Research Professor Profile Image
Research Professor Mathematics and CSMCE wsmith5@unl.edu (402) 840-1259 302.1 Avery Hall

http://scimath.unl.edu/Wendy/index.php

Research Professor, Center for Science, Mathematics and Computer Education; Department of Mathematics
Associate Director, Center for Science, Mathematics and Computer Education
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
251 Avery Hall [working from home during COVID-19 pandemic]
Lincoln, NE 68588-0131 USA
wsmith5 (at) unl (dot) edu
402.472.8965 [voicemail only--working from home]

CV (updated February 2021)

Dr. Smith is an inaugural member of UNL's Research Leaders Program [2020-2021].

About Dr. Wendy Smith

Dr. Wendy Smith earned her Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2008, studying mathematics teacher change. Wendy's research interests include PK-20 mathematics, science and computer science education, institutional change, active learning, education leadership, rural education, teacher change, teacher professional development, professional networks, action research, and estimating teacher professional learning effects on student achievement. Wendy began her career as a middle level mathematics teacher in the Lincoln Public Schools. Wendy's bachelor's and master's degrees are in mathematics, also from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Among other roles and responsibilities, Wendy serves as the chief advisor for teachers earning their Master of Arts for Teachers (MAT) degree from the Department of Mathematics.

Recent Books

Smith, W. M., Voigt, M., Ström, A., Webb, D. C., & Martin, W. G., (Eds.) (2021). Transformational Change Efforts: Student Engagement in Mathematics Through an Institutional Network for Active Learning. American Mathematical Society and Mathematical Association of America Press, and the Conference Board of Mathematical Sciences.

The purpose of this handbook is to help launch institutional transformations in mathematics departments to improve student success. We report findings from the Student Engagement in Mathematics through an Institutional Network for Active Learning (SEMINAL) study. SEMINAL's purpose is to help change agents, those looking to (or currently attempting to) enact change within mathematics departments and beyond—trying to reform the instruction of their lower division mathematics courses in order to promote high achievement for all students. SEMINAL specifically studies the change mechanisms that allow postsecondary institutions to incorporate and sustain active learning in Precalculus to Calculus 2 learning environments. Out of the approximately 2.5 million students enrolled in collegiate mathematics courses each year, over 90% are enrolled in Precalculus to Calculus 2 courses. Forty-four percent of mathematics departments think active learning mathematics strategies are important for Precalculus to Calculus 2 courses, but only 15 percnt state that they are very successful at implementing them. Therefore, insights into the following research question will help with institutional transformations: What conditions, strategies, interventions and actions at the departmental and classroom levels contribute to the initiation, implementation, and institutional sustainability of active learning in the undergraduate calculus sequence (Precalculus to Calculus 2) across varied institutions?

As the leader of the editorial team, I also co-authored seven of the chapters and created the executive summary.

Smith. W. M., & Funk. R. (2021). The Student Engagement in Mathematics through an Institutional Network for Active Learning project: An overview. In W. M. Smith, M. Voigt, A. Ström, and W. G. Martin (Eds.) Transformational Change Efforts: Student Engagement in Mathematics through an Institutional Network for Active Learning (Chapter 1, pp. 26-41). American Mathematical Society and Mathematical Association of America Press, and the Conference Board of Mathematical Sciences.

Smith. W. M., Funk, R., Voigt, M, & Uhing, K. (2021). Research design and methodology. In W. M. Smith, M. Voigt, A. Ström, and W. G. Martin (Eds.) Transformational Change Efforts: Student Engagement in Mathematics through an Institutional Network for Active Learning (Chapter 2, pp. 42-57). American Mathematical Society and Mathematical Association of America Press, and the Conference Board of Mathematical Sciences.

Funk. R., Smith, W. M., Uhing, K, & Williams, M. (2021). Phased Change University: A multistage approach to educational improvement. In W. M. Smith, M. Voigt, A. Ström, and W. G. Martin (Eds.) Transformational Change Efforts: Student Engagement in Mathematics through an Institutional Network for Active Learning (Chapter 3, pp. 60-79). American Mathematical Society and Mathematical Association of America Press, and the Conference Board of Mathematical Sciences.

Williams, M., Funk, R., Smith, W. M., & Uhing, K. (2021). Long-Term University: Building a self-sustaining system. In W. M. Smith, M. Voigt, A. Ström, and W. G. Martin (Eds.) Transformational Change Efforts: Student Engagement in Mathematics through an Institutional Network for Active Learning (Chapter 6, pp. 116-133). American Mathematical Society and Mathematical Association of America Press, and the Conference Board of Mathematical Sciences.

O’Sullivan. M. E., Smith, W. M., & Tubbs, R. (2021). Leadership. In W. M. Smith, M. Voigt, A. Ström, and W. G. Martin (Eds.) Transformational Change Efforts: Student Engagement in Mathematics through an Institutional Network for Active Learning (Chapter 10, pp. 210-227). American Mathematical Society and Mathematical Association of America Press, and the Conference Board of Mathematical Sciences.

