Program Purpose

The primary purpose of the program is to produce stewards of the discipline, as defined by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in its Initiative on the Doctorate: "to educate and prepare those to whom we can entrust the vigor, quality, and integrity of the field." Moreover, its explicit interdisciplinary approach is intended to address specific challenges identified by the Carnegie Initiative (Walker, Golde, Jones et al., 2008). These challenges involve new technologies in "altering and accelerating the way new knowledge is shared and developed" (p. 2), a vision of a global marketplace for scholarship, and recognition that "much of the most important, path-breaking intellectual work going on today occurs in the borderlands between fields, blurring boundaries and challenging traditional disciplinary definitions" (p. 2). Our program pays particular attention to how curricular and research components can be integrated systematically to connect students' learning to faculty scholarship and thereby provide authentic learning experiences that produce graduates with strong research skills. We are guided by a metaphor of apprenticeship as a "theory of learning and a set of practices that are widely relevant" (p. 91); the activity of apprenticing encompasses and strengthens all curricular and research components of the doctoral program.

The Ph.D. in Mathematics Education builds on the success of existing research programs at UMass Dartmouth, particularly those situated in the Kaput Center for Research and Innovation in STEM Education. Our program and the Kaput Center share common goals and approaches. Much more than a collection of projects, the Center is an intellectual community that fosters "intellectual risk taking, creativity, and entrepreneurship" (see Walker et al., 2008, p.11) and, in the spirit of the Carnegie Initiative's formation of scholars, offers incubation through which a doctoral program can provide "real partnerships between faculty and students, habits of respect for and interest in one another's work, and the lively exchange of ideas in which new knowledge is formed and transformed" (p. 11).

The innovative research of the Math Ed faculty within the Center provides core strength for the doctoral program and establishes its uniqueness in comparison with other doctoral programs in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and beyond.

The research interests of the Math Ed faculty cover grades K-20 and a wide range of contemporary issues in mathematics education: Algebraic thinking grades K-20, improving mathematics teaching through district-wide collaboration, integrating technological innovations (e.g., wireless connectivity and haptic devices) in K-12 mathematics classrooms and its impact on participation and motivation, developing proof-based reasoning from elementary through undergraduate classrooms, undergraduate mathematics education especially in Calculus, Analysis and Geometry, evolution of symbol use and symbolic thinking in mathematics, theories of mathematical learning and teaching from multi-disciplinary perspectives, teacher knowledge and professional development in the middle grades, efficacy studies and diffusion of innovation. A majority of these interests are being explored through projects funded by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education.

Mathematics education is critical in a global economy for which understanding the technical sciences is an essential currency. The doctoral program in Mathematics Education at UMass Dartmouth offers innovative answers to critical needs in teaching and learning mathematics by providing future mathematics educators with the educational infrastructure and advanced research training to become leaders in the field of mathematics education.