Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015
After receiving his doctorate from the Program in Mathematics this past May, Dr. Alexander was offered a tenure-track faculty position at the University of San Francisco. During a recent interview, he offered some details about his transition and advice for new and continuing students. He noted that he originally selected the Mathematics, Science and Technology (MST) department at TC because he felt that it "provided a true graduate experience." He continued, "More than just talking about ideas, the Program in Mathematics at Teachers College stood out in that the curriculum and the program of study showed the merging of mathematical knowledge and mathematical practice, which provided the framework and foundation for me to conduct what I consider a very important line of research in the field." He offered that his work with TC faculty members, Dr. Erica Walker and Dr. Felicia Mensah, provided a balanced interdisciplinary experience that is needed for contemporary mathematics and science educators.
In the near future, Dr. Alexander is excited about transitioning his work in the local Harlem community during graduate school out to Oakland, CA and the larger Bay Area, while focusing on ways to better incorporate a balance between policy and practice. He says, "I want to know that my work speaks to what is happening on the ground, and to how people think and make decisions; but most importantly that it is a reflection of what is needed given the social, cultural, and political contexts that inform much of any research program. At my current institution, we are focusing on engaged scholarship, and I believe my role here is to ensure that I am rethinking and re-imagining possible iterations of engaged scholarship in mathematics and science education." For incoming and current MST students, Dr. Alexander encourages them to take a chance: "I feel that most of us feel a huge pressure or stress to get things 'right' when we are in graduate school. My advice: take some chances, play around with your ideas, make some mistakes...and even break some rules. Specifically for MST students, I would advise that they re-imagine possibilities and push our field forward." For more information about Dr. Alexander, please visit his USF faculty page at http://www.usfca.edu/faculty/nathan-alexander.