The SIGMAA on Research in Undergraduate Mathematics Education

presents its Twentieth Annual

Conference on Research in

Undergraduate Mathematics Education

February 23 - 25, 2017 | SAN DIEGO, CA

2017 Working Groups

The working groups for 2017 are outlined below and showcase the various groups of individuals working together to pursue or support research in a particular area or topic of interest. The optional working groups are scheduled for Thursday, February 23 from 8:00 AM- 12:00 PM. If you have questions about any of the working groups contact the appropriate organizers.

Working Group 1: Equity in Undergraduate Mathematics Education

Aditya P. Adiredja -
Luis Leyva -

Abstract: There remains a need to explore equity issues in undergraduate mathematics education, and consider ways that such perspectives complement existing research in the RUME community. To address this need, this working group serves as a collective of scholars and practitioners aimed at advancing the equity agenda in undergraduate mathematics education by exchanging constructive feedback on related scholarly work, instructional and curricular resources, and other artifacts from their professional practice. Particularly, the group aims to address the following questions: 1) In what ways can equity considerations conceptually and methodologically enhance the quality of research in RUME?; 2) Alongside the broader policy changes in higher education at large, how do we see issues of equity in the day-to-day teaching and learning experiences across undergraduate mathematics classrooms and other related learning contexts? 3) How can we leverage insights from K-12 mathematics education research to further advance the equity research agenda and inform more equitable teaching and learning opportunities in undergraduate mathematics? Informal and sustained mentorship will be encouraged within the working group considering the variation across members’ stages of academic and professional development.

Working Group 2: Research on College Mathematics Instructor Professional Growth

Shandy Hauk -
Natasha Speer -
Jessica Deshler -

Abstract: The group focus includes research on the professional development of all college mathematics instructors regardless of their level of experience or expertise. Many current members have a particular interest in the professional growth of novice college teachers (e.g., graduate student teaching assistants). The group meets online monthly throughout the year and once face-to-face at the RUME conference annually. We solicit proposals from researchers in all areas of the professional development of college mathematics instructors across institutional types (e.g., community college, university). This includes, but is not limited to, research on factors that shape instructional practices and the experiences of instructors as they attend to student thinking in their instruction. The group’s goals, historically and as they have evolved, continue to drive the focus of annual meetings. They include interaction that offers (1) informed individual support and feedback for researchers, (2) opportunities for networking and collaboration among mathematics educators interested in research and development of materials, processes, and theories to support the professional development of collegiate mathematics instructors, (3) continuing discussion of issues central to the field and ways to address them. The intended participants of this group include researchers in all of these areas, whether new to the field, to research in general (early career researchers) or experienced in both. Researchers need not present their work to participate in the group or provide feedback to others. Group meeting time is structured to allow feedback on research projects that are in progress. The working group is not meant to be a forum for presenting completed studies, but rather an opportunity to get feedback from peers on projects in any stage: from the refinement of research questions to study design, data collection and analysis to discussion of venues for future presentation and proposals for funding of projects. We also discuss strategies for sharing our work with the practice-oriented college mathematics instructor professional development community, the needs of the working group, and ways of sustaining collaborations and communication among group participants during the year.

Working Group 3: Research on Community College Mathematics

Claire Wladis - &
Ann Sitomer -

Abstract: Currently, national attention on community colleges, especially in mathematics, has provided a necessary spotlight for investigating mathematics education. President Obama’s 2010 White House Summit on Community Colleges was preceded by a flurry of papers related to community college mathematics (e.g., Bailey, 2009; Rosenbaum, Stephan, & Rosenbaum, 2010; Stigler, Givven, & Thompson, 2010). Most of these authors are outside the field of mathematics education research and most have little, if any, experience teaching mathematics at community colleges. In addition, this scholarship refers to aspects of community colleges that, even though important (e.g., finances, access, retention) leave unexplored the one aspect that may have the greatest impact upon students’ success: their experiences in the classroom Supported through past working group sessions at RUME and committee work within AMATYC, a cadre of researchers has been collaborating to advance a national agenda and create a web of community college mathematics education research. We propose to leverage the RUME working group session to continue mapping the territory for research that focuses exclusively on community colleges. We will further the research agenda created in past working group sessions, with the aim of generating research products that will foster an understanding of community colleges as fundamental player in post-secondary education. In order to advance teaching and learning of mathematics at the community college level, we need a more coherent body of researchers and research across demographic, socioeconomic, racial/ethnic, and other institutional and individual identities that capture evidence-based instructional practices.

Working Group 4: Education Research at the Interface of Mathematics and Physics: Mathematization of Introductory Physics

Suzanne Brahmia -
Michael Oehrtman -

Abstract: The working group focus this year will be quantitative reasoning, modeling, and approximation with algebra and single variable calculus in the context of physics. The aim of this group is to educate and enrich research on the learning and teaching of mathematics and physics at the introductory college level of calculus and physics through cross-disciplinary discussions between researchers in both undergraduate mathematics and physics education. Activities will include a short interactive workshop to familiarize participants with the nature of the conceptual issues students encounter as they cognitively blend math and physics at the introductory level in calculus and in physics courses. Discussions will focus on relevant research literature and ongoing studies on learning and teaching of the content, as well as implications for theoretical studies, empirical studies, and instruction. While the focus of the working group will be limited to specific topics, the methods and ideas discussed will be broadly applicable to research within either field (RUME or PER) as well as extensions to other quantitative disciplines. Participants who wish to present briefly on their own relevant research during the working group should contact the organizers at least two weeks prior to the session.

