SIAM News Blog

Coming Soon: SIAM’s First Conference on Applied Mathematics Education

Many SIAM members may not be aware that SIAM has a new activity group focused on applied mathematics education, a group that can positively impact both researchers and members with a general interest in education.

There is an important distinction between mathematicians interested in education and math education people, and the SIAM Activity Group on Education (SIAG/ED) appeals to the former, a growing group among SIAM members. Similar to other activity groups, this SIAG is fulfilling the need for additional special interests within the SIAM community.

The growing demand for continued reforms in mathematics education and curricula in the U.S. and throughout the world emphasizes relevance, application, modeling, data, computation, etc., and is reflected in programs such as the PCAST Engage to Excel, the National Academies’ The Mathematical Sciences in 2025 reports, and SIAM’s own "Modeling across the Curriculum" workshops, the latter of which address undergraduate and K-12 education. Remaining at the center of these discussions unquestionably benefits SIAM. Collaboration between SIAG/ED and SIAM’s Education Committee is a powerful combination of members’ interests and relevant educational policies, and will subsequently impact the entire SIAM membership.

Additionally, channeling well-prepared students into undergraduate programs in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields and the mathematical sciences in particular is critically important to the future of the applied mathematics research community. These undergraduates provide the potential source of graduate students and next-generation researchers as well as direct expertise for careers in Business, Industry, and Government (BIG). They also possess the appropriate experience and training to become K-12 educators of future students, scholars, and researchers.

Collectively, the aforementioned points are powerful reasons for SIAM members to become involved in the activities of SIAG/ED, and we hope everyone will consider attending the inaugural conference in the fall of 2016. Mathematics, especially applied and computational mathematics and statistics, are crucial in preparing the next generation of the STEM workforce. This applies to the entire educational spectrum, from the early years through graduate studies and careers in mathematics and partner disciplines.

SIAG/ED will hold its inaugural conference (ED16) at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Philadelphia Center City in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from Friday, September 30 to Sunday, October 2 (morning only), 2016. The program will include the third workshop on "Modeling across the Curriculum," or MaC. The first two MaC workshops were funded by the NSF (Awards DUE – 1206230 & 1352973).

In addition to MaC, ED16 will have several themes: first two years of college; program and curriculum development and research; assessment and evaluation; impact of and on Common Core; and connections to Business, Industry and Government (BIG).

The conference will feature invited speakers related to these themes. Parts of the program will be organized in collaboration with other SIAM activity groups and organizations outside SIAM. There will also be minisymposia, poster sessions, and contributed paper sessions. Talks focused on works-in-progress are especially encouraged. Abstracts will be solicited from the conference website in late 2015.

The Activity Group is eager to engage students, teachers, and junior researchers in any of the aforementioned themes. To facilitate participation, some travel awards for students and early career academics will be available. A reduced registration for K-12 teachers is also anticipated.

The Organizing Committee for ED16 is co-chaired by Peter Turner (Clarkson University, Chair, SIAG/ED) and Eric Kostelich (Arizona State University), and also comprises the other SIAG officers Jeff Humpherys (Brigham Young University), Padhu Seshaiyer (George Mason University), Ben Galluzzo (Shippensburg University) as well as Diane Briars (President, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics), Lou Gross (Director Emeritus, NIMBioS), Knut Martin Mørken (University of Oslo), Rosalie Belanger-Rioux (Harvard University), and Jason Douma (University of Sioux Falls, Chair of MAA’s Mathematics Across the Disciplines committee).

ED16 will be held at the same place and at the same time as the inaugural meeting of the SIAM activity group on Mathematics of Planet Earth (SIAG/MPE). One registration fee will allow conference participants to attend sessions at both meetings. The meetings will have separate programs, but some joint activities are being planned.

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