By Michael Pearson
This summer the MAA is offering a variety of workshops that will allow you to learn new mathematics, make new friends, and even find some time to relax and recharge your batteries before another academic year begins. Workshops for 2004 include programs focusing on interdisciplinary topics (including two on mathematics and biology), mathematical enrichment, and innovative curricula and pedagogical issues. You may choose to learn more about Nifty Applications in Discrete Mathematics or Geometric Combinatorics. There is even an on-line workshop, Exploring Abstract Algebra using Computer Software, for those who prefer to stay close to home. Whatever strikes your fancy, register soon to reserve your space.
PREP has been funded by the NSF Division of Undergraduate Education since 2001 and was recently awarded funding for 2004 through 2008. NSF-DUE funding also supports workshops in the MAA's Supporting Assessment in Undergraduate Mathematics (SAUM) and Preparing Mathematicians to Educate Teachers (PMET) programs which are offered under the PREP umbrella.
PREP workshops have three components: a preparatory component, an intensive component, and follow-up components that may include sessions at national meetings and electronic communication between participants and workshop leaders. All workshops are “hands-on” and offer participants an opportunity to work with colleagues to explore new ideas while establishing relationships for long-term professional support. Although most of the programs in PREP are for faculty in the mathematical sciences, those from other disciplines are welcome and some programs may specifically encourage communication among mathematics faculty and those from other disciplines.
Ten PREP workshops, eight PMET workshops, and the first session of a three-session SAUM workshop are scheduled during summer 2004. While there is a modest registration fee for most workshops, PREP covers the cost of materials, food, and lodging for on-site programs.
PMET workshops focus on teaching mathematics courses taken by prospective teachers at the elementary, middle, or secondary level. Participants observe demonstration classes and learn about the mathematical-thinking processes of students preparing for teaching careers. Participants will share ideas and learn more about appropriate mathematical content as well as ways of teaching pre-service teachers more effectively.