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Project SLOPE (Scholarly Leaders Originating as Practicing Educators) is an exploration and design project that examines the opportunities and structures that support mathematics faculty engagement in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL). Project SLOPE is sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF IUSE:EHR #1726891).

 

The goals of Project SLOPE are (1) to conduct a feasibility study that explores the relationship between supports for faculty for engaging in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) and the structures of two-year colleges; and (2) to design, implement, and evaluate a pilot SoTL program for two-year college faculty through the American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges (AMATYC).

 

Project SLOPE is currently in its second phase of implementation.

 

 

 

The second phase (Year 2 and Year 3) of Project SLOPE will center on the implementation of the AMATYC Project SLOPE Research Fellows Program and the evaluation of the program. The co-PI led evaluation of Project SLOPE will examine the experiences of two-year college mathematics faculty researchers, who will participate in the AMATYC Project SLOPE Research Fellows Program.

The first phase (Year 1) of Project SLOPE focused on inquiry into existing literature about present and past SoTL initiatives in which two-year college faculty have engaged, and surveying and interviewing two-year college faculty who have done this work. This research provides the foundation for the design of the AMATYC Project SLOPE Research Fellows Program.

 

Project SLOPE Abstract

 

Two-year colleges maintain a central and rapidly expanding role in the development of the scientific and technical workforce in the United States. Current change efforts targeted towards student success and progression in two-year college mathematics have provided momentum for improvement. However, teaching and learning practices within mathematics classrooms has proved difficult to change and sustain due to a lack of a research base surrounding best practices within the unique contexts of  two-year college mathematics classrooms. Two-year college faculty are uniquely positioned to provide insight into the varieties of prior mathematical experiences and practical understandings that their students bring to classrooms and thus can play a central and meaningful role in the development of the scholarship needed to support lasting change. Crucially, research conducted by practitioners for practitioners holds the promise of immediate relevance and great impact for the development and growth of empirically based improvement efforts.

 

This exploratory project will provide the foundation for developing two-year college mathematics faculty researchers engaged in classroom inquiry through the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL). SoTL has been demonstrated to be a transformative practice of simultaneous knowledge generation, professional development and teaching and learning advancement in postsecondary education, but has not been comprehensively examined within the unique contexts of two-year college mathematics.

 

This project will address the research gap surrounding two-year college mathematics faculty SoTL research by first conducting a critical analysis of existing programming and literature that focuses on the intersection of SoTL, two-year college faculty research and mathematics education research in postsecondary contexts. Central to this inquiry will be an examination of the relationship between faculty researcher needs and the structures of two-year colleges. Following the needs, barriers and opportunities assessment, the outcomes of the assessment will be used to design and develop a pilot national program initiative to engage two-year college mathematics faculty in SoTL research. The pilot program will be a fifteen month comprehensive faculty associateship within the American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges that provides training in SoTL, as well as support in undertaking this scholarship and in navigating the structures of two-year colleges that might pose challenges to engaging in SoTL. In this pilot program, six two-year college mathematics faculty will implement a SoTL project in their classroom and plan for the propagation of the results. The pilot will be evaluated to refine its design to meet the needs of participants and to allow for future expansion of the program and related programs.

 

  AMATYC Project SLOPE (Scholarly Leaders Originating as Practicing Educators in Two-Year College Mathematics) is a collaboration between AMATYC, Anoka-Ramsey Community College, Florida International University, and Portland State University. Support for Project SLOPE is provided by the National Science Foundation, NSF-IUSE:EHR #1726891. 


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