florida included new program organizations that might appeal to nontraditional audiences, how to strengthen introductory education courses to increase interest in the profession and opportunities for grant writing.”  

There is a shortage of mathematics teachers across the nation, particularly in the Southeast, and universities have experienced a significant drop off in the number of students entering mathematics teacher preparation programs over the past five or more years, Amick said. 

This shortage means that students risk not having the mathematical preparation to be successful in STEM and other fields, as well as to be good citizens. Members of the SEC Mathematics Education Community are committed to addressing this issue,” she said. 

Members of the community have set goals for areas of continued exploration and collaboration. For example, the group plans to hold an SEC-wide virtual summit for students who are enrolled in, or have graduated from, a mathematics education program at a SEC university. 

The group will continue to meet throughout the academic year and will travel to another SEC university in Fall 2024. 

“It is our hope that, working together as a group, we will begin to make headway on this issue,” Amick said. 

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