Service, Teaching, & Research (STaR) in Mathematics Education: Supporting Early Career Professionals
The STaR Program is an early career induction program for faculty in mathematics education with tenure track appointments in institutions of higher education. It is designed to address common challenges related to developing leadership and service skills, teaching mathematics content and methods courses designed for prospective and practicing K-12 teachers as well as graduate courses in mathematics education, and establishing a research agenda. One important way the program addresses these challenges is by providing opportunities to network with other new mathematics education faculty beyond the participant's home institution.
The goal of the STaR Fellows program is to support the development of early career mathematics educators, including their induction into the professional community of university-based teacher educators and researchers in mathematics education.
Senior and mid-career mathematics education faculty organize and facilitate STaR events, serving as mentors to fellows as they participate in:
- a summer institute, generally in Park City, Utah
- academic year online networking
- a follow-up session in conjunction with the annual AMTE conference
To date, over 400 early career mathematics educators working at over 200 institutions of higher education have completed the program as STaR Fellows.
The STaR Program was originally funded by the National Science Foundation (#0922410) and is now operated under the supervision of the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (AMTE). The STaR Program is dependent on contributions from individuals, foundations, and professional organizations for its continued operation.
Joining the STaR Program
Eligibility is limited to faculty with a doctorate and focus on mathematics education in their first or second year of a tenure-track academic appointment as a mathematics teacher educator at an institution of higher education. The faculty appointment may be in a department of mathematics or a school/college/department of education.
Admission to the STaR Program is a competitive process that requires the completion and submission of an application along with all the necessary support materials.
Contribution of Home Institution
The home institution of each Fellow must commit to financially supporting their Fellow, if accepted into the program, as follows:
- Cover the travel costs (transportation and meals not covered by the program) for the Fellow to attend the STaR Summer Institute (generally held in Park City, Utah). The STaR Program, sponsored by AMTE, covers lodging, some meals, and program costs.
- Cover the costs of the Fellow to participate in the follow up meeting held in conjunction with the AMTE Annual Conference (February following the summer institute).
The total estimate of the home institution’s contribution is $1,500-$2,000.
Selection Criteria and Priorities
Each cohort of STaR Fellows includes about 30 individuals, based on available resources. Fellows are accepted according to the following criteria and priorities:
- Applicant is in the 1st or 2nd year of a tenure-track faculty position in mathematics education in a U.S. institution
- Applicant submits a complete application
- Applicant's research agenda is closely connected to mathematics teacher education
- Applicant graduated from a relatively small doctoral program or is currently employed in a relatively small mathematics teacher education program (e.g., they might be the only mathematics teacher educator at their institution)
Furthermore, we particularly encourage faculty working at HSIs, HBCUs, and Tribal Colleges to apply.
If selected, STaR Fellows participants must obtain active membership in AMTE.
Frequently Asked Questions
Don't universities have their own mentoring programs?
Yes, many do. However, there is great variety in the types of and quality of existing mentorship programs at universities. Many of these programs are short-term, only serving the faculty member for the first semester or first year of service. These programs are generally not specific to the problems faced by an early career mathematics education professor. The AMTE STaR Program is a sustained and targeted mentoring program that will provide career enhancing opportunities.
Will a one-year fellowship program be sufficient to accomplish the goals of AMTE STaR Program?
Although the fellowship program will last only one year, the networks that are created are expected to continue long after the fellowship year ends. In addition, graduating fellows will be integrated into the networks of new fellows, through invitations to participate in face-to-face meetings and electronic connections. Networks established by previous STaR Fellows have thrived and expanded over the years.
Don't mathematics education doctoral graduates learn to teach within their doctoral studies?
Yes, but mathematics education doctoral graduates serve in many different capacities. Within a mathematics department, they may teach mathematics methods courses to elementary, middle, and secondary teaching candidates and also be expected to teach a range of undergraduate mathematics courses. Within an education department, they may be expected to teach a wide range of mathematics methods courses, teach graduate level mathematics education courses, and provide in-service professional development experiences. Thus, these graduates must be prepared to teach a wide range of mathematics content and pedagogy to a broad audience - and it is difficult for doctoral programs to provide this full range of teaching experiences.
How is AMTE STaR Program different from MAA's Program NExT?
While we draw upon the success of MAA's Project NExT, the AMTE STaR Program is unique in its specific focus on mathematics teacher education, rather than the broader field of mathematics. Note that Program NExT Fellows hold rank in mathematics departments, and a main focus of Program NExT has been on teaching with subsequent mentorship in research and service. In contrast, about half the Fellows in the STaR Program hold rank in mathematics departments while the rest have their tenure home in education departments/colleges. Taking into account the differences in research and teaching responsibilities that come with academic positions in mathematics education, the AMTE STaR Program prioritizes all three areas of effort: teaching, research, and service.