306 Avery Hall
Department of Mathematics
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Lincoln, NE 68588-0130
Yvonne Lai is an expert in the field of Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching. Her current research program seeks to improve the education of secondary mathematics teachers and early mathematics majors by bridging disciplinary perspectives from mathematics and education. She has been an investigator or co-investigator on projects receiving a total of nearly $8M in funding. Her collaborators include those from The Algebra Project, the Educational Testing Service, and the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities. Lai currently chairs the MAA’s Committee on the Mathematical Education of Teachers, and she founded the MAA's Special Interest Group on Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching, an organization with now over 200 members, to support mathematics faculty invested in teacher education. She is Vice Chair of the Board of the Mathematical Foundation of America, which oversees the Canada/USA Mathcamp for high school students, where she was previously an instructor and a student. She received, with Aron Samkoff and Keith Weber, the 2012 Janet Duffin Award from the British Society for Research into Learning Mathematics. Her PhD from University of California, Davis, was in hyperbolic geometry and geometric group theory (supervised by Misha Kapovich), and she held postdoctoral positions in the Department of Mathematics (with post-doctoral mentor Dick Canary) and subsequently the School of Education at the University of Michigan (with Deborah Ball and Hyman Bass).
Areas of interest: Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching, Secondary Mathematics Teacher Education, Practices of Proof and Reasoning
Mathematical interests: Hyperbolic Geometry, Geometric Group Theory
- College of Arts & Sciences Strategic Priorities Grant: Understanding the experiences of underrepresented students in 300-level mathematics courses. Bennett, A. (PI), Lai, Y. (co-PI). Grant period: 2022-2023.
- NSF DRK-12: Investigating the Role of Collaboration on the Development of Student Ideas using a Learning Progression for the Function Concept. Graf, E. (Educational Testing Service) (PI), Crombie, W. (Algebra Project), DeLeon, C. (Young People’s Project), Eames, C. (Southern Illinois State University-Edwardsville), & Lai, Y. (co-PIs). Grant period: 2020-2024. Total $3,733,791.
- NSF IUSE: Collaborative Research: Using Networked Improvement Communities to Scale Up Program Transformation for Secondary Mathematics Teacher Preparation (NIC-Transform Scale Up). Martin, G. (lead PI) & Strutchens, M. (Auburn University) (co-PI); Smith, W. (PI), Lischka, A. (Middle Tennessee State University), Lai, Y., & Lawler, B. (Kennesaw State University) (co-PIs). Grant period: 2022-2026. Total $3M distributed across institutions.
- NSF IUSE: Collaborative Research: Mathematics of Doing, Understanding, Learning, and Educating for Secondary Schools (MODULES2). Anhalt, C. (PI) & Aubrey, J. (co-PI) (University of Arizona), Casey, S.A. (PI) & Ross, A. (co-PI) (Eastern Michigan University), Gobstein, H. (PI) (Association of Public and Land-grant Universities), Kohler, B. (PI) (University of Utah), Lai, Y. (PI)*, Strayer, J. (PI) (Middle Tennessee State University). Grant period: 2017-2022. Total $1,999,344 distributed across #DUE-1726707, 1726804, 1726252, 1726723, 1726744, & 1726098. *Research Lead
- NSF BCECR: Development of Research to Inform the Design and Improvement of Mathematics Education for Teachers. St. Goar, J. (PI), Lai, Y. (Senior Personnel). Grant period: 2020-2022. Total $50,661.
- NSF INTERN Supplement to NebraskaNOYCE Phase II: SWIRLS: Scratch Work Illuminating Representations and Learning for Students in High-need Districts. Smith, W. (PI) & Lai, Y. (co-PI). Grant period: 2018-2019. Total $49, 986 (#DUE-1747937)
- Nebraska Department of Education Math and Science Partnerships : Nebraska Partnership TEAMS: Teaching to Enhance Achievement in Math and Science. Smith, W. (PI), Arthurs, L., Heaton, R., Homp, M., Lai Y., Lewis, E., Males, L., Searls, M., Thomas, A., & Thomas, J. (co-PIs). Grant period: 2017-2018. Total $1,000,000.
- Building Understanding and Measurement of Secondary Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching (MKT). Principal Investigators: Heather Howell, Yvonne Lai, Geoffrey Phelps.
- NebraskaNOYCE Phase II: Investigating the Impact in High-Need Districts. Principal Investigators: Wendy Smith, Yvonne Lai, Jim Lewis, Lorraine Males.
- NebraskaNOYCE: NSF Mathematics Teaching and Master Teaching Fellows Program. Principal Investigators: Jim Lewis, Yvonne Lai, Lorraine Males, Wendy Smith, Steve Swidler, Ira Papick (former co-PI), David Fowler (former co-PI), Douglas Kauffman (former co-PI).
- NSF Infrastructure Grant (2011-2014). Savitt, D. (PI), Snyder, N., Duchin, M., & Lai, Y. (co-PIs). Canada/USA Mathcamp: Research in Pairs and Scholarships for Students (#DMS-1135049, $76,608.00)
- NCTM/NSF International Travel Grant for ICME-11 (2008). Awarded to ∼30 mathematicians, educators, and graduate students nationwide for travel to the 11th International Congress on Mathematical Education in Monterrey, Mexico.
Past project affiliations:
- Developing the Theory of Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching by Investigating its Nature, Measurement, and Growth. Principal Investigators: Mark Thames, Hyman Bass, Deborah Ball, Laurie Sleep.
- Teaching Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching (K-8): Adapting Local Materials for Use in Diverse Institutions and Settings. Principal Investigators: Hyman Bass, Mark Thames, Laurie Sleep.