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Topic: equity & diversity
Replies: 7   Last Post: Jun 6, 1995 1:49 PM

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Posts: 243
Registered: 12/6/04
Re: equity & diversity
Posted: Jun 5, 1995 11:43 AM
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Mark Priniski's anecdote really hits home -- in graduate school I never
asked a question in class either, but got my friend Doug Miller to ask my
questions for me. This was back in the early 70's, but I guess things
haven't changed. In fact I know this from my own students. I'm a past
president of the Association for Women in Mathematics, a past editor of
their newsletter, and I still haven't a very good notion of how to deal
with this kind of thing in my classes, except to be encouraging (as Mark
was), to make more eye contact with women students, and to call on them
more often -- sometimes this helps and sometimes it doesn't. It's really
hard; we're fighting enormous societal pressures. My students tell me that
now the worst negative pressure isn't from faculty but from peers. I guess
that's some sort of progress, but peer pressure can be pretty devastating.
Any and all suggestions out there are welcome.

I had an interesting incident this spring, when I was teaching the
geometry/history for future high school teachers course. I had to be out
of town and asked a colleague to talk to the class about history of women
in math and the AAUP equity meta-study, and to show the tv clip of the
Sandler's work. When I collected journals the next week it was amazing how
many of the men in the class denied that (a) there was a problem, and (b)
it had anything to do with what they would do as teachers. "Why did she
tell us this garbage?" is a pretty good summary. The women on the other
hand were very positive, as were some of the men, who felt their eyes had
been opened. The most interesting response was from a guy whose fiance was
also in the class. He was very positive, and commented on the different
reception he and she got in their different math classes over the years,
from both peers and teachers.

Here are some resources:

The Mathematical Association of America has a book on micro-inequities
(whose name I characteristically have forgotten, but if you look in an MAA
catalogue you should be able to find it; the MAA address is Dolciani
Mathematical Center, 1529 18th St. NW, Washington, DC 20036). The
Association for Women in Mathematics has a newsletter which tends to focus
on other things but does periodically publish summaries of studies on K-12
girls. Their address is 4114 Computer & Space Sciences Bldg., Univeristy
of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742-2461. There is an organization called
Women and Mathematics Education based at Mt. Holyoke.

There are workshop templates that are helpful for intervention with girls
in math and science. One is the Sonya Kovalesky Days template from the AWM
-- this is just math. Another is a program out of EQUALS at the Lawrence
Hall of Science in Berkeley (zip: 94720) whose name I again
characterisically forget -- this is both math and science.

Other resources would be appreciated.

Judy Roitman, Mathematics Department
Univ. of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66049

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