Special Interest Group of the MAA
SIGMAA on Research in
Undergraduate Mathematics Education
The Selden Prize 2012

Lara Alcock
MathFest, August 2012. Lara Alcock announced as 2012 Selden Prize Winner.

Lara Alcock, Senior Lecturer in the Mathematics Education Centre at Loughborough University in the UK, completed a Ph.D. in 2001 at the University of Warwick. Her first published paper in collegiate mathematics education was 10 years ago, in 2002, “Definitions: dealing with categories mathematically,” published in For the Learning of Mathematics, a highly regarded international journal.

Dr. Alcock was nominated by a mathematics education professor who emphasized her distinctive contributions to the field. Since her first paper, she has had 11 articles in eminent publications such as Educational Studies in Mathematics, Journal of Mathematical Behavior and Research in Collegiate Mathematics Education; a further two are currently in press, and several of these are co-authored with other leading mathematics educators including Adrian Simpson, Keith Weber, and Matthew Inglis. As well as this core of papers in top journals, Dr. Alcock has published 6 research papers in other journals, 3 book chapters, and 18 papers in conference proceedings. She has also presented work at 16 conferences, and in February 2012 gave a plenary presentation at the 15th Annual Conference on Research in Undergraduate Mathematics Education.

Dr. Alcock has done considerable work in translating research in undergraduate mathematics education for different audiences. With the support of the UK’s Higher Education Academy, she has produced a book and a DVD designed to allow mathematicians to engage with research-based ideas. In 2013, Oxford University Press will publish her book How to Study for a Mathematics Degree, which aims to use insights from research to inform and support students as they make the transition to advanced mathematics.

Dr. Alcock’s selection for this award was based on her strong research program and her work in implementing this program. Her work is theoretically-based, product-oriented, and pedagogically sound. She has a deep understanding of mathematical content that is evident in all her writing.

Biographical Note
Lara Alcock is a Senior Lecturer in the Mathematics Education Centre at Loughborough University in the UK. She was awarded a B.Sc. with first class honors and an M.Sc. with distinction, both in mathematics, by the University of Warwick, and a Ph.D. in Mathematics Education by the same institution. Prior to her current position, she worked across mathematics and education departments at Rutgers University and the University of Essex. Her current research is on mathematicians’ and undergraduate students’ construction and comprehension of definitions, theorems and proofs.

Response from Lara Alcock
I am delighted to receive the Selden Prize and, like many researchers in the field of undergraduate mathematics education, I am indebted to Annie and John Selden for their own thoughtful work in this area and for their personal support and interest over years of conference meetings. I am grateful also to my collaborators; the opportunity to work with them has shaped and much improved my thinking. Finally, thanks to the faculty and students that I have worked with at Warwick, Rutgers, Essex and Loughborough, all of whom have provided me with experience and insights that have shaped my career so far and will continue to inspire new research studies.

MAA Disclaimer