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Professional Development for VITAL Faculty - A Pilot Program



This project builds on two successful professional development programs (MAA Project NExT and AMATYC’s Project ACCCESS) to bring transformative professional development to VITAL mathematics faculty previously underserved by our programs, which focus primarily on tenure-track faculty.

The acronym “VITAL” stands for Visitors, Instructors, TAs, Adjuncts, and Lecturers, however, we know that there is considerable variation in the naming of these positions. It is now an MAA membership category intended for instructors employed at MAA Departmental Member institutions who are not included in the usual tenure and/or promotion process and whose compensation is not commensurate with faculty who are in those positions. Depending on the institution, this may variously include part-time instructors, non-tenure track instructors, and employees in other ancillary instructional positions.

Our proposed workshop will target faculty who teach in a single geographical region, and will feature two days of intensive in-person sessions followed by ongoing local support in the form of an online community with a discussion board and resource sharing as well as in-person meetings organized by local affiliates. The main goal is to help faculty actively engage with their mathematics students using research-based pedagogical strategies. By partnering with local faculty and targeting visiting, term-appointment, and adjunct faculty at two- and four-year institutions, we will serve a growing faculty population who in many institutions teach over half of all mathematics students. Through this approach we could expand the reach of previous professional development (PD) efforts that were limited in their scope largely by high travel costs. 


We are excited to announce that we will offer a spring workshop for VITAL faculty teaching in North Carolina beginning in May 2021. Sessions will run remotely (on Zoom) on four consecutive Fridays, 3-5pm Eastern, from May 14 - June 4. Participants will have ongoing support, from each other and from a local organizer, for the following year. Preference will be given to groups of faculty who teach at the same institution. Applications have closed for this workshop.

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  1. Bring the professional development to the participants, all of whom would hail from a limited geographical region.
  2. Foster a desire to learn about research-based teaching strategies and explore and implement active learning strategies in the classroom.
  3. Present and promote professional development teaching research-based active learning strategies.
  4. Model the active teaching strategies we promote through interactive sessions.
  5. Target previously under-served faculty including non-tenure track, visiting, and adjunct professors.
  6. Welcome faculty from both two- and four-year institutions.
  7. Provide ongoing support as participants encounter teaching challenges, by partnering with local coordinators who manage continuing communication among the cohort.


  • Dave Kung, Director, MAA Project NExT
  • Paula Talley, Charles A. Dana Center at The University of Texas at Austin
  • Laura Watkins, President-Elect, AMATYC


Support for this Mathematical Association of America (MAA) program is provided by the National Science Foundation, Award EHR-1903992.