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2015 PREP Workshop Proposal Guidelines

The Mathematical Association of America's Professional Enhancement Program (PREP) seeks proposals for 2015 PREP workshops. We anticipate being able to support approximately 8 to 10 workshops next year. In addition to proposals for core PREP workshops, we invite NSF project directors, who have funds to offer a workshop, to apply for inclusion under the PREP Umbrella. Programs considered for inclusion under the PREP umbrella are expected to meet the same guidelines as core PREP workshops.

A typical PREP workshop has between 20 and 25 participants and receives $20,000 to $25,000 in funding from the MAA.

Proposals are due by July 31, 2014. Successful proposers will be notified by mid-October.

Program Overview

A primary focus of PREP is the integration of technology as a mechanism for both content delivery and communication among organizers and participants. The growth of tools that facilitate both real-time and asynchronous discussions are changing the way our students live and learn, and changing the face of the workplace for all of us. It is incumbent on the mathematical sciences community to use these tools and learn both their strengths and limitations. In addition, the MAA, through PREP, is committed to exploring mechanisms to make high-quality programs more broadly available as technological advances make on-line interaction more attractive to participants and workshop organizers.

Thus preference will be given to workshops that are fully on-line, offer participants the opportunity to join from remote locations (whether individually or in groups), or provide models that are regionally focused but have the potential for producing materials/outcomes that can be shared with a wider audience after the initial workshop concludes. We also anticipate that the length of on-site components of workshops will be shortened by effective use of technology. Nevertheless, proposers should understand that the technology is not the focus of the workshop, but rather a tool to enhance the mathematical and pedagogical impact of the program.

PREP is designed to offer a full range of enrichment experiences. The primary audience is mathematical sciences faculty from all types of educational institutions, including high schools that offer college-level courses, two-year colleges, liberal arts colleges, comprehensive universities, and research universities. PREP workshops are equally open to all, independent of whether or not they are members of the MAA or any other professional organization. PREP especially targets individuals from underrepresented groups and faculty who teach large numbers of students from these groups, and individuals who have not previously participated in professional development activities. Although most of the workshops in PREP are designed for faculty in the mathematical sciences, those from other disciplines are welcome, and some workshops may specifically encourage communication between mathematics faculty and those from other disciplines.

Workshops for all aspects of career enhancement are encouraged. PREP workshops that present modern mathematical ideas or current research and interdisciplinary applications are especially welcome. Workshops that present new developments in teaching and learning, innovative approaches to leadership and career enhancement, or focus on innovative curricula and pedagogical strategies are also welcome. All workshops must appeal to a general audience of mathematical professionals.

A PREP workshop is an extended professional development experience that includes active involvement by all participants and a commitment by all participants to make use of what they learn in their professional life. Although workshops can and do differ in format, it is expected that each PREP workshop has the following three components:

  • The preparatory component begins with the application process, through which the participants indicate ways the PREP workshop will impact their professional activities. This component establishes electronic communication among participants and experts. It consists of activities, including preparatory reading and other assignments, that are completed by participants in advance of the intensive component and are delivered, at least in part, using some form of distance learning. The goals of this component are to prepare participants for the intensive component and to establish individual buy-in to the workshop.
  • The intensive component actively involves the participants by featuring activities such as participant projects, small group discussions, computer or calculator experiences, and/or distance learning activities. It takes place over a number of days and provides an opportunity for participants to actively interact with the expert workshop leader(s) and other participants. The intensive component may be either on-site or on-line.
  • The on-going component occurs after the intensive component. During this component, participants make use of the expertise they acquired in the earlier components of the workshop. Communication continues among the participants and leaders throughout this period, with the workshop leaders serving as mentors. Participants share the outcomes of their work, and one or two participants, or teams of participants, from each workshop may be invited to share the outcomes of their work by presenting a poster at the MAA/NSF Poster Session at the Joint Mathematics Meetings.

Responsibilities of the Workshop Director

The authority and responsibility for designing and conducting a professional enhancement program rests with the program director. In general, the program director will:

  • Develop an active preparatory component for the PREP workshop, which is delivered, at least in part, using some form of distance learning.
  • Serve as a mentor to the participants during the on-going component of the workshop.
  • Participate in program evaluation activities.
  • Provide detailed information, such as program description, requirements and expectations for participants, dates, locations and agendas, names and short resumes of program leaders to the MAA, for recruitment of participants and advertising.
  • Identify an appropriate coordinator for local arrangements.
  • Manage the budget and promptly submit bills and receipts to the MAA for reimbursement.
  • Consult with the MAA to identify any possible sources of supplemental funding for the workshop.
  • Submit a final report to the MAA.
  • Identify one or two participants, or teams of participants, to present a poster at the MAA/NSF Poster Session at the Joint Mathematics Meetings.

The Role of the MAA

The MAA headquarters is responsible for overall management of PREP. The MAA will advertise the programs, solicit and process applications for each program, collect registration fees, provide website support and maintenance of participant lists, oversee the budgets, coordinate the program evaluation activities, and provide technical support and advice, as needed, for online courses and for the online portion of the preparatory component. The PREP management team (consisting of co-PIs of the NSF grant that funds PREP and representatives from the MAA Committee on Professional Development) reviews all proposals and makes final program determination.

More detailed information can be found in the PREP Director's Handbook.

Workshops Funded Through Other Sources

We invite the directors of workshops funded through other projects to apply to become part of the PREP program under the PREP umbrella. Being a part of the PREP program can add a level of visibility to your workshop that may otherwise be impossible.