Voigt, M., Smith, W. M., Kress, N., Grant, D., & Ström, A. (2021). Culture and equity. In W. M. Smith, M. Voigt, A. Ström, and W. G. Martin (Eds.) Transformational Change Efforts: Student Engagement in Mathematics through an Institutional Network for Active Learning (Chapter 15, pp. 300-321). American Mathematical Society and Mathematical Association of America Press, and the Conference Board of Mathematical Sciences.

Smith, W. M. and the SEMINAL team. (2021). Conclusion: Sustainable transformations. In W. M. Smith, M. Voigt, A. Ström, D. C. Webb, and W. G. Martin (Eds.), Transformational Change Efforts: Student Engagement in Mathematics Through an Institutional Network for Active Learning (Chapter 17, pp. 344-363). American Mathematical Society and Mathematical Association of America Press, and the Conference Board of Mathematical Sciences.

Tatto, M. T., Rodriguez, M. C., Smith, W. M., Reckase, M. D., Bankov, K. & Pippin, J. (2020). The First Five Years of Teaching Mathematics (FIRSTMATH): Concepts, Methods & Strategies for Comparative International Research. Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.

This book reports on an innovative study into the first five years of mathematics teaching: FIRSTMATH. For the first time, the study has developed a viable methodology to analyzethe knowledge, skills, and dispositions of beginning mathematics teachers as well as instruments to explore the contexts where they work. The book provides a step by step account of this exploratory (proof-of-concept) research study, using a comparative and international approach, and introduces readers to the challenges entailed. The FIRSTMATH study promises the development of methods and strategies to make it possible for teacher educators and future teachers to examine (and improve on) their own practices in an important STEM area.

As a co-authored book, most of us took the lead on at least one chapter; I wrote the observation chapter and co-wrote the first and last chapters.

Tatto, M. T., Smith, W. M., Rodriguez, M. C., Reckase, M., & Bankov, K. (Eds.) (2018). Exploring the Mathematical Education of Teachers Using TEDS-M Data. Switzerland: Springer.

This book uses the publicly available TEDS-M data to answer such questions as: How does teacher education contribute to the learning outcomes of future teachers? Are there programs that are more successful than others in helping teachers learn to teach mathematics? How does the local and national policy environment contribute to teacher education outcomes? It invites readers to explore these questions across a large number of international settings.

As a member of the editing team, I co-wrote the section introduction chapters. I also co-authored two of the research study chapters: one focused on teacher beliefs and the other on opportunities to learn.

Martin, W. G., Lawler, B. R., Lischka, A. E., & Smith, W. M. (Eds.) (2020). The Mathematics Teacher Education Partnership: The Power of a Networked Improvement Community to Transform Secondary Mathematics Teacher Preparation. Volume 4 in B. Benken (Ed.), Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators Professional Book Series. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

This book relates how a national Networked Improvement Community (NIC) has been working together on improving secondary mathematics teacher preparation. The Mathematics Teacher Education Partnership formed in 2012, and operates as a NIC, with members working collectively in research action clusters, as well as locally on program transformation efforts.

As a member of the editorial team, I helped to write four chapters and the section introductions; I led the writing team for the chapter about the Active Learning Mathematics Research Action Cluster.

Belief Statement

The work of mathematics teaching and learning needs to acknowledge the role instiutional racism has on the past and present inequitable student outcomes at all levels. Mathematics education researchers have a moral obligation to focus on equity and social justice, and to ensure our collective work helps to reduce inequitable outcomes in mathematics, and to help people use mathematics to advance social justice. Such work needs to be focused on the overall complex system and cultural contexts as well as finer-grained individual experiences and issues. I believe learning needs to actively engage the learners, and that it is time to revitalize how we educate people to become mathematics teachers. Preservice teachers need longer classroom internships, and more mathematics classes specifically designed for teachers; preservice teacher education should align with the 2017 Association of Teachers of Mathematics' Standards for the Preparation of Teachers of Mathematics. At the undergraduate level, instructor preparation and teaching should align with the MAA's Instructional Practices Guide. Mathematics teachers need to have very strong mathematical knowledge for teaching, knowing mathematics, teaching, and students deeply. Mathematics teachers need to see mathematics as inter-connected, and to intentionally support students in making those connections. Mathematics teachers need well-developed mathematical habits of mind, and the goal of teaching mathematics should be to help students develop these habits of mind of mathematical thinkers. I see the overall goal of mathematics education as being the tool to develop reasoning and sense-making in students, and to strive for more equitable student outcomes as mathematically literate individuals. It is important for elementary teachers to be trained as mathematics specialists, since elementary mathematics comprise so much more than learning to add, subtract, multiply, and divide.