Election 2016: Eva Thanheiser

Candidate for Board Member-at-Large: 

Eva Thanheiser, PhD
Associate Professor of Mathematics Education

Portland State University
Portland, Oregon




Past Participation and Involvement in AMTE and/or AMTE Affiliate(s)

I regularly attend the AMTE conference and would love to become more involved with AMTE by being a board member at large. To date I have been involved with the conference by presenting, being a mentor at lunch mentor tables, and networking and helping people network. In 2015 I received the AMTE early career award. I am very passionate about the issues that matter to AMTE, both as a researcher and as a teacher of college students, and would like to contribute to growing and strengthening the organization.

What qualities do you bring to the AMTE Board Member at Large position?

I am actively engaged in the AMTE community by regularly attending and presenting as well as collaborating with other AMTE members. I first attended AMTE in 2004, then again in 2008 and every year since then. I am also a member of and attend TOTOM (Oregon’s AMTE affiliate) whenever possible. 

I believe that the trajectory of my research and my research foci also qualifies me for this position, as my research is very consistent with the mission of AMTE. One of my research foci is on effective mathematics teacher education programs and practices, in particular on understanding how PSTs think about mathematics, motivating PSTs to engage in mathematics learning and in re-conceptualizing their view of mathematics learning and teaching. I have published on these topics in a variety of journals including three publications in AMTE’s MTE. 

Another one of my research foci is studying equitable mathematics teaching in urban schools. I am collaborating with Teachers Development Group on a large-scale study: Enhancing Mathematics Teaching and Learning in Urban Elementary Schools: A Cluster¬ Randomized Efficacy Trial of a Novel Professional Development Approach. We have just finished data collection and are beginning to present and publish on the topics.

Finally I have been in the leadership of the MPWR seminar (held annually as part of RUME) http://www.mpwr-seminar.com/. MPWR stands for Mentoring and Partnerships for Women in RUME (Research in Undergraduate Mathematics Education). MPWR is a one-day meeting held before the conference for RUME specifically for women in the RUME community and beyond. 

I also am just finishing a sabbatical year in Germany and have immersed myself into teacher education in Germany. My international perspective not only brings an important perspective but also enhances my thinking about equity. 

What three goals do you think AMTE should make a priority?

I would like to address three goals that are different in terms of their foci: 

First I would like to address equity; equity is listed in AMTE’s mission statement in the last bullet point (cut and pasted below)

  • Equitable practices in mathematics teacher education, including increasing the diversity of mathematics teachers and teacher educators.

I would like AMTE to expand on this twofold; first helping teacher educators and teachers understand what equity means and why equity matters. This is essential to accomplish the goal, as one cannot practice what one does not know/understand. Second, I would like to work to increase the focus on equity during the conference and beyond and making it actionable to its members. I would like to see AMTE increase workshops addressing what equitable practices are, how to incorporate equitable practices into teacher education, and how to help teacher educators understand and implement equitable practices themselves. 

Second, I would like to address community and communities of practice. Community is part of in AMTE’s mission statement in the second bullet point (cut and pasted below)

  • Communication and collaboration among those involved in mathematics teacher education;

While this bullet addresses communication and collaboration I think going a step further and working on a community (or several communities) for AMTE members is essential as AMTE grows, thereby ensuring that new members are integrated into the community. As effective as the STaR program has been, it has limited capacity and it focuses on new researchers. I think further emphasis could be placed on supporting members of the AMTE community in ways they need support. I imagine support within the scope of the AMTE conference and support beyond the scope of the AMTE conference. I list a few examples below (though a survey of the membership might give more insight into what is needed). 

  1. Negotiating being a teacher educator with other parts of one’s life. Maybe communities of practice could be formed around different topics such as parenting and being an academic to help people form community. This could possibly be done by providing a space at the conference during which these groups could meet as well as a structure and/or platform for them to continue discussions beyond the initial meeting. 
  2. Supporting new AMTE members and/or first time AMTE attendees: For example a buddy system for newcomers could be instituted. Maybe a new AMTE attendee (or member) could be purposefully matched with a more established AMTE member to learn about AMTE as well as navigate the conference? More established members could volunteer to do this and be matched up based on shared interest and/or geographic location. This could involve an invitation to share a meal at AMTE, help navigating which sessions to attend, etc. 
  3. Mentoring and/or peer partnerships. In a similar vein to the buddy system, a mentoring system could be put in place that allows for people to volunteer being professional mentors for others. I am purposefully saying others and not new members as people might need mentors at different times for different purposes.  These partnerships could be either for pairs of for larger groups of people around certain topics/issues/concerns.

A third goal for AMTE should be accessibility. In particular, I would like to consider ways to support people who teach mathematics teacher education courses but are only mathematics educator at their site, or people who cannot travel to attend AMTE regularly. In addition to what is currently being done, I imagine an active discussion board/forum that would allow people to connect with each other, share ideas, and discuss issues around all kinds of different topics. I would be happy to start working on such a forum and monitor it. 


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