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Mathematics Excellence Award Awardee 2016
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Mathematics Excellence Award Recipient

The 2016 Mathematics Excellence (ME) award was presented to an outstanding mathematics educator in Denver. This award is given in even-numbered years and is intended for educators who have made outstanding contributions to mathematics or mathematics education at the two-year college level.

Uri Treisman

He began his career at Pierce College—a community college in Los Angeles—where he studied horticulture and landscape design and worked as a landscaper. Encouraged by Jack Stutesman, a mathematics professor at Los Angeles Community College, he enrolled there and studied mathematics before transferring to what is now California State University, Northridge. With the encouragement of faculty there, he transferred to UCLA, receiving a B.S. (summa cum laude) in Mathematics and a M.A. simultaneously. He received his Ph.D. at the University of California at Berkeley in 1985. For his research at the University of California at Berkeley on the factors that support high achievement among minority students in mathematics, he received the 1987 Charles A. Dana Award for Pioneering Achievement in American Higher Education and, in 1992, he was named a MacArthur Fellow.

Dr. Treisman reflects on his experience as a community college student and the teachers who helped him create a pathway to his career. He often describes his early research that led to the creation of mathematics and science support programs on several hundred campuses and the ongoing research that is now transforming these programs. He challenges those of us who want to insure that community colleges remain a vehicle for community development and for students seeking both upward mobility and intellectual challenge.

Uri has spoken at AMATYC numerous times, including his keynote address at the 2009 AMATYC National Conference where he laid out a new vision for entry-level mathematics that we now refer to as math pathways. In the years since that address, Uri has been the voice of this movement, making the case with math faculty, administrators and policy makers. He helped launch the Statway/Quantway projects with the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the New Mathways Project at the Charles A. Dana Center.

One of his nominators had this to say about him, “Some who do not know him may be surprised that someone of Uri’s stature would speak at local events like a community college math summit, but one of the wonderful things about Uri is how much he honors the work of people at the local level. He sets aside time in his schedule to ensure that he has time to visit colleges so that he can continue to connect with and learn from the faculty, administrators and staff who grapple with the challenges of improving student success at the ground level."

This deep respect that Uri has for mathematics faculty is at the heart of why so many find him inspiring. He both honors and challenges faculty.  Many faculty say they have changed their teaching and even their courses structures due to Uri’s influence.

In addition to this type of individual impact, Uri has influenced organizations and professional associations to promote collective action around systemic change.  People turn to Uri both formally and informally for advice and guidance on issues that range from vision to policy to strategic planning. He works with all five of the major mathematics associations as a member of the leadership team for Common Vision 2025. He helps inform the research agenda for community colleges through activities such as serving on the advisory board for the Center for Community College Student Engagement. And he was a leader in helping establish a broad student success agenda for community college leaders as a commissioner on the American Association of Community Colleges’ 21st Century Commission on the Future of Community Colleges.


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