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Research Mathematicians' Participation in the MSP Program


The purpose of this study was to examine the involvement of higher education STEM faculty in disciplinary departments with pre-K-12 public schools. In particular, the study focused on 15 nationally funded awards, targeted at education in mathematics, in the National Science Foundation's Math and Science Partnership (NSF MSP) Program. One important goal of the MSP Program is to further cultural change in the STEM departments. Other studies have analyzed the effectiveness of efforts to engage STEM faculty in education activities; however, the groups studied previously included those faculty whose primary research field was STEM education. Taking the view that achieving cultural change in disciplinary departments may require an attitudinal shift among disciplinary research faculty, this analysis selected only the faculty group self-identified as "mathematics researchers" for study. Various research questions were pursued, including: How many mathematics researchers have participated in these projects; How many have worked directly with pre-K-12 teachers; How directed are they toward management activities; What is their tenure status; and, How have partnerships with a high rate of participation by mathematics researchers achieved this goal? The findings show that those projects with a high percentage of involved mathematics researchers are likely to be those with a large total number of participants. Results also indicated that mathematics researchers were more likely to be engaged directly in activities with pre-K-12 teachers, and less likely to be engaged in management activities, than other faculty participants in the projects.