A Michigan Section Project NExT

The MAA's Project NExT (New Experiences in Teaching) is a program for new or recent PhDs in the mathematical sciences who are interested in improving the teaching and learning of undergraduate mathematics. A goal of the project is to support faculty in the early years of an academic career and expose them to a broad range of issues that are of special relevance to beginning faculty. These issues include the use of alternative methods of teaching and assessing student learning, using technology in the classroom, writing successful grant proposals, balancing teaching and research, and issues of promotion and tenure. The project is funded by the Exxon Education Foundation.

The MAA Strategic Plan in Action encourages the development of Project NExT-like experiences in the MAA Sections to support faculty who are new to the profession and have been unable to participate in Project NExT activities at the national level. The MAA views the establishment of local Project NExT programs also as a mechanism to encourage new faculty to become and remain actively involved in the MAA and in the profession more generally. The current award from the Exxon Education Foundation includes funding to help Sections establish programs.

Whereas the Indiana, North Central, Southeastern, and Texas Sections have NExT-like programs already in place, the initiative for the Michigan Section is very much in the planning stage, and it is not clear yet how a Michigan Project NExT might prosper. There are currently nine National Project NExT Fellows in Michigan, and some have expressed their willingness and even enthusiasm for working on establishing a Michigan Project NExT.

I am writing this article to find out how much interest there is among Section members in establishing a NExT-like program in Michigan. If you are a recently hired new faculty member and are interested in this project, please send me your name and address and write me a short note explaining how actively you want to be involved in this. If you know faculty colleagues who should be interested in this, please inform them of this opportunity and send me their names and addresses. I would particularly like department chairs to spread the word to their new faculty and send me their names and addresses.

More information on the MAA's Project NExT, with links to the NExT-like activities of other sections, is available at http://archives.math.utk.edu/projnext. The Annual Meeting of the Michigan Section on May 7-8 at EMU will have a session for interested faculty to meet and discuss goals and strategies for establishing a project NExT for the Michigan Section. Please look for it in the program schedule.

Margret Höft, UM-Dearborn

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