2002 Status Report on Project NExTMAC
In the 2001 Endowment Grants competition, we were awarded $5,000 in
support of Project NExTMAC (New Experiences in Teaching Mathematics
Across Canada). This new professional development initiative is
designed to provide junior mathematics and statistics faculty,
many of whom do not have a wealth of teaching experience, with
information and resources that will enable them to become
better and more effective teachers of mathematics and statistics.
Central to the project is an annual professional development workshop,
timed to coincide with the annual summer meeting of the Canadian
Society. At such workshops, junior faculty come together in a safe
and non-critical environment in which they can freely discuss and
share ideas regarding pedagogical issues related
to teaching mathematics and statistics at the university level.
Since activities and responsibilities that are not directly tied to
teaching can have profound effects on teaching effectiveness, we also
address other issues that impact on the overall success and well-being
of junior faculty. These can include avoiding taking on too many
academic service commitments, struggling to establish and maintain
a research program, coping with academic politics, protecting one's
personal time from being overwhelmed by professional duties,
and other issues that junior faculty face as they make the adjustment
from being graduate students to being university faculty.
With issues such as these in mind, we held a one-day workshop
on June 14, 2002, at l'Universite Laval (the day prior to the
2002 CMS Summer Meeting). After being greeted by the workshop
organisers as well as CMS President Jonathan Borwein (SFU) and
CMS President-Elect Christiane Rousseau (Montreal),
several sessions took place as follows:
- Kathryn Hare (Waterloo), Ortrud Oellermann (Winnipeg), and
Robert van den Hoogen (STFX) led a panel discussion on
balancing career with personal and family life
- Tom Archibald (Acadia), Lee Keener (UNBC), and Keith Taylor
led a panel discussion on aspects of the tenure and promotion process
- Edward Barbeau (Toronto) gave a presentation on being a compleat
- Michael Barr (McGill), Catherine Podeszfinski (NSERC),
Thomas Ransford (Laval), and Serge Villemure (NSERC) spoke about
NSERC and applying for research grants
- Grace Orzech (Queen's) and Morris Orzech (Queen's) facilitated a
session on the topic of getting to know one's students
In addition to the workshop presentations and discussions, the
9 participants who attended were provided with printed resources,
including copies of the following books:
- "Advice for New Faculty Members" by Robert Boice
- "How to Teach Mathematics" (2nd edition), by Steven Krantz
- "A Primer of Mathematical Writing" by Steven Krantz
The speakers at the workshop were also provided with these resources
so that they could share them with colleagues at their home
During the lunchtime break, the workshop participants went as a group
to eat together. This provided a good opportunity for the participants
to interact and get to know each other better, as well as to engage in
less formally structured dialogue with one another.
At the end of the day, an evaluation form was administered, on which
we solicited feedback and suggestions. In additional to receiving
several positive comments from the participants, all 8 of those who
gave us written feedback expressed interest in attending future
Of the original $5,000 awarded to us, $2,162.26 remains unspent.
Likewise, we still have on hand 14 copies of the book by Boice, and
18 copies of each of the two books by Krantz.
We are now working on holding a 1 or 2-day workshop in
Edmonton, immediately prior to the 2003 CMS Summer Meeting,
and so we propose to carry forward these remaining assets.
We would also like to note that our efforts at obtaining additional
funding that would allow us to provide meaningful reimbursement for the
travel expenses incurred by the workshop participants (who, as junior
faculty, may not have yet received grants that would pay for their
travel to events such as a CMS meeting) have so far not been successful.
However, we are continuing to seek possible sources of such funding.
In addition to the support received from the CMS Endowment Fund,
we are grateful to Pearson Education for donating 35 copies of
Boice's book, and also to the American Mathematical Society
for offering a substantial discount on the cost of the books by Krantz.
We also wish to express thanks to the organisers of the CMS Meeting,
both at l'Universite Laval and at the CMS, for making arrangements
to provide space and refreshments at no charge.
Lastly, allow us to mention the website for our project:
David Pike (Memorial) and Robert van den Hoogen (STFX)
[received September 11, 2002]