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Mathematics conference pays tribute to Jim Lewis


Mathematics conference pays tribute to Jim Lewis
Jim Lewis

Top math researchers and educators from around the nation paid tribute to UNL mathematician Jim Lewis at the recent Enacting Standards for Mathematical Practices Conference at UNL.

The Oct. 21-22 conference brought together research mathematicians, mathematics teacher educators, researchers, classroom teachers and school administrators to discuss a nationwide problem in mathematics education: how to implement the standards for mathematical practice found in core state standards for K-12 math classrooms in meaningful, high quality ways.

But for many, the highlight was a banquet honoring Lewis, who has dedicated his 40-year career to improving math education, from kindergarten through college, for women and minorities, in rural and urban schools.

UNL Mathematics Department Chair John Meakin was master of ceremonies for a banquet program featuring testimonials about the impact of Lewis' work on the lives of many people and on the profession. "Many of the testimonials were quite personal and moving in nature," Meakin said.

Several of Lewis' colleagues spoke of the tremendous influence he has had on their careers, including Judy Walker, UNL mathematics professor; David Manderscheid, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; Ruth Heaton, professor of teaching, learning and teacher education; Matt Larson, K-12 mathematics curriculum specialist for the Lincoln Public Schools; Paula Millerd, Omaha Public Schools teacher; and Christina Eubanks-Turner, mathematics professor at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. Ron Rossier, executive director of the Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences, spoke about Lewis' national impact on mathematics education.

"Jim's work has had an extraordinary impact on the lives of a very large number of students, teachers, professional mathematicians, mathematics teacher educators and many of the leaders in the profession at the national level," Meakin said. "His work mattersand he has had, and continues to have, a profound impact on mathematics education at all levels at UNL and on the national stage."

Lewis is the Aaron Douglas Professor of mathematics and director of UNL's Center for Science, Mathematics and Computer Education. He is an award-winning teacher and member of UNL's Academy of Distinguished Teachers and was named Nebraska Professor of the Year for 2010 by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Under his leadership as chair, the mathematics department won a 1998 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring. Lewis is a recipient of the university's Louise Pound-George Howard Distinguished Career Award and also has received awards from the UNL Chancellor’s Commission on the Status of Women and the Lincoln-Lancaster County Women's Commission for his support of opportunities for women in the mathematical sciences.

Lewis has been the principal investigator for the prestigious National Science Foundation-funded Math and Science Partnership programs Math in the Middle and NebraskaMATH and for NebraskaNOYCE: NSF Mathematics Teaching and Master Teaching Fellows Program. He has served on many important national committees, including the National Research Council's Mathematical Sciences Education Board; as chair of the Mathematical Association of America's Coordinating Council on Education and of the American Mathematical Society Committee on Science Policy; and as co-chair of the NRC committee that produced "Educating Teachers of Science, Mathematics, and Technology: New Practices for the New Millennium." Lewis received his doctorate in mathematics from Louisiana State University.







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