Public Release: 

Kristin Umland receives 2017 AMS Impact Award

American Mathematical Society

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IMAGE: Kristin Umland has received the 2017 AMS Award for Impact on the Teaching and Learning of Mathematics. view more

Credit: Photo courtesy of Kristin Umland.

Kristin Umland, Vice President for Content Development at Illustrative Mathematics, has received the 2017 AMS Award for Impact on the Teaching and Learning of Mathematics. Umland is honored for her outstanding work toward improving mathematics education at the precollege level, especially her role in the development of the nonprofit organization Illustrative Mathematics (at https://www.illustrativemathematics.org/).

"Kristin Umland has worked with energy, vision, and commitment on improving mathematics education at the precollege level," said Tara Holm of Cornell University, who served as chair of the Impact Award selection committee. "She brings high-level mathematical knowledge together with deep understanding of the needs of school mathematics teachers. Her work at Illustrative Mathematics makes quality materials available to millions of teachers and also serves as an effective means for professional development. We are happy to recognize her outstanding work with the AMS Impact Award."

For almost two decades, Kristin Umland was on the faculty of the Mathematics and Statistics Department at the University of New Mexico. While there, she made major improvements in the mathematics courses for both elementary and secondary pre-service teachers, adding rigor as well as more-relevant material. She has also been deeply involved in supporting the national K-12 mathematics community in the transition to the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics (CCSS-M).

Since 2011, Umland has been one of the driving forces behind Illustrative Mathematics, working together with its founder, William McCallum of the University of Arizona, the leader of the CCSS-M writing team. The vision of Illustrative Mathematics is to construct an open online resource, created by a community of mathematicians, mathematics educators, and teachers, that illustrates how the new standards could be implemented. Umland has been instrumental in forming a community of 100 editors and 550 reviewers who have created over 1200 highly vetted tasks illustrating the standards. In 2016, she left the University of New Mexico to work full-time on Illustrative Mathematics, where she today serves as Vice President for Content Development.

The public success of Illustrative Mathematics, measured by its use around the country, is staggering: The website sees 170,000 sessions per month (on average) with 5,000 to 10,000 sessions per day. Since 2012, illustrativemathematics.org has had over 4 million visitors viewing tasks over 14 million times.

What makes this effort so valuable is not just the final product of a powerful resource for millions of educators in the U.S., but also the process of creating and working with the tasks, which serves as highly effective professional development for hundreds of educators. Umland has contributed deep mathematical knowledge and a hands-on approach, making her one of the outstanding mathematics educators working in the nation today.

The official announcement of this award, including the selection committee's citation, is available from the AMS Public Awareness Office and will appear in the May 2017 issue of the Notices of the AMS at http://www.ams.org/journals/notices/. No subscription is necessary.

Find out more about this and other AMS awards at http://www.ams.org/profession/prizes-awards/prizes.

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Founded in 1888 to further mathematical research and scholarship, today the American Mathematical Society fulfills its mission through programs and services that promote mathematical research and its uses, strengthen mathematical education, and foster awareness and appreciation of mathematics and its connections to other disciplines and to everyday life.

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