Mathematics Education


  • Cristina Bacuta, Assistant Professor
     Mathematics Teacher Education (MSC=97B50) and Teaching methods and classroom techniques (MSC=97D40)

  • Jinfa Cai, Professor
     Cognitive studies of teaching & learning mathematics, mathematical assessment, cross-cultural studies, problem solving, teacher education

  • Michelle Cirillo, Assistant Professor
     Proof, classroom discourse, and teachers’ use of curriculum materials

  • Alfinio Flores, Hollowell Professor of Mathematics Education
     Pre- and in-service teacher education, mathematics knowledge for teaching, use of computers and calculators for conceptual understanding of mathematics.

  • Jungeun Park, Assistant Professor
     Teaching and learning undergraduate mathematics, classroom discourse, international comparison studies.


Mathematics education research involves disciplined inquiry into the teaching and learning of mathematics at all grade levels – pre-school though college. Such research has flourished over the past several decades. As outlined below, faculty in the Department of Mathematics Sciences are actively engaged in a number of research projects.

  • Cristina Bacuta
    1. “Assessing Pre-service Teachers’ Abilities to do Proofs” with colleagues at SUNY Cortland - PMET-NSF Grant DUE-0230847. The goals for the project are to align the departmental assessment plan with the MET report recommendations, to utilize the assessment outcomes to redesign the teaching and learning of proof in a discrete mathematics course, and to engage both the faculty and the high school teachers in collaborations.
    2. "The Transition from High School to College Mathematics". There are many possible reasons making the transition to university too difficult for many students: curriculum, assessment, content, pedagogy, teachers, learners, social issues, etc. The focus of the study is on the new college students' perceptions and expectations.

  • Jinfa Cai
    • Primary interest is how middle and high school students learn mathematics and solve problems, and how teachers can design learning environments to help students make sense of mathematics. Has explored these questions within and across nations. Recently has focused on students' mathematical thinking and the impact of instructional, curricular, and cultural factors on students' learning. Currently is investigating teachers' pedagogical representations and their impact on students' mathematical thinking (funded by Spencer Foundation), as well as exploring earlier algebraic experiences needed for taking middle and high school algebra (funded by the National Science Foundation).

  • Michelle Cirillo
    • Research interests are proof, classroom discourse, and teachers’ use of curriculum materials. She is especially interested in the space where these three areas intersect.

      Dr. Cirillo is a co-PI on a collaborative NSF Discovery Research K-12 grant. She is collaborating to develop materials to help secondary mathematics teachers’ improve their classroom discourse. A goal of this work is to help teachers facilitate reasoning, argumentation, and proof in their classrooms.

  • Alfinio Flores
    • Primary interest is helping students and prospective and in-service teachers develop their conceptual understanding of mathematics. He uses computers, calculators, and concrete materials to make mathematical abstractions more tangible and help students and teachers develop a network of connected mathematical concepts.

  • Jungeun Park
    • Dr. Park's primary interest is how undergraduate students in STEM majors learn concepts in calculus through the lens of discourse analysis. Her current research focuses on how the derivative as a function is taught and learned in calculus classes. She plans to explore teaching and learning the derivative as a function in another language because the words for the derivative as a point-specific object and as a function in some languages are not consistent. She is also participating in a study about guided reinvention in calculus classroom as an instructional approach, in which students reinvent their own definition of the limit equivalent to the formal definition, and use it throughout the course. Her studies would contribute to the field of mathematics education by addressing how students understand static vs. dynamic aspects in calculus concepts in two different languages, and proposing an instructional approach that helps students overcome their difficulties making sense of dynamic aspects of calculus concepts such as limit and the derivative.

Mathematics education across campus