B.A., College of William and Mary; M.S., Ph.D., University of Wisconsin (Madison)
Senior Lecturer in the Quantitative Reasoning Program ; Director, Quantitative Reasoning Program
Leading efforts to improve quantitative reasoning, teaching QR and economics of education, and providing professional development for secondary school teachers.
My research on the effects of school resources on student achievement provided quantitative analyses of issues that spanned economics, education, sociology, and politics. While my research interests have continued to cross multiple disciplines using statistical techniques, most of my more recent efforts have been directed toward improving the quantitative skills of our Wellesley College students and citizens at large.
As Director of our Quantitative Reasoning Program, I coordinate the College’s QR courses and special programs across the curriculum. I get to team up with so many people – from chemistry instructors looking to improve their teaching of statistics in labs to members of the Art Department and the Davis Museum in showcasing ways in which quantitative skills are used in the art world.
Furthermore, as a leader of the National Numeracy Network, I work with educators nationwide in our efforts to help “all citizens possess the power and habit of mind to search out quantitative information, critique it, reflect upon it, and apply it in their public, personal and professional lives.”
My two main courses are Introduction to Quantitative Reasoning and Statistical Analyses of Education Issues. In Intro to QR, students begin with a study of formal logic. They then build their skills in numeracy, mathematical modeling, geometry, estimation, and statistics, while examining real world problems in such contexts as demographics and personal finance.
In my education stats course, students learn descriptive and inferential statistics and apply those skills in analyzing various education policy issues, such as the effects of small class size, using data from sources including the National Center for Education Statistics.
New courses I have team-taught include Statistics in the Biological Sciences and an education course, Learning and Teaching Mathematics. On occasion I still teach economics courses, as well. I find that teaching in various departments and at various levels of the curriculum keeps me mindful of the great variety of quantitative applications expected of our students and of the fundamental QR skills that can never be emphasized enough.
I have enjoyed several recent opportunities to consult for other colleges that are now developing QR Programs. Most of these have been in the US, but one university in Santiago, Chile is emulating our Wellesley QR model. I have also been fortunate to receive “Improving Teacher Quality” grant support that has allowed me to run professional development workshops for secondary school teachers who wish to infuse a QR approach in their courses.
Having grown up in the coastal town of Westerly, Rhode Island, I enjoy sailing, kayaking, canoeing, and swimming – anything on the water. I am interested in art history and in photography. Additionally, I love live music and I am learning to play acoustic guitar.