Rachel Kenney receives College of Science teaching award


Rachael Kenney

Rachael Kenney is the recipient of the 2012 College of Science faculty award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Teaching by an Assistant Professor.

Professor Kenney earned a Ph.D. in mathematics education from North Carolina State University in 2008 and began her appointment as Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Curriculum and Instruction in fall 2008. Since arriving at Purdue, she has been a major contributor to the redesign and resurgence of the mathematics education program. She has taken leadership in conducting major overhauls of two courses that comprise the pedagogical core for all math licensure candidates: EDCI 42500 (Teaching Math in Secondary Schools) and EDCI 42600 (Teaching Math in Middle and Junior High Schools). Her goals for teaching these courses focus on engaging students as reflective developers of their own knowledge. She uses discussion, small group student-centered activities, and student presentations as methods for formative assessment for identifying the needs of her students. She continues to revise and revamp these courses every semester.

Professor Kenney's research agenda informs her teaching. Her areas of interest all relate to the teaching and learning of mathematics: (a) students' and teachers' conceptual understanding of mathematics, (b) use of technology for working with symbolic expressions in mathematics, and (c) students' and teachers' anticipatory and reflective practices in learning and teaching mathematics. Her work in these areas has been presented at national and international conferences.

Her research at Purdue has been supported by a "Discovery Learning Research Center 2010 Faculty Research Fellowship" and by a "Service, Teaching, and Research (STaR) for Early Career Mathematics Educators Fellowship" sponsored by the National Science Foundation (2010-11). This research is highly interdisciplinary in nature; her collaborators include experts in mathematics, mathematics education, industrial engineering, English education, special education, research methodology, and computer science. Her contributions to diversity include serving as a research consultant from 2004-09 with the U.S. Department of Education funded Bright IDEA-2 project, a 5-year $2.5 million R&D teacher enhancement project for promoting K-2 gifted and talented minority students.

Professor Kenney's contributions to graduate education include active involvement in the development of the Purdue Ph.D. and Masters programs in Mathematics Education. She was a key player in the development of the "Mathematics Education Research Colloquium," a joint effort of Purdue Mathematics and Mathematics Education faculty, which has brought prominent researchers to Purdue for a series of presentations. In 2010-11, she coordinated and was the primary writer for a large-scale national accreditation of the Mathematics Education program, College of Education. Since 2009, she has served as liaison between the Purdue Mathematics Department and Lafayette Jefferson High School for the Concurrent Credit Mathematics program.