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Topic: Missing Math Experts - Fac. Positions in Maths. Educ.
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Jerry P. Becker

Posts: 13,619
Registered: 12/3/04
Missing Math Experts - Fac. Positions in Maths. Educ.
Posted: Mar 13, 2013 7:35 PM
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From INSIDE HIGHER ED, Wednesday, March 13, 2013. See
http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/03/13/survey-shows-demand-still-outstrips-supply-doctorates-math-education
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Missing Math Experts

By .Carl Straumsheim

Amid a national push to improve math and science education, a new
study shows college and universities report they can't fill faculty
positions that focus on math education.

The number of unfilled positions has been halved since the study's
authors last explored the topic in 2006, but institutions surveyed
during the 2011-12 academic year still reported they were unable to
fill about one-quarter of their job openings. The study will appear
in the April 2013 edition of the American Mathematical Society
publication Notices.

"[W]hile there is not the excess of jobs for doctorates in
mathematics in institutions of higher education that there has been
in the past, there are still jobs for doctorates in mathematics
education that were unfilled," the survey reads.

Robert Reys, one of the co-authors of the study, said he was
surprised the job market hasn't fared worse. Reys has followed
developments in the job market for doctorates in math education for
more than a decade, and said this year's survey was timed to measure
how the field has changed after the recession led state legislatures
across the country to trim their higher education budgets.

Beyond the evidence suggesting institutions are still actively
searching for instructors in math education, Reys, who is professor
emeritus of math education at the University of Missouri at Columbia,
said the actual number of unfilled positions is likely to be higher
still. The survey only looked at hiring announcements that were
published on a national scale, and did not take into account regional
and junior colleges.

"I think it's an underestimate," Reys said. "There are a lot of jobs
that may be going unfilled, and we just weren't able to capture them
in the methodology that was used."

Reys, along with co-authors Barbara Reys and Anne Estapa, identified
82 institutions between Sept. 2011 and April 2012 that listed 94
available tenure-track positions -- 90 percent of them at the
assistant professor level. The positions were about evenly split
between openings in math and education departments, with a handful of
joint appointments.

The study suggests faculty mobility between institutions has buffered
the field against some of the repercussions of the recession. Of the
73 hires made during the academic year, 36 involved experienced
faculty members.

While more than half of openings in math departments offered salaries
in the $50,000 to $60,000 range, salaries offered in education
departments were mainly split between the $50,000 to $60,000 and
$60,000 to $70,000 ranges. Reys credited the gap not just to the
different types of institutions hiring new professors in math
education, but also to the fact that institutions have begun to value
prior teaching experience.

Reported Salaries for New Hires in Math Education, 2011-12 Academic Year

Salary Range ..............Education..............Mathematics.........Joint
................................Department/College.....Department.....Appointment

$40,000-50,000.....................2
...................................9........................0
$50,001-60,000...................20..................................25.......................3
$60,001-70,000...................23....................................6........................1
$70-001-80,000.....................4....................................5........................1
Above
$80,000......................2....................................0........................0

"Most of the people in math education have done teaching in K-12
schools prior to working on their doctorate," Reys said. "Departments
are sensitive to having classes that are taught by people who have
been involved in teaching."

Education departments were more successful in their hunt for
professors, filling 82 percent of their positions compared to 72
percent for math departments. The size and focus of the institution
also proved important factors affecting hiring success; baccalaureate
colleges, larger master's programs and research universities were
less successful than smaller master's programs and doctoral
universities.

Available Positions and New Hires in Math Education, 2011-12 Academic Year

Carnegie Classification.....Total No. of Positions.....Percent of
Successful Searches

Bac/Diverse: Baccalaureate
College -- diverse
fields........................1.................................0

Bac/A&S: Baccalaureate
Colleges -- Arts &
Sciences..................2..............................50 %

Master's S: Master's Colleges and
Universities (smaller programs)............2...........................100 %

Master's M: Master's Colleges and
Universities (medium programs)...........1................................0

Master's L: Master's Colleges and
Universities (larger programs)...............27..........................78 %

DRU: Doctoral/Research Universities....5........................100 %

RU/H: Research Universities
(high research
activity).............................26..........................65 %

RU/VH: Research Universities
(very high research
activity)....................22..........................95 %

Other................................................................8

Total...............................................................94..........................77
%

Reys partly attributed the unsuccessful searches to the fact that
about half of the graduates from doctoral programs in math education
never join the job market, instead returning to institutions they
were on leave from or -- in the case of international students -- to
their countries of origin. Over the past 15 years, Reys said only
about 50 fresh doctorate recipients have joined the job market per
year.

"I think that contributes to the shortage," Reys said. "We just need
to be able to recruit. The job opportunities are there."

But Reys also said that some institutions, mindful of ongoing budget
crunches, may have set artificially high standards for their
applicants to meet -- that they are holding out for a dream applicant
who may not exist in a narrow field of candidates.

"I know that some institutions weren't able to get the person that
they wanted, so they would ... hold off and wait until next year,"
Reys said.

******************************************
--
Jerry P. Becker
Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction
Southern Illinois University
625 Wham Drive
Mail Code 4610
Carbondale, IL 62901-4610
Phone: (618) 453-4241 [O]
(618) 457-8903 [H]
Fax: (618) 453-4244
E-mail: jbecker@siu.edu



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