The disparities in achievement and access for marginalized students are well documented, but there remains a lack of attention to what to do with this knowledge and how to measure the impact of improvement efforts beyond pass rates and demographics. While many university mathematics departments value providing diverse, equitable, and inclusive (DEI) student experiences, the faculty often do not have the professional training to engage with DEI work or measure its progress, which can lead to disengagement from these initiatives.
ACT UP (a $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation) aims to conduct foundational research to identify the mechanisms and structures that best support mathematics stakeholders in making data-informed decisions to promote DEI and critically transform introductory mathematics courses and programs. This project builds on the strength of two prior national studies of introductory mathematics programs, Progress through Calculus and Student Engagement in Mathematics through an Institutional Network for Active Learning (SEMINAL). Three undergraduate mathematics department teams will work in partnership with educational researchers to analyze their local data, in comparison to the national sample.
In partnership with: California State University East Bay, Clemson University, Colorado State University, Duke University, and Kennesaw State University
Conducting basic, use-inspired foundational research related to departments’ use of data in their equity work with the goal of shifting the focus from strictly student outcomes to also include consideration of students’ lived experiences in introductory mathematics courses, leading to critical transformations.
Studying the enactment of networked improvement communities involving educational researchers and mathematics department stakeholders, aiming to increase the effectiveness and impact of mathematics departments’ uses of data to improve diversity, equity and inclusion.
Interrogating the mechanisms underlying data-informed decision-making with key mathematics department stakeholders to critically address topics and issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in their introductory mathematics programs.
STEM stakeholders are aware of the differences in mathematics outcomes among students of different races, socio-economic statuses, genders, and other identities, and stakeholders need support to develop more nuanced understandings of the factors contributing to these differences and to translate their understanding into action.
Three universities were chosen in order to represent a variety of institution types, along with their readiness to engage with DEI issues in their undergraduate programs:
California State University East Bay
CSU East Bay is a public Master’s degree-granting university with moderate research activity and is one of the most diverse higher education institutions among the participating SEMINAL sites.
- Simone Sisneros-Thiry
- Julia Olkin
- Andrea Arauza Rivera
Duke University is a private not-for-profit highly-selective doctoral degree-granting university that is research-intensive, located in North Carolina. Introductory math courses at Duke are taught primarily in large courses taught by teaching faculty with a group-work focused recitation once a week led by a graduate teaching assistant.
- Tori Akin
- Shira Viel
- Maria Tackett
Kennesaw State University
Kennesaw State University is a public, doctoral degree-granting, comprehensive university with an R2 Carnegie classification located in Georgia. As a participating SEMINAL site, most math courses are taught in small classes with some faculty using active learning strategies.
- Kadian Callahan
- Benjamin Sloop
- Katie Christensen
Our Advisory Board members provide us with formative feedback by reviewing key plans, project activities, and findings. Virtual meetings provide opportunities for discussion among the ACT UP Math leadership team and advisory board.
ACT UP Math is supported in part by a grant from the National Science Foundation (DUE-2201486). All ACT UP Math activities and findings are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the funding agency.