Lewis wins AMS Impact award

Jim Lewis

The American Mathematical Society has recognized the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Jim Lewis with its 2015 Award for Impact on the Teaching and Learning of Mathematics.

Lewis becomes just the third recipient of the annual award, which honors a mathematician who has made significant contributions of lasting value to education in the field.

“Throughout his career, Jim Lewis has been a tireless advocate of the idea that mathematics research and education go hand in hand,” the society stated in its citation. “As department chair at University of Nebraska-Lincoln for 15 years, he created an atmosphere of commitment to teaching that established the department as a national model among mathematics departments in research universities where both teaching and research are highly valued, integrated, and rewarded.”

An Aaron Douglas Professor of mathematics at UNL, Lewis directs the university’s Center for Science, Mathematics and Computer Education (CSMCE). He currently holds a National Science Foundation appointment as deputy assistant director of the Directorate for Education and Human Resources.

Under Lewis’ direction, the UNL Department of Mathematics won a 1998 National Science Foundation Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring. He also headed a national committee that oversaw the creation of “The Mathematical Education of Teachers,” one of several standard-bearing reports on teacher preparation and professional development to which he has contributed.

Lewis is a fellow of the American Mathematical Society and the 2015 recipient of the Gung and Hu Award, the Mathematical Association of America’s highest award for service.

Lewis assumed his leadership position with the NSF in January 2015 in Washington, D.C. He has accepted appointments through January 2017.

His responsibilities include shaping strategy, policy and funding priorities related to education and human resources. Lewis also will represent the directorate while interacting with constituencies that include the U.S. Congress and the White House, along with other federal agencies and research funding sources. He will report to the assistant director of NSF education and human resources, who in turn reports to the NSF director.

The Directorate for Education and Human Resources, one of seven within the foundation, aims to ensure the nation’s leadership in discovery and innovation through a focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“It is a privilege to have an opportunity to make an impact on mathematics and science education at the national level,” Lewis said.

Lewis’ directorship of the center transitioned to Judy Walker, chair of the Department of Mathematics, and Wendy Smith, associate director of the CSMCE.