Louise Hay Award

2011 Winner: Patricia Campbell


In recognition of her leadership and contributions in research, teaching, and service to mathematics education, the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM) presents the Twenty First Annual Louise Hay Award for Contributions to Mathematics Education to Professor Patricia Campbell of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Maryland College Park.  Throughout her career, Dr. Campbell has engaged and challenged her students, university colleagues, professional colleagues, school administrators, and classroom teachers to advance the teaching of mathematics.

As a leader in the field of mathematics education, Dr. Campbell is esteemed especially for her contributions to the teaching and learning of mathematics in urban settings and for working in schools that serve predominately minority populations from low-income backgrounds.

Dr. Campbell has worked in schools to improve student learning for two decades.  From 1989-1997, she led Project IMPACT, a professional development effort that demonstrated the feasibility of school-wide mathematics reform, supplementing summer professional development with in-school mathematics specialists in order to increase achievement in schools with predominately minority populations.  In 1996, after hearing about Dr. Campbell’s work at an NSF Conference, Dr. Andrea Bowden, Supervisor of Science, Mathematics and Health Education for the Baltimore City School System, invited Dr. Campbell to collaborate in developing the MARS Project (Mathematics: Application and Reasoning Skills), This systemic effort addressed a complex set of problems besetting Baltimore’s public schools, targeting poor student achievement through system-wide teacher development in mathematics. With Dr. Campbell as the Principal Investigator, the MARS Project was awarded a five million dollar grant through the NSF Local Systemic Initiative program.

In her letter of support for Dr. Campbell’s nomination for the Louise Hay award, Dr. Bowden wrote, “The MARS program began as a professional development effort, but quickly grew to encompass a complete revamping of elementary mathematics.  This included policy changes, reallocation of fiscal resources, development of K-5 curriculum and assessment aligned to state and national standards, implementation of an effective instructional model, training of mathematics instructional support teachers based in schools, and the adoption of a textbook and resources that supported MARS.  … Between 1996 and 2001, 3,355 teachers from 105 elementary schools participated in quality professional development of 10 to 100 hours with 1,508 teachers completing over 60 hours.  Nearly 68,000 K-5 students in Baltimore City Schools used the new and engaging MARS elementary curriculum.  Between 1998 and 2001, Baltimore City elementary students showed dramatic increases in scores in all grades on CTBS [California Test of Basic Skills] with students in classes of the most highly trained teachers exhibiting the most gain…. For the first time in nearly 20 years, urban children in Baltimore City were at or near national norms in mathematics! … It is difficult to capture the magnitude and to do justice to Dr. Campbell’s incredible devotion of time, energy, expertise, and commitment.”

Through Dr. Campbell’s current research, she continues to pursue her efforts to ensure quality education for all children.  As part of the research component of The Mid-Atlantic Center for Mathematics Teaching and Learning, Dr. Campbell leads a research project that is poised to assess the impact of Grade 4-8 teachers’ knowledge of mathematics and mathematics pedagogy on student achievement. Her current work in the area of mathematics leadership at the elementary level builds on her prior efforts and her evaluation of the work and role of elementary mathematics specialists will contribute significantly to the research in this area.

Dr. Campbell is active in national organizations serving the profession and speaks widely to disseminate the findings of her research.  In the letter from Francis (Skip) Fennell, Past President of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), Professor Fennell highlighted some of Dr. Campbell’s activities on the national level.  “She was elected to and served as a member of the NCTM’s Board of Directors from 1996-1999, she directed the Council’s Research Catalyst Conference and served as a member of the Editorial Panel for the 2007 Yearbook entitled The Learning of Mathematics.  She has also served on the Council’s task force on Teaching and Learning Mathematics in Poor Communities.  Dr. Campbell served as Co-Chair of the Executive Board of the American Educational Research Association’s Special Interest Group on Research in Mathematics Education.  In this role she was instrumental in the planning and staging of NCTM’s Research Presession.”

Dr. Campbell’s service to public and national organizations has not diminished her service to the university. She is an active and highly respected member of her Department, the College of Education, and the University. As a teacher, mentor, and colleague, Dr. Campbell has gained the appreciation of her students and colleagues for her commitment, skill and energy for the cause of mathematics education and for challenging them to think more deeply about the tough issues they must confront. She has served in various capacities on both the College Park Campus Senate and the College of Education Senate. She understands the importance of senior faculty mentoring new colleagues and participating in the deliberations about curriculum, programs, and policy. Over the course of her career Dr. Campell has been the advisor for 11 students who have completed the doctorate and 49 students who have completed a master’s degree. Currently she serves as an advisor to 6 doctoral students and 5 master’s students.

It is a very great pleasure to honor Dr. Patricia Campbell with the 2011 Louise Hay Award for her career achievements– as a teacher, researcher, and in service to the mathematics education community– in furthering the cause of mathematics education on behalf of all elementary school students.

Response from Patricia Campbell:

I must admit that I was more than a little surprised when I learned that I was to receive the Louise Hay Award from the Association for Women in Mathematics. I am especially honored to accept this recognition from an association committed to enhancing equity in opportunity and treatment in the mathematical sciences at all levels. As a high school and undergraduate student, I never experienced bias because of my gender. Instead I benefited from skilled and thoughtful teachers who patiently answered all the questions that a naïve student from a town of 122 people could ask and who introduced me to this intriguing field where a miserable memory for names and dates did not matter because you could always connect ideas and figure things out. And, while I was aware that there were many more males than females in my graduate mathematics and statistics courses, by then I had decided that that did not matter either. The key was simply to work hard and to keep asking lots of questions.

While in graduate school, I found that what intrigued me most were not questions addressing the content and nature of mathematics, but rather mathematics teaching and the interplay between mathematics teaching and learning. As my research in mathematics education progressed, I became more conscious of the fact that I was one of the lucky ones. My rural upbringing had not hindered me, in part because two amazing high school teachers had prepared me for college mathematics and in part because my parents were adamant that their children would go to college, even though it meant that any future grandchildren would probably not be raised near them. But too many students are not lucky. They endure persistent inequities in schooling and in support, as evidenced by the disparities in educational outcomes that plague students in urban and