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Mathematics Pedagogy Research Support

Request Guidelines:

  1. The department will support at most one trip per semester per lecturer to give an invited talk at a high quality conference, but subject to very limited funds overall. “Invited” essentially means not contributed and not a poster presentation. For example, if you submit an abstract to a special session at an AMS/MAA meeting and your abstract is accepted, that is considered as “invited”. Sometimes your abstract will be turned down and you will be offered a slot in a contributed session. This is not considered to be an invited talk, and similarly for any talk listed as “contributed” in the program. The reason the department insists that the talk be invited is that the department expects the talk to lead to recognition for our programs, meaning that an organizer believes that the topic is sufficiently relevant to the particular conference/session that there will be a sizable, interested audience. As for “high quality”, as you may know there are thousands of conferences each year, and the quality ranges from conferences sponsored by major institutions and/or grants to ones that are just money-makers for the organizers, generally in exotic locations with very high conference fees. Some factors that will be weighed: national recognition of sponsors and/or organizers, degree of support for participants (including relatively low or $0 registration fees), and relative cost of attending (bang for the buck). You may disagree about the quality of a conference that you wish to attend, but the decision whether or not to fund on this basis at any of the various approval levels mentioned below is final.
  2. Department funding is limited to $250 per trip for travel and lodging (food per diems will not be funded), assuming the amount is at least equally matched by other sources. Other sources include the following:
    1. RIF (The Math Department receives around 25% of the overhead paid by grants, which is called Research Incentive Funds (RIF). Departments have the option to return some of those funds to the Principle Investigator(s) of the grant in their departments to use for research purposes. The Math Department returns 25% of the department’s RIF for a grant to tenure-track PIs and 100% to lecturer PIs.
    2. The College, which is now developing policies to support this kind of service by lecturers. Note that the College has an important stake in the quality of teaching by lecturers because it may impact metrics such as retention far beyond the impact on math majors.
    3. Funds from the conference (which may provide some travel support, waive registration fees for speakers, etc.) or directly from grants.
    Personal funds may be used for expenses but are not considered matching funds. The reason the department expects matching funds is similar to the reason for A), it indicates sufficient interest by some other unit in supporting the effort, hence its importance to the campus or math education community.
  3. The talk must clearly be relevant to a pedagogical initiative in the Mathematics Department, such as GTA Mentorship or improving retention. Again, pedagogical research is not a part of our stated research mission and therefore the primary benefit of these trips is the degree to which they may potentially improve the outcomes of our teaching mission and/or give us recognition for what we are doing. True, any effort that aims at improving teaching in some way has the potential to improve the pedagogy of the department, but the likelihood of strong, positive impacts is greatly increased if the effort is an integral part of innovative programs in our department. The strength of the connection to our current pedagogical efforts will be one of the primary considerations to approve funding.
  4. Process:

    These requests should be routed through the Undergraduate Associate Head (currently Jochen, but reverting to Nik next year). The process should start with an email to the Undergraduate Associate Head with the following information:
    1. Budget Estimate (travel and lodging separately)
    2. Conference information, including website and confirmation of invitation (email or listing on conference program).
    3. Matching fund sources (if known, otherwise potential funding from conference or College).
    4. A short description concerning the relationship between the talk and current innovation in pedagogy in our department.

    The Undergraduate Associate Head will make a preliminary decision concerning whether to forward the request to the Lecturer Advisory Committee for review (recusing the person making the request if they serve on Lecturer Advisory Committee). The Lecturer Advisory Committee will forward proposals that it believes should be considered for funding if possible to the Department Head. The Department Head will make the final determination. Note that the Advisory Committee currently has limited the funding for this purpose to $1000 per academic year e.g. up to four trips total. In a case of trips involving several people, especially including graduate students (for example the 2017 trip to the JMM in Atlanta) when the cost per person is very low, these limits may be exceeded with sufficient support from the College. Trips will generally be approved contingent upon expected matching funds, and the Undergraduate Associate Head will assist in making matching requests to the College (only). The Undergraduate Associate Head may also at some point create a form or otherwise change the process. At this point there are no deadlines; requests will be funded until the funding is exhausted. Please contact Jochen if you have questions.

    last updated: November 2018

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