Values and Goals for PhD in Mathematics Education

The fundamental programmatic development of each Mathematics Education doctoral student is set against the universal need for reforming to improve the mathematical education of all citizens. Core values promoted within the doctoral program are the premises upon which modern reforms are based and include the following goals:

  • Construction of deep conceptual understandings of fundamental ideas
  • Development of useful proficiencies for applying powerful technological tools to support new learning and solve significant problems
  • Building positive perspectives on the nature and utility of mathematics in human intellective development and in technological societies

Traditional professional domains of advanced theoretical and research knowledge in Mathematics Education are fundamental elements of study and competence for every doctoral student, including the following:

  • Student development, learning and thinking, and emotional maturation for building a sound educational experience in mathematics
  • Mathematics teacher preparation, practice and enhancement, and professional life
  • Mathematics curricular development, implementation and revision
  • Student, teacher, and mathematics program assessment, evaluation and accountability

Students may enter the doctoral program with a variety of mathematical backgrounds, but are expected to further their depth and breadth of content knowledge through UW mathematics courses chosen to fit the individual's needs and interests, and to leave the program with substantial knowledge of graduate level mathematics.

EMAT Program Identities for Scholarship and Leadership

Beyond the above basic domains of doctoral knowledge, four specific program identities foster specializations for scholarship and leadership in our field:

  • Quantitative reasoning --- Based upon a growing societal necessity for all citizens to possess numerical and quantitative literacy, this focus addresses the explicit development of our understandings of the mathematical, psychological, pedagogical, and curricular applications of reasoning with, and about, conceptual quantities experienced and used in the world.
  • Mathematical modeling --- Reflective of the power of mathematics to provide frameworks and conceptual tools for building, using, and refining abstracted representations of many real world phenomena and problems, this emphasis provides a context for shifting many important aspects of a sound mathematical education toward constructive, dynamic, relevant problem-solving experiences.
  • Technological tools and applications --- Increasingly powerful computing, computational science, and informational technologies have changed how mathematics is developed and used in many domains, and in this emphasis UW faculty and students will explore and investigate the potentials and impacts of new tools upon mathematical learning, teaching, curriculum, and assessment.
  • Student and teacher mathematical experiences --- Current mathematics education reforms emphasize fundamental shifts in both content and process, with significant attention to promoting higher quality mathematical experiences that develop student sense making, thinking and reasoning, and motivation and engagement, and UW faculty and students will focus explicit attention to understanding deeply the nature of such experiences.

Each of these focal identities is addressed throughout the courses, seminars, and graduate assistantship duties and experiences as inherent points of emphasis in the overall Mathematics Education culture at UW.

Faculty research and development activities will incorporate one or more of these programmatic identities, and doctoral students will be expected to gain further developmental experiences within these opportunities.

As appropriate to the interests and directions of the student and the doctoral committee, dissertation research will also mirror the cited core values and embody aspects of one or more of these programmatic identities.

The four program identities also are the focus of work by three Research Teams organized within the Wyoming Institute for the Study and Development of Mathematical Education WISDOM^e.

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