Erica N. Walker, an authority on the social and cultural factors and educational policies and practices that facilitate math engagement, learning and performance, especially for underserved students, has been named Clifford Brewster Upton Professor of Mathematical Education at Teachers College.
Walker is Chair of the College’s Department of Mathematics, Science & Technology and Director of its Institute for Urban and Minority Education (IUME). A former public high school mathematics teacher who earned her doctorate from Harvard University in administration, planning and social policy, she is the author of two highly regarded books, Building Mathematics Learning Communities: Improving Outcomes in Urban High Schools (Teachers College Press, 2012) and Beyond Banneker: Black Mathematicians and the Paths to Excellence (SUNY Press, 2014). In 2015, she delivered the prestigious Etta Z. Falconer Lecture in Washington, D.C., to mark the 100thanniversary of the founding of the Mathematical Association of America.
Walker has “emerged as a statesperson in academia, universally respected here at Teachers College and nationwide.”
—Provost Thomas James
“The Upton Chair signifies a scholar-practitioner who is a true thought leader in mathematics education – someone whose work not only advances the field, but sets its direction, opening new frontiers that ultimately broaden participation and the application of mathematics to the challenges in our society,” said TC Provost Thomas James, who announced Walker’s new appointment at a College-wide faculty meeting this week. “Through reflection on her own experiences and her studies of the lives of great black mathematicians, Professor Walker has created a new paradigm for leveraging the informal mathematical ‘socialization’ of each person to inspire more young students to become interested in the creative, problem-solving aspects of math and to identify as ‘math people.’ She has created an extraordinarily successful model for peer tutoring in high schools. And she has emerged as a statesperson in academia, universally respected here at Teachers College and nationwide.”
Walker succeeds Bruce R. Vogeli, previous holder of the Upton Chair, who has been named Clifford Brewster Upton Professor Emeritus. Vogeli was hailed by James for his bestselling school mathematics textbook series and his extensive documentation of how the teaching of mathematics varies in nations and cultures around the world.
Clifford Brewster Upton was a leading Professor of Mathematics Education at Teachers College during the first quarter of the 20th century, and also served as the College’s Provost. He published a number of textbooks, both alone and with George D. Strayer.