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News Feature
May 14, 2008
By Dr. Janet Bowers

GSDMC Awards Susan Nickerson 2008 Most Outstanding Mathematics Educator at the Post Secondary Level

Susan Nickerson
Dr. Susan Nickerson
Dr. Nickerson's nomination was supported by letters of recommendation from her current and former students, colleagues, and the chair of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Dr. Samuel Shen. The judges indicated that the letters all illustrated the inspiring impact that Dr. Nickerson has had on her students' interest in mathematics education and their understanding of the content as well. For example, one former undergraduate described how she was a "role model" for maintaining high standards in math class while supporting and caring for her students at the same time. A graduate student noted that "Dr. Nickerson has been the most influential force in my developing an understanding of the whole enterprise of mathematics education, from putting broad theory into practice, to being open to and making sense of student thinking, to accounting for issues of equity in the classroom. Even after working closely together for the past three years, I continue to learn from her in every interaction

One of the hallmarks of Dr. Nickerson's work is her focus on putting theory into practice. She has consistently served as the liaison between the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) and the University. For example, she served as PI on a million-dollar grant from the California Postsecondary Education Commission to help scores of local teachers gain mathematical competence and improve their teaching practice in order to become certified under the "No Child Left Behind" Act. She has also served as director for the SDSU-SDUSD tutoring program since 2002. This program pays technically-capable college student tutors to work with mathematics teachers in one or two local public secondary schools. The goals of the program are to support San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) mathematics teachers and SDUSD students and to provide experiences that encourage college students to consider high school mathematics teaching as a career. In recognition of the program's success, the Department of Mathematics and Statistics was given the 2007 Recognition Award from The Partnerships in Education Program sponsored by the San Diego Unified School District's Successful Partnerships program.

THE GREATER SAN DIEGO AREA MATH COUNCIL is a Volunteer group of San Diego County Educators, Stewards, who are committed to the advancement of mathematics appreciation and competency for all students in San Diego County, and beyond. This year, they have named Susan Nickerson as this year's Outstanding Mathematics Educator at the Post-secondary Level. The purpose of this award is to "honor teachers who inspire students of all backgrounds and abilities to higher achievement in mathematics." Dr. Nickerson will be honored at a GSDMC Banquet on Thursday, May 22.

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