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October 1, 2018

Written by: Rick Kitchen, Professor and Wyoming Excellence in Higher Education Endowed Chair in Mathematics Education

As I wrote in June, we are building some great momentum at the University of Wyoming in mathematics education. This year, we have 6 new Ph.D. students in the program! We believe that the Ph.D. degree program at the University of Wyoming is unique for many reasons. In this blog, I will attempt to explain why I believe this to be the case.

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A unique feature of the Ph.D. degree program in mathematics education at the University of Wyoming is that the vast majority of courses in the program can be completed on-line for students who do not live in Laramie. This fall, I am teaching EMAT 5100 Theory and Research in Mathematical Learning and Development of Wednesdays, 4:05-6:55. Five of the students in the class join me in a seminar room in Wyoming Hall for the class and five join us via Zoom for the class. The program is designed to accommodate out-of-state working adults so that they can take courses on-line. However, I still recommend that students in the program come to Laramie for one or two summers to take a few courses. This is important to connect with other students in the program, meet program faculty, and become connected with the University of Wyoming community.

Another nice characteristic of the program is that the program is attracting a highly diverse and well-qualified group of students. Many of the students currently in the Ph.D. degree program in mathematics education live in Wyoming and work as K-12 or community college teachers. Some are from out-of-state and are taking the bulk of their courses on-line. And we also have international students in the program from Latin America, Africa, India, and Saudi Arabia. Program faculty are finding that the diversity of backgrounds represented by students in the program supports rich and eclectic conversations in our classes. Students are also helping one another consider the many options that they will have with a Ph.D. in mathematics education. Some are interested in pursuing jobs in higher education, some as leaders in school districts and at community colleges, and others are interested in policy-oriented jobs.

A defining strength of the program is that students have lots of course options in the 81 credit hour Ph.D. program. Students complete courses in the following areas: College wide courses (9 hours), Mathematics (9 hours), Mathematics Education (18 hours), Research (12 hours), Electives (21 hours), and Dissertation (12 hours). Another plus is that all or almost all of the credit hours students complete as part of a master’s degree in a related area count toward the 81 credit hours. So, for example, 9 hours of mathematics courses completed in a M.A. or M.S. degree program can be substituted for the Mathematics requirements in the program, significantly reducing coursework needed to complete the Ph.D.

Finally, a distinguishing feature of the program is that we are looking for opportunities for all doctoral students in mathematics education to engage in professional activities that we believe will distinguish our graduates on the job market. For example, we are encouraging and working to support students to write and submit manuscripts for publication in refereed journals and to present at a national or international conference. We also have supervised teaching opportunities available at UW in the teacher education program. Finally, we hope to fully fund and engage more students in federally funded research projects in the coming years.

This is an exciting time to be at the University of Wyoming! Please consider learning more about the Ph.D. degree program in mathematics education by checking out the program website. For additional information about the program, please do not hesitate to contact me at: rkitchen@uwyo.edu.

Thank you and hope to hear from you soon!

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