To be considered for inclusion under the PREP umbrella, please follow the guidelines for preparing a PREP proposal (see "Preparation of Proposals" below). The description of the planned workshop should be drawn from your original proposal if possible. Since the workshop will be funded from other sources, you do not need to submit a budget.

For workshops accepted under the PREP umbrella, the MAA will do the following:

  • Advertise the workshop along with all PREP workshops, without distinction from workshops we wholly support, in MAA publications and other print and electronic venues. The MAA will acknowledge the other sources of support for your workshop in all literature and web advertising. As part of the publicity for PREP, the PREP brochure will be mailed to all MAA members and distributed to the broader mathematical community at the Joint Mathematics Meetings. At least one article and two to three ads for PREP will appear in FOCUS during the winter and spring. The workshop will be advertised through the MAA liaison network and other relevant avenues. We will maintain the PREP website, with a description of the workshop and a link to the workshop's website.
  • Provide registration services for the workshop. Our on-line registration system allows us to provide regular and complete reports on application status. In addition to name and contact information, we collect a range of professional and demographic information to assist workshop leaders in the selection of appropriate participants. We also manage the collection of all registration fees.
  • Provide some evaluation services. Both pre- and post-workshop questionnaires, developed by Barbara Edwards of Oregon State University, will be administered to all workshop participants. After the results are compiled, we will report them to the workshop director.

The registration fees for 2015 have yet to be set. Depending on the number of registered participants, some additional funds may be provided by the MAA PREP Program to support the workshop.

Preparation of Proposals

Prior to submission, please review the PREP Program Director's Handbook, which contains useful information for those considering proposing PREP workshops.

All proposals should contain the following information:

  1. Title
    • The title should succinctly and clearly define the content and purpose of the workshop.
  2. Abstract
    • The abstract should be at most 150 words in length. It should clearly state objectives and expected outcomes of the workshop. It should describe the format of the workshop, state any prerequisites necessary, and indicate the materials to be distributed to and utilized by participants.
  3. Background data
    • Name(s) of presenter(s) and their affiliations
    • Name, phone number, fax number, e-mail and snail-mail address(es) of the program director
    • Dates for intensive component of proposed program as well as a tentative schedule for preparatory and on-going components
    • Location of proposed program
    • Number of participants
  4. Narrative
    • A narrative of at most eight double-spaced pages, containing the following components:
      1. Overview of the program - Briefly describe the program, clearly stating the goals and objectives, planned activities (including the preparatory and on-going activities), general organizational structure, general schedule of activities and expected outcomes.
      2. Background of the program - Describe any prior courses, workshops or seminars that form the basis for the proposed program. Identify any sources of funding, such as funding from NSF.
      3. Description of the program - Describe the preparatory component. List readings and describe on-line activities to be completed by participants prior to attending the program. Describe the intensive component. Give a schedule of activities, including topics to be covered with approximate times, speakers, discussions, sessions, and so on. Describe what participants are expected to produce. Describe the on-going component. Describe how the three components of the program are integrated to provide a sustained professional development experience.
      4. Efficacy of the materials or pedagogical approach - Describe how adopting the materials or approach is intended to improve outcomes for students. Describe the intended preparation of the participants to implement or use what they have learned at the conclusion of the program. Describe any intended wider dissemination of the materials or approach beyond the workshop participants.
      5. Facilities and resources - For on-site PREP workshops, describe the facilities where the program will be held and resources and equipment available to participants. Specify the room and board arrangements for participants.
      6. Experience and capability of organizers - Describe the experience and capability of each primary contributor (organizers and principal presenters) with respect to the proposed program. Describe the responsibilities of each organizer.
  5. Budget
    • The budget should include provisions to cover participants' room and board, stipends for program leaders, local organizers and student assistants, materials and supplies, and operational and technical assistance.
    • Budgets should not include funds for advertising, processing applications, travel support for participants or evaluation activities. These components will be managed through the MAA. Budgets should not include requests for funds for extracurricular activities, such as taking participants to a ball game, unless the activity can be linked to the educational experience of the workshop.
    • For a more detailed description of the proposed budget, please see the Budget Guidelines Page.
  6. Letter of support
    • At least one letter of support from an authorized representative of either the college or university where the intensive portion of the program will take place, or the college or university with which the program director is affiliated.

Requests to Repeat a Program

Programs that have a high demand and receive strong evaluations may be repeated. A request to repeat should focus on two areas:

  • Lessons learned – In response to program evaluations and the organizers’ observations, describe what will be done differently. Describe what worked and what didn’t work. Describe what will be retained and what will be changed.
  • Follow-up activities – Describe the follow-up activities that took place after the previous program.
  • Impact on participants – Describe how participants have used what they learned in the program. Describe changes they have made in their classrooms as a result of participating in the program. Describe presentations participants have made at local or national meetings.

Submission of Proposals

Proposals are due by July 31, 2014, for programs to be conducted in 2015.

Early proposals are welcome, and successful proposers will be notified by mid-October.

All proposals and preproposals should be submitted electronically by emailing them to


Those interested in proposing a PREP workshop are invited to submit a preproposal at any time prior to the due date for full proposals. A preproposal should consist of a narrative of up to three pages double-spaced describing the proposed activity. Members of the PREP management team will review this to determine if the activity meets the scope of the PREP program, and will be able to recommend changes that might be necessary to increase the likelihood that a full proposal on this subject would be funded.

Please note that preproposals are not required in order to submit a full proposal.

Further Information

General inquiries, as well as questions regarding the format that proposals should use, and requests for extensions of the deadline to submit proposals, should be directed to Olga Dixon at

Questions concerning proposal content may be directed to any of the following PREP Management Team members: