When Dr. Richard Thiessen recruited me to launch this Center, he shared a reorganization vision with me. He had drawn a diagram with all of the components of his vision. This diagram included a box for “Research Centers at Other Universities” with a double arrow connecting it to the AIMS Center. On the arrow were written the words, “building relationships with researchers and programs.” Yet, in his heart, he wasn’t sure this part of his dream would ever become a reality.
Drs. Thiessen and Friesen attended the Psychology of Mathematics Education – North America Annual Conference last year. While there, they connected with many researchers and to date we have had the pleasure of hosting four of them who have come to our Center and worked with our Research Division team.
Last December, Dr. Catherine Ulrich (Virginia Tech School of Education) spent two days with us. Dr. Ulrich, who received her PhD under the guidance of Dr. Les Steffe at the University of Georgia, has worked to learn how children construct number concepts. She continues to work with us and advise us.
Then in April, Dr. Anderson Norton visited. He is Dr. Ulrich’s colleague from the Mathematics Department at Virginia Tech. Dr. Norton is also a former student of Dr. Steffe and focuses his current research around students’ mathematical development using teaching experiments. He too has offered his ongoing support. In fact, we have now submitted a proposal for a grant in partnership with Virginia Tech, involving both Dr. Ulrich and Dr. Norton.
This past summer, Dr. Beth MacDonald, from Utah State University, came to visit. Dr. MacDonald’s research is focused around pre-school education and was really influential with our pre-school team of research associates.
I am really excited to share that last week we hosted our fourth researcher, Dr. Les Steffe himself. Dr. Steffe’s research, out of the University of Georgia, spans three decades. His publications are inspiring, as he is always striving to more deeply understand how children learn mathematics. His is the backbone of the research that we are learning to translate for teachers. His personal visit was a validation that the work we are doing is the right work. He pushed the members of our team to think deeply and to consider new ideas. He pushed us, as a Center, to reconsider our direction and to refocus our work. We sincerely hope that Dr. Steffe will visit again!
This week, Dr. Thiessen, our Director of Research, along with Dr. Tiffany Friesen and Paul Reimer, our two Senior Researchers, are off to attend the Psychology of Mathematics Education – North America Annual Conference, 2016. They hope to reconnect with those they met last year and to make new connections with researchers who can influence our work. In addition, they will be presenting a poster session on the current draft of our Model for the Translation of Research that we have crafted here at the AIMS Center for Math and Science Education. I sincerely look forward to all that they will come back with this year to move our Center into 2017 and beyond. It makes me extremely proud to work here at the AIMS Center, where we do in fact build relationships with researchers and other university programs. It’s an absolute to joy to be a part of Dr. Thiessen’s dream, as it comes to life here at The AIMS Center!