Improving the Preparation of Graduate Students to Teach Undergraduate Mathematics

Natasha Speer
Associate Professor
The University of Maine

The College Mathematics Instructor Development Source (CoMInDS) offers several types of support to the faculty who are preparing graduate students for their teaching-related responsibilities. Our work has produced an online repository of materials (assignments, activities, syllabi, etc.) from existing graduate student instructor (GSI) professional development programs from around the U.S. The contents of this Resource Suite (accessible via the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) Connect platform) can be used as curriculum materials for pre-term orientation sessions, term-long seminars or periodic workshops to prepare GSI to teach undergraduate students. We have established submission and editorial processes to continue to build this repository, capturing the scholarly work of faculty who design and run these programs.Via our summer workshops, we support faculty who wish to design a new program or revise an existing one. For the past six summers we have offered these multi-day workshops, reaching a total of 215 faculty from 141 institutions. This represents 47% of U.S. Ph.D-granting mathematics departments (in addition to some masters-degree granting ones). Recently, we have expanded the scope of our summer workshops and are now involving faculty from chemistry and physics. During the workshops, participants gain familiarity with research and evaluation related to teaching and instructor preparation and become familiar with activities designed specifically for use with graduate students teaching in particulars disciplines (i.e., mathematics, physics, chemistry). We emphasize engaged student learning practices and the important roles that various types of knowledge for teaching place in the enactment of effective instruction in undergraduate STEM courses. Built into the schedule for the workshop is time for participants to learn from one another and to get input from those with experience running such programs. The workshop time is structured to enable participants to network with others from around the country who run graduate student professional development programs. Institutions are encouraged to send two-person teams to the workshop so that collaboration can occur. In this poster presentation, we will share information about the Resource Suite of instructional materials and our summer workshops. We will also report on findings from the evaluations of our workshops and from a national survey of GSI professional development programs. In addition, we will present our plans for continued expansion into STEM disciplines and the efforts we anticipate undertaking in the future to support the scholarly work of faculty who provide professional development to GSIs.


Jack Bookman, Duke Univ., Durham, NC: Emily Braley, Johns Hopkins Univ., Baltimore, MD