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MTSU Math-Science Education grad students, faculty...

MTSU Math-Science Education grad students, faculty grasp impact of major research conference

From left, Middle Tennessee State University Department of Mathematical Sciences faculty members Jeremy Strayer, left, Alyson Lischka, Jennifer Lovett, Elizabeth Dyer (formerly at MTSU and now at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville) and Seth Jones from the College of Education hosted and organized the 44th annual meeting of the North American Chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education at the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel in November in Nashville, Tenn. Also attending and assisting were 17 MTSU Mathematics and Science Education graduate students. (Submitted photo)

A major international gathering of educators interested in the psychology of mathematics education finally came to Nashville, Tennessee, attracting nearly 600 people in-person and virtually — and sponsored by Middle Tennessee State University.

The 44th annual meeting of the North American Chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education included 17 MTSU students and Department of Mathematical Sciences faculty recently at the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel.

A portion of the crowd attending 44th annual meeting of the North American Chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education in November at the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel. MTSU faculty hosted and organized the event, held for the first time in Nashville, Tenn. (MTSU photo by Casey Penston)
A portion of the crowd attending the 44th annual meeting of the North American Chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education in November at the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel. MTSU faculty hosted and organized the event, held for the first time in Nashville, Tenn. (MTSU photo by Casey Penston)

The major conference, organized by MTSU faculty and held in Nashville for the first time, is one of the largest mathematics education research conferences in North America, said Alyson Lischka, MTSU associate professor of math education, who was assisted by professor Jeremy Strayer, associate professor Jennifer Lovett, associate professor Ryan Seth Jones in Education and former math and Tennessee STEM Education Center faculty member Elizabeth Dyer — with support from the Colleges of Basic and Applied Sciences and Education.

Dr. Alyson Lischka, MTSU mathematics faculty member
Dr. Alyson Lischka

Calling it a successful conference, Lischka said the primary topic, “Critical Dissonance and Resonant Harmony,” related to Nashville/Music City and “musical terms that helped us frame our thinking about the theme for this conference.

“In the world of research, we often look for agreement to verify findings in our work. So, ‘harmony’ provides strength to our findings. But it is often in the disagreements, or ‘dissonances,’ that we can find new ways to approach or understand something. As researchers, we believe that discussion about both the dissonances and the harmonies is what is needed to keep our field moving forward.”

Held Nov. 17-20, the four-day event included three sessions of plenary talks, two poster sessions with 110 total posters, 16 working groups meeting three times and 237 research papers presented, Lischka said.

Middle Tennessee State University faculty members Jeremy Strayer, left, Alyson Lischka, Jennifer Lovett, Elizabeth Dyer (now at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville) and Seth Jones hosted and organized the 44th annual meeting of the North American Chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education at the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel in November in Nashville, Tenn. Also attending and assisting were 17 MTSU Mathematics and Science Education graduate students. (Submitted photo)
From left, Middle Tennessee State University Department of Mathematical Sciences faculty members Jeremy Strayer, Alyson Lischka, Jennifer Lovett, Elizabeth Dyer (formerly at MTSU and now at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville) and Seth Jones from the College of Education hosted and organized the 44th annual meeting of the North American Chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education at the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel in November in Nashville, Tenn. Also attending and assisting were 17 MTSU Mathematics and Science Education graduate students. (Submitted photo)

Students gain insight into major conferences

MTSU Mathematics and Science Education, or MSE, doctoral program candidates Jordan Kirby and Samantha Fletcher were among the graduate students attending. 

Jordan Kirby

The program is designed to prepare graduates for positions in colleges and universities where they will conduct discipline-based research and prepare America’s next generation of K-12 math and science teachers, as well as for leadership positions in a variety of educational settings.

“As I begin to make the transition from student to faculty, I was hoping to learn more about the roles faculty play in a conference,” Kirby said. “I am appreciative of the experience to help moderate sessions and get a glimpse into what it looks like to run a conference. This experience will help when I join a conference committee in my future.”

Samantha Fletcher

Fletcher said she had “an excellent experience attending sessions to learn from other researchers who also conduct research related to mathematics identity. I also had the opportunity to represent MTSU at a graduate student session focused on doctoral programs.

“A major takeaway from supporting the local organizing committee was the opportunity to become a familiar, helpful face amongst mathematics education researchers. I was able to develop relationships with researchers who have similar interests and learn about what it means to plan and facilitate a large research conference.”

In 2023, the conference moves to Reno, Nevada.

— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)

nearly 500 people attending the 44th annual meeting of the North American Chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education in November at the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel in Nashville, Tenn. (MTSU photo by Casey Penston)
MTSU Department of Mathematical Sciences faculty and Math and Science Education graduate students man tables, helping register nearly 500 people attending the 44th annual meeting of the North American Chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education in November at the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel in Nashville, Tenn. (MTSU photo by Casey Penston)


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