Working Group 5: Research Opportunities for RUME Researchers in the Context of Mathematics Resource Centers

Melissa Mills -
Michael Tallman -
Brian Rickard -

Abstract: Much of the research in the RUME community addresses student cognition in a classroom setting. While classroom instruction is important, it is not the only context in which learning can occur. The CSPCC study found that 89.5 percent of the universities surveyed offered mathematics tutoring services to undergraduates. Supplemental instruction and co-requisite instruction are other resources that are commonly offered to students in undergraduate mathematics courses. We propose that research about student cognition can inform the teaching practices that take place in mathematics resource centers and SI sessions, and that these out-of-classroom resources provide an additional context in which research about student cognition can take place. There are several benefits to conducting research in the context of resource centers. First of all, resource centers have much fewer constraints than classroom instruction. The sizes of groups of students, length of sessions, and technology available can vary. Secondly, resource centers may offer more of an opportunity to affect change in instructional practices. It is not uncommon for university level instructors to lack the time, resources, or expertise to improve their instructional practices in the classroom. Since resource centers exist primarily for the purpose of addressing students’ instructional needs, tutors and SI leaders may be more capable of implementing the recommendations of research. This working group exists to bring together the collective expertise of RUME researchers to create a research agenda that investigates how current RUME research can inform the practices of resource centers and to explore how resource centers may provide a lucrative context for conducting future research about student cognition in mathematics.

Guidelines for Working Group proposals

Working groups are formal or informal groups of individuals working together to pursue or support research in a particular area or topic of interest. Since 2009, the SIGMAA on RUME has encouraged networking, mentoring, and research collaboration by hosting working groups and supporting the development of new working groups at the annual RUME conference.

RUME hosts both new and ongoing working groups by providing pre-conference meeting space and time slots. Hosted working groups will be provided with a room, A/V equipment, and mid-morning refreshments for their meeting on Thursday, 23 February 2017, from 8:00 am – noon (additional time might be available during the conference if requested).

Each working group is considered independent from the RUME organization. Therefore, RUME takes no responsibility for the leadership structure and ongoing activities of any such group. Each is responsible for its own goals, duration, scope, activities, and organizational structure. Therefore at its own prerogative, a group may meet for a single event or conduct longitudinal work. Questions regarding involvement in an existing working group should be directed to that group’s organizers.

It is anticipated that working groups hosted by RUME provide a unique opportunity not met by the regular conference presentations. While differing in area of focus and interest, each working group should work to accomplish the following goals:

  1. Increase, strengthen, and expand research efforts in the particular area of interest.
  2. Foster networking by creating or enabling research collaborations.
  3. Be open and accessible to new members, providing mentoring opportunities for new or transitioning researchers.

In these ways, working groups are expected to provide a unique opportunity for involvement and growth that is not met by regular conference sessions.

Working group slots at the annual RUME conference are limited by considering funding, space, community support/interest, and follow-up from prior years. Individuals or groups interested in having a working group slot at the RUME conference are encouraged to submit a working group proposal, as outlined in this document’s Conference Submission Requirements.

Working group organizers are responsible for planning, organizing, and facilitating their sessions so that they meet the specified goals as well as providing required post-conference reports. Throughout the planning, facilitating, and reporting process, organizers are also responsible for: a) ensuring participants professionally benefit from participation, and b) protecting participants by guarding against plagiarism.

Conference Submission Requirements:

Group Proposal: Complete and submit the application (as a Word document) by Mon., 5 Sep. 2016.
Conference Reports: After the conference, submit the following by Mon, 20 Mar 2017:

  • Participant Report: An Excel sheet (as a .xls file) providing each participant’s name, email address, and role(s) during the working group (i.e. facilitator, presenter, participant, observer).
  • Proceedings Report: A 3-7-page report (as a .pdf file) for the conference proceedings, summarizing the work done or findings presented during the session. Appropriate citations and credit should be provided in these reports to avoid plagiarism.
All files should be sent as attachments by email to, with the subject line: RUME 2017 Working Group. Please keep other questions, queries, and correspondence separate from e-mail submissions.

Reviewing Guidelines

All complete proposals received by the deadline will receive full consideration. The review process will proceed as follows:

  1. Each proposal will undergo an initial, cursory review to assure that it is appropriate the working group venue (i.e. the plans meet the goals and expectations of a RUME working group) and that it is pertinent to the RUME conference.
  2. In the event that there are more proposals than can be accommodated, appropriate proposals will be presented to the community for support and interest. The proposal’s abstract and description will be posted as a potential working group. Support and interest will be solicited and collected from the RUME community for a specified period of time.
  3. Proposals will be grouped, reviewed, and ranked within two categories using the following criteria:
    • Proposals for New Working Groups will be evaluated and ranked based on: a) the clarity and plausibility of its plans with regard to each of the working group goals, and b) the interest and support provided by the RUME community.
    • Proposals for Returning Working Groups will be evaluated and ranked based on the criteria for new working groups and the following additional criteria: c) tangible outcomes of the group’s research work, d) ongoing networking, mentoring, and opportunities for collaboration created by the group, e) persistence or expansion of group involvement and membership, and f) completion of prior years’ obligations (e.g. mandatory report).
  4. Based on available space and community interest, the top proposals from these two categories will be hosted at the upcoming RUME conference.