VCU Math Researchers receive $10 million in National Science Foundation Grants

Mathematics K-12 Outreach

Continuing Education Programs

The Mathematics and Applied Mathematics Department regularly offers continuing education programs for in-service teachers who are teaching mathematics in grades K-12. Recently we have offered programs for middle school mathematics teachers who wish to be certified to teach Algebra I and for high school mathematics teachers who were preparing to teach the new high school mathematics course Algebra, Functions and Data Analysis. Currently, in conjunction with Radford University, we are offering a Master’s Degree in Mathematics Education for a cohort of Richmond area teachers. The program is being directed by Aimee Ellington and William Haver and Rebecca Segal was the instructor for the first course. (more)

Mathematics Specialists

The VCU Mathematics Department, in conjunction with VCU’s School of Education, universities across Virginia and the Virginia Mathematics and Science Coalition, is engaged in a long-term effort involving Mathematics Specialists. As described in detail in Who Are Mathematics Specialists (VMSC definition), these individuals serve as in-school coaches of classroom teachers and support and coordinate their school’s overall mathematics program.

The department has received a total of 20 million dollars in support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) with Principle or Co-Principle investigators William Haver, Reuben Farley, Aimee Ellington, Joy Whitenack and Dewey Taylor. The grants are conducted in collaboration with University of Virginia, Norfolk State University, Longwood University and the University of Maryland. Two grants have just ended, and our second two grants will continue through 2014. (more)

The first step was to work with other universities and school system administrators to develop a Master’s Degree program to prepare individuals to serve as Specialists. The Master’s of Interdisciplinary Studies (MIS) Degree under which the Mathematics Specialist Track leads to the Degree and Virginia licensure on a K-8 Mathematics Specialist operates under the Statewide Master’s Degree umbrella. This track features six mathematics content and pedagogy courses, three education leadership courses, and education research course, and an externship among the required 39 credits. The mathematics courses are Number and Operations, Rational Numbers and Proportional Reasoning, Algebra and Functions I, Algebra and Functions II, Geometry and Measurement, and Probability and Statistics.

We also were instrumental in the state’s decision to create a new endorsement for K-8 Mathematics Specialists.

With support from the NSF grants described above we have conducted research on the impact on Mathematics Specialists on the learning of mathematics by students in schools that make use of Mathematics Specialists. The research effort is led by Joy Whitenack and Aimee Ellington of VCU's math department and Patricia Campbell of the University of Maryland. Treatment/control research has determined that specialists have a significant positive influence on student achievement. (more) More details of these findings and links to research papers are available on the Virginia Mathematics and Science Coalition website.

Virginia Mathematics and Science Coalition (VMSC)

Faculty in the Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics have played a primary role in the establishment of the VMSC. The VMSC has provided leadership in strengthening the requirements for certification for mathematics and science teachers in Virginia and is an active advocate for mathematics and science education. (more) The VMSC also publishes the Journal of Mathematics and Science: Collaborative Explorations. Published since 1997, it has been continually edited by VCU Mathematics faculty members P. N. Raychowdhury and Reuben Farley (more). Another VMSC initiative led by VCU faculty is the Statewide Master’s Degree Programs which offers collaborative programs with partner universities. (more)

The Greater Richmond Council of Teachers of Mathematics (GRTCM), the Virginia Council of Teachers of Mathematics (VCTM) and the Virginia Council for Mathematics Supervision (VCMS)

The department is actively involved in the GRCTM. Faculty member Dewey Taylor has recently taken over as editor of the GRCTM newsletter, Joy Whitenack serves on the board, and Ena Gross serves as the chairman of the grants committee. Numerous VCU faculty members have been honored for their contributions and service to the group. (more)

The VCTM is supported through the work of the VCU mathematics department. Joy Whitenack leads the Edward A. Anderson Scholarship committee which allocates funds to support individuals pursuing undergraduate and graduate level degrees in mathematics education. Vandi Hodges, a past-president of VCTM, serves as chair of the Public Relations Committee chair reporting on state and national mathematics education issues. William Haver received the organizations top award for his leadership in mathematics education. (more)

VCU mathematics faculty members are also involved in VCMS which provides professional development for state mathematics leaders. The majority of members are in K-12 mathematics education. Because of their on-going work with the Mathematics Specialist program and other contributions, faculty members Reuben Farley and William Haver were honored with special awards for their Leadership in Mathematics Education in Virginia. (more)

Pre-Service Preparation

The work that the Department has engaged in with the K-12 community has influenced the programs offered by the Department of Mathematics to prepare prospective teachers. We are proud of the programs we offer for prospective K-5 (more) and 6-12 (more) teachers of mathematics.

Completed Grants Supported Projects
Project Dates
NSF Graduate Teaching Fellows (GK-12) - A total of 24 outstanding middle school teachers completed a masters level Interdiscplinary Science program and are currently providing leadership to improve mathematics and science instruction throughout central Virginia. The program was offered by Virginia Commonwealth University in collaboration with the University of Virginia. (more)
FIPSE Supported Statewide Project for Preparing Middle School Teachers - Under VCU's leadership, Virginia's colleges and universities substantially enhanced all aspects of the programs to prepare middle school math and science teachers. The materials and programs that form the basis for this work were developed and tested through the Virginia Collaborative for Excellencve in the Preparation of Teachers (VCEPT). (more)
VA Collaborative for Excellencve in the Preparation of Teachers (VCEPT) - VCU led a group of five Virginia universities in increasing the quality of their program to prepare future teachers of K-8 mathematics and science. (more)




Virginia Commonwealth University  |  College of Humanities and Sciences
Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics
1015 Floyd Avenue  |  PO Box 842014  |  Richmond, Virginia 23284
Phone: (804) 828-1301  |  E-mail: Math Department
Updated: February 4, 2014  |  E-mail: webmaster