Like other professions, mathematics educators in community colleges are not likely to be in attendance at national conferences (such as AMATYC 2014 https://amatyc.site-ym.com/?page=2014ConfHome ). More of us should join AMATYC; I would like to think that membership is expected for all full-time math faculty in community colleges as well as those in universities with a focus on the first two years.
However, even in the best possible situation, only a small minority of us will be present at AMATYC conferences on a routine basis. The question is:
How can we support all math instructors?
My view is that the critical component of an answer is the affiliates of AMATYC. Each affiliate offers closer-to-home opportunities, with the resulting reduction in expenses. Most affiliates have a low membership cost combined with a reasonable conference fee. My affiliate (MichMATYC) is among the most economical: $5 annual membership, and conference registration is $35 to $40.
Part of the reason for this post is to highlight a specific activity that affiliates can undertake, in a mode that is accessible for most faculty in the state or region (full-time or adjunct). Although the attention will shift to college level courses, right now developmental mathematics is in the ‘hot seat’. The Michigan affiliate (MichMATYC) is hosting a state “Summit on Developmental Mathematics”, connected to our fall conference. Here are some of the session topics for our Summit:
- Pathways for general education mathematics
- Acceleration models
- Financial Aid issues
- Implementing a New Life course like Mathematical Literacy (or Algebraic Literacy)
- Comparing models (Dana Center NMP and AMATYC New Life)
Think about this … most states only have 20 to 30 faculty at the AMATYC conference in a given year. At the affiliate conference, we can have 150 to 200 faculty. This is still a minority of the math faculty in the affiliate region. However, the proportion participating is approaching the level needed for sustained long-term improvement in the profession.
Of course, AMATYC also provides the wonderful webinars — which provide benefits without any travel expenses. The participation in these webinars is not generally large (30 to 80, I think). My guess is that faculty see them as a small part of their professional development needs. Of course, one factor here (again) is AMATYC membership; participation in the webinars is limited to AMATYC members. Another reason for membership to be expected of all full-time faculty.
The key point is that we need to include far more of our colleagues in all of our work, professional development in particular. AMATYC membership is critical for full-time math faculty, and affiliate activity is our best chance of making a long-term difference by including a larger proportion of both full-time and adjunct faculty.
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