Senior Personnel & Resources

An interdisciplinary group of outstanding and highly productive faculty will operate this training program. Each faculty member brings essential substantive and/or methodological expertise to the program. In the last five years, these faculty members have supervised 12 PhD graduates. Appendix A provides a summary listing of faculty projects and a list of recent graduate placements.

Mitchell NathanThe director of the training program will be Mitchell J. Nathan, professor of Educational Psychology (Learning Sciences), with affiliate appointments in Curriculum and Instruction and in Psychology. Dr. Nathan is Director of the Center on Education and Work at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. His research is rooted in cognitive, embodied, and social aspects of mathematical learning and teaching behavior in and out of classrooms. He employs quantitative and qualitative research methods, such as experimental design, survey design, think-aloud reports, design-based research, video analysis, eye tracking, and verbal and gesture-based analyses of learner and teacher discourse. Dr. Nathan’s work is directed at both basic research on intellectual performance, learning, instruction, and at applications of that work to curriculum development, teacher education, and staff development. His work appears in numerous scholarly journals, including Scientific American: Mind, Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, ZDM – International Journal on Mathematics Education, Mathematical Thinking and Learning, Cognitive Science, Journal of the Learning Sciences, Cognition and Instruction, Educational Psychologist, Human Development, Journal of Engineering Education, and American Educational Research Journal, as well as The Routledge Handbook of Embodied Cognition, and The Cambridge Handbook of the Learning Sciences (Second Edition). Over the past 20 years, he has secured over $20M in external research funding on learning, mathematical thinking, STEM education, and teaching. His research is supported by grants from the US Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences, the National Science Foundation, and the James S. McDonnell Foundation. Further information about Dr. Nathan’s current research can be found here,

Several other core faculty make up the fellowship program senior personnel.

Martha AlibaliMartha W. Alibali is professor of Psychology (with an affiliate appointment in Educational Psychology). Alibali’s research addresses three major themes: (a) mechanisms of knowledge change in the development of mathematical reasoning, (b) the role of visual scaffolding (including gestures, diagrams, and other inscriptions) in instructional communication, and (c) the role of gesture in perceptual and spatial thinking. She has served as PI or Co-PI on several multiyear grants, and her work is currently supported by the National Science Foundation (REESE). Alibali received the Robert L. Fantz Memorial Award from the American Psychological Foundation, which honors a young investigator in the area of cognitive development. She is a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science.

Amy EllisAmy Ellis is associate professor of mathematics education in Curriculum and Instruction. Ellis studies students’ reasoning, particularly as it relates to mathematical generalization, justification, and proof; and to the development of algebraic thinking. Her current research is supported by three NSF-funded projects that focus on (a) examining the ways in which classroom environments influence students' mathematical generalizations, (b) studying students' inductive and deductive reasoning about problems in mathematics and the natural world, and (c) analyzing state assessment data to study girls’ and boys’ performance on mathematics items. Ellis was recently awarded the AERA Early Career Publication award in mathematics education for her work on the connections between generalization and justification in algebra.

Charles KalishCharles Kalish is professor of Educational Psychology (with affiliate appointments in Psychology and at the Waisman Center). Kalish studies inductive inference and categorization. Most of his research focuses on preschool and early school-aged children. Current research projects concern the development of conditional probability judgments, inductive reasoning in the domain of mathematics, and the role of norms in early social cognition. His work is supported by grants from the National Science Foundation (DLS, DRM, and REESE). Kalish has held a NEA/Spencer postdoctoral fellowship and was a visiting professor at New York University and at the University of California–Berkeley. He is currently coordinator of the UW–Madison Cognitive Science Cluster and the School of Education undergraduate certificate in Education and Educational Services.

Eric KnuthEric Knuth is professor of mathematics education in the department of Curriculum and Instruction. Knuth focuses his research on the meaningful engagement of students in mathematical practices and the design of curriculum and instruction that fosters the development of increasingly sophisticated ways of engaging in these practices. He focuses on such practices as justifying and proving mathematical claims and using algebraic representations appropriately, flexibly, and efficiently to model and solve problems. He has been and is currently a PI or co-PI on several multiyear, federally funded grants. His work has been published in leading education research journals, including Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, Cognition and Instruction, and Journal of Mathematical Behavior. He was the recipient of an NSF Early Career award. He recently completed a 3-year term on the Research Committee of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and is currently chair of the AERA Special Interest Group for Research in Mathematics Education.

Peter SteinerPeter M. Steiner is an assistant professor in the department of Educational Psychology and is affiliated with the Interdisciplinary Training Program in the Education Sciences, and the Center for Demography and Ecology at UW. His research program focuses on methodological questions about the causal inference with experimental and quasi-experimental designs, including propensity score matching designs, interrupted time series designs, and regression discontinuity designs. He regularly applies these designs and corresponding analyses to educational data, either in the context of methodological within-study comparisons or in collaboration with substantive researchers evaluating educational interventions. His work is regularly published in well-known journals (e.g., Journal of the American Statistical Association, Psychological Methods, Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics).

Anita WagerAnita Wager is an assistant professor of mathematics education in the department of Curriculum and Instruction. Wager's research focus is on broadening notions of teaching mathematics for understanding by incorporating the cultural and socio-political contexts in which children live and learn. She is particularly interested in professional development for teachers to develop culturally relevant and responsive mathematics pedagogy by drawing on the rich mathematical resources from students’ homes and communities. She is the PI for an NSF funded grant to study professional development for culturally relevant teaching and learning in 4K (preschool) mathematics. As part of this grant she is also studying how young children learn mathematics through play. She employs ethnographic and case study methods. She was recently awarded the early career publications award from the Research in Mathematics Education SIG of AERA for her manuscript, “Incorporating out-of-school mathematics: From cultural context to embedded practice,” published in the Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education