On March 28th, 2019 Dr. Blake Peterson received the Benjamin Cluff Jr. Excellence in Educator Preparation award. Educator Preparation is the work to teach future K-12 teachers.
Dr. Peterson has been the chair of the Department of Mathematics Education since 2014. Since then he has been very involved in recruitment. He said, “My focus is on preparing 7-12 mathematics teachers. Because of my current assignment as department chair, I have not been teaching future teachers much and my role is more with recruiting majors or working with accreditation issues across campus.”
Dr. Peterson says, “Starting when the missionary age changed in the fall of 2012, we saw a 30% drop in the number of mathematics education majors. We thought those numbers would rebound after a couple of years, but the timing of the missionary age change coincided with an improved economy which often correlates with a nationwide decline in the number of university students majoring in education. Because of this, I have worked for several years to establish a marketing and recruiting program for our department. This program has been in place for 2 years and we feel the department and major have become more visible on campus. It is still too early to know the long term impact of these recruiting efforts.”
He has also been involved on campus wide committees focused on Educator Preparation. This led him to be a part of the CAEP accreditation self-study writing committee and on a committee that is sponsoring events to recruit students into all of the teacher education programs.
When asked what he thought excellence in education meant, he said, “I think of a mathematics teacher who views all of his students as capable of learning mathematics and sees teaching as facilitating learning and not dissemination of facts. An excellent mathematics teacher also creates opportunities for students to be intellectually engaged in reasoning and sense making. Students are then given opportunities to share their thinking and that thinking becomes the focus of the class conversation leading to mathematical understanding. It is important to love mathematics and love studying how people think about mathematics.”
Dr. Peterson felt honored to receive the award because “there are many excellent professors on campus who are very committed to the preparation of teachers.”
To learn more about Dr. Peterson and the award click here.
Who is Benjamin Cluff, the person after whom the award is named? Learn more here: https://vimeo.com/122690930)