A passion for math and a passion for teaching students are what drive Dr. Gail Tang.
As University of La Verne assistant professor of mathematics, Tang is excited to share her love of mathematics with her students and she is striving to constantly improve her teaching skills so that her students get the best education possible.
She now has an opportunity to expand her knowledge and learn how to be an even more effective educator thanks to a spot in the Project NExT (New Experience in Teaching) professional development program for only 80 new or recent doctorates in the mathematical sciences, which is part of the Mathematical Association of America. Tang was accepted as a 2013-2014 fellow in the program and will have the opportunity to interact with other NExT fellows.
“The fellowship is centered on building collaboration and community among colleagues, balancing research and teaching, and how to engage students in mathematics,” Tang said.
After receiving encouragement from Chair of the Department of Mathematics Dr. Michael Frantz, Tang decided to apply for the fellowship and is now extremely grateful for his support.
“He continues his support and has really been instrumental to my development as a teacher-scholar,” Tang said.
Because of this new opportunity, Tang has already connected with a fellow mathematician who studies mathematical biology and is excited to develop new teaching ideas that will help further elevate the academic quality of La Verne and her colleague’s institution.
“I hope to contribute to our growing national reputation through my participation in the fellowship, where I’ll learn to write grants and to use mathematics as a way to empower students to be life-long learners and socially responsible citizens,” Tang said.
Tang will have the opportunity to learn more about a variety of teaching techniques such as inquiry-based learning, which allows students to seek out answers on their own as opposed to receiving answers, and mathematical writing courses in which students evaluate, formulate, and present arguments.
“Our shared experiences will help me understand that failures and frustrations are natural in the path toward success in the classroom, at the university, and in life,” Tang said.
Following next year Tang, as a NExT Fellow, will have the opportunity to share her first or second year university experiences with other new mathematics faculty.
“It’s always exciting for me to share newly-gained knowledge,” Tang said.