By Bettijo B. Hirschi
The Department of Mathematics Education will be a new addition to the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, BYU officials announced Thursday, July 6.
“This is a logical move at BYU given the size of the program and the strength of the department,” said Earl M. Woolley, dean of the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences.
The new department will benefit more than 200 students majoring in mathematics education at the secondary school level and roughly 700 elementary education majors who plan to teach math in primary schools, according to a college press release.
Woolley also noted there are more students who graduate in math education than do in math.
“We’re convinced the new department will serve the students better over the long run,” he said.
Jonathan Bodrero, 25, a graduate student from Tooele, Tooele County, studying math and math education, said he thought some people may be surprised by the change.
“Some people are going to be a little shocked,” he said.
Bodrero also said he thought the change will be beneficial because it will strengthen the math education program.
“The creation of the new department will allow for the development and improvement of the mathematical education degrees,” he said.
This decision comes after months of debate on the issue, Woolley said.
Woolley said the question of whether mathematics education curriculum should be separate from mathematics departments is a nationwide issue.
But he said that BYU has been seriously considering the change since April.
The transition will be gradual, but the department will be functioning when school starts in August, Woolley said.
“They’ll have a phone number and an office by fall,” he said.
Woolley said there will be no new faculty hired immediately.
The new department will be staffed with teachers who are currently in the Department of Mathematics but have an emphasis on math education, Woolley said.
“There is a core of faculty members that are already working on mathematics education,” said Nolan Mangelson, associate dean of the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences.
The chair for the Department of Mathematics Education, as well as a new chair for the math department, will be announced sometime this summer, Woolley said.
The new department will offer the bachelor of arts degree in mathematics to students who are planning be secondary education teachers, according to the press release.
The master of arts degree will also be available to students interested in secondary education or junior college teaching.
The Department of Mathematics will continue to emphasize theoretical and applied mathematics, Woolley said in the press release.
The math department will continue to offer the bachelor of science, master of science and doctoral degrees, according to the press release.
The two departments will share the responsibility of teaching the general service math courses, Math 110 up to Math 119, Woolley said.
He said approximately 6,000 students take one of these courses each year.
Roughly 14,000 total students will be enrolled in classes between the two departments, Woolley said.