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Re: equity & diversity
Posted:
Jun 5, 1995 11:43 AM


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 metastudy, 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 microinequities (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 K12 girls. Their address is 4114 Computer & Space Sciences Bldg., Univeristy of Maryland, College Park, MD 207422461. 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 roitman@math.ukans.edu =====================================



