NebraskaMATH | Principal Investigators

Dr. W. James (Jim) Lewis

Dr. W. James (Jim) Lewis

Dr. Lewis is the PI for Math in the Middle, and Director of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Center for Science, Mathematics & Computer Education. He brings extensive experience to this role, having served as a co-PI for three previous NSF projects: SSI, Math Matters, and the National Summit on the Mathematic Education of Teachers. A mathematician, Lewis was chair of UNL's Department of Mathematics from 1988-2003. He is a member of the UNL Academy of Distinguished Teachers and has won awards for outstanding teaching and for contributions to the status of women.

While serving as a Department Chair for 15 years, Dr. Lewis worked to create a department culture that believes in the integration of teaching and research and that is clearly supportive of women in mathematics. The department has been recognized with an NSF Presidential Award for Mentoring because of the success of women graduate students in the department. Also, both the UNL Chancellor's Commission on the Status of Women and the Lincoln-Lancaster Women's Commission have recognized his work with awards whose purpose is to honor those who have significantly contributed to the advancement of women.

As co-chair of an NRC committee that produced the publication Educating Teachers of Science, Mathematics, and Technology, Dr. Lewis also sat as chair of the CBMS Steering Committee that produced the publication The Mathematical Education of Teachers. These publications and an article in the AMS Notices are the most visible evidence of his work to improve mathematics teaching on the national level and to increase the attention paid to the education of teachers by faculty in mathematics departments.

For over ten years Dr. Lewis has worked with Professor Ruth Heaton to create a mathematician – mathematics educator partnership capable of greatly strengthening the mathematical education of teachers at UNL. Currently, we are PIs for Math in the Middle, an NSF Math Science Partnership Institute that is working with middle level math teachers. We have given many talks disseminating our approach to teacher education.

Dr. Lewis has also won several teaching awards and was elected to the UNL Academy of Distinguished Teachers. Our department won the University-Wide Departmental Teaching Award. Half of our tenured faculty have won College or University Teaching Awards. Much of his career has been focused on promoting and encouraging excellence in teaching.

As Chair of the AMS Committee on Science Policy for 3 years, and the AMS Task Force, Dr. Lewis authored the first four chapters of the publication, Towards Excellence: Leading a Doctoral Mathematics Department in the 21st Century.

Dr. Ruth M. Heaton
More complete information on Dr. Heaton's publications and presentations can be found on her faculty webpage.

Dr. Ruth M. Heaton

Dr. Heaton is an associate professor in the Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her research interests in mathematics education are in the areas of teaching, teacher learning, and teacher knowledge.

Dr. Heaton is currently co-principal investigator for NebraskaMATH, a NSF-funded project aimed at improving achievement in mathematics for all students by focusing on key transition points along the mathematics curriculum in urban and rural schools across Nebraska. These include the mathematics education of children in the transition from kindergarten through grade 3, algebra at the transition from middle to high school, and the transition of new secondary teachers from certification to the classroom.

Dr. Heaton is also currently a co-principal investigator for the Math in the Middle Institute Partnership, an NSF-funded project designed to provide and study high quality professional development for Nebraska middle school teachers teaching in urban and rural areas with the long-term goal of improving K-12 student achievement in mathematics.

Dr. Heaton is the author of Teaching Mathematics to the New Standards: Relearning the Dance, published by Teachers College Press, 2000.

Dr. Heaton has also worked in a successful school-university partnership for fifteen years.

Dr. Heaton received her Ph. mathematics education from Michigan State University.

Prior to work in higher education, Heaton taught elementary school for ten years.

Dr. Carolyn Pope Edwards
More complete information on Dr. Edwards' publications and presentations can be found on her faculty webpage. Dr. Edwards' online publications can be found here.

Dr. Carolyn Pope Edwards

Carolyn Pope Edwards is Willa Cather Professor at UNL, with joint appointments in the departments of Psychology and Child, Youth, and Family Studies. She studies early childhood development and education and has been part of several translational research projects, including:

  • The Getting Ready Project: Promoting Parent Engagement and Child Learning Birth to Five (funded by NICHD, 2003 – 2009)
  • Rural Language and Literacy Connections (US Department of Education, 2007 – 2010)
  • Learning Outcomes for Low Income, Head Start, and Tribal Children (United States Administration for Children and Families, for three different Graduate Student Research Mentor Grants, 2003 -2009).

In the last five years, Dr. Edwards has also been active on many policy committees at the national and state levels that focus on early childhood curriculum and teacher preparation from Pre-K to Primary:

  • Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP) Working Group for National Association for the Education of Young Children
  • Nebraska Early Childhood Teacher Core Competencies Leadership Team
  • Leadership Team for Nebraska Planning Grant for State Standards in Early Childhood Education, supported by National Association of School Boards of Education
  • Nebraska Early Childhood Educator Professional Development Team
  • Nebraska Early Childhood Learning Guidelines Leadership Team
  • She also led a public awareness project called "The Power of Documentation: Children's Learning Revealed," (funded by the Cooper Foundation, Lincoln, Nebraska, 2005 – 2006).

Dr. Barbara Jacobson

Dr. Jacobson is the Director of Curriculum at the Lincoln Public Schools. She has organized and led the development of the elementary and middle school report card based on standards, and led the work in realigning the curriculum in reading, math, science, and social studies to meet Nebraska state standards. In addition, Dr. Jacobson co-chaired the assessment committee for the Lincoln Public Schools. This included work in re-evaluating our current assessment plan and helping to develop criterion-referenced tests in literacy, math, science, and social studies to meet state standards and the state's accountability system.

Recently, Dr. Jacobson developed a new system of curriculum revision called the Continuous Curriculum Improvement Process, as well as co-led the implementation of district-wide Professional Learning Communities. She has also worked tirelessly to institute new professional development opportunities for teachers in a variety of content areas, including multicultural education, and worked to establish new teacher mentoring and development.

Dr. Ira J. Papick

Dr. Ira J. Papick

Dr. Papick was the Principal Investigator on the NSF Project, Development of Courses and Recruitment Models for Attracting and Preparing Middle Grade Mathematics Teacher, (2001-2006). As part of this project, he developed four mathematics courses for pre-service middle grade teachers, and published four college level mathematics textbooks for pre-service middle grade teachers that directly connect college mathematics to the mathematics present in the middle school curriculum. The books are published by Pearson, and are titled Algebra Connections, Geometry Connects, Data and Probability Connections, and Calculus Connections.

Dr. Papick is a co-PI on the NSF project, A Longitudinal Study of the Impact of High School Mathematics Textbooks of Two Types on Student Learning (2004-2009).

Dr. Walter M. Stroup

Dr. Walter M. Stroup

Dr. Stroup was the Chair of the Department of Statistics at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln for over ten years. He co-developed a training workshop for new Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) in Statistics to prepare them to teach the college-level introductory course. The workshop draws on pedagogy developed in the Math in the Middle Math & Science Partnership, American Statistical Association's Section on Statistical Education, and UNL's Faculty Leadership in Writing Initiative. He just received an Initiative for Teaching and Learning Excellence grant to further develop the writing component of this course and associated preparation of the involved GTAs.

Dr. Stroup has spent most of his career collaborating with researchers in life sciences (biological, agricultural, medical), education, and social sciences. My key accomplishment in these efforts is the development of mixed linear model methods (a.k.a. hierarchical linear models) both for data analysis and as tools for planning and designing studies. He has worked closely with SAS Institute in the development of their mixed model software (Proc MIXED, GENMOD, and GLIMMIX) and co-authored the two textbooks considered the standard guides to mixed linear models (SAS for Mixed Models and SAS for Linear Models).

Dr. Stroup has also collaborated with William Sanders on the early development of multivariate longitudinal mixed model methods for the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System. TVAAS is now used by fours states and 17 schools districts from other states to assess student progress & teacher and school effectiveness. As a visiting professor at University of Tennessee, he worked with Professors Sanders and Robert McLean on these and related mixed model issues.

Dr. Thomas M. McGowan

Dr. Tom McGowan began his career as a teacher educator at Indiana State University. From 1988 to 2002, Dr. McGowan served on the Arizona State University faculty, teaching in the areas of curriculum studies and K-8 social studies education and coordinating outreach projects with Arizona school districts. For the past 9 years, he has chaired the Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and has remained involved in teacher education projects, particularly the research component of two major funded projects through the NSF (i.e., Math in the Middle, NebraskaMATH).

Dr. McGowan's professional publications have been primarily in the areas of literature-based teaching and school-university collaboration, and have featured qualitative/interpretive research designs.

He has served as an officer of social studies professional organizations at the state and national levels and on the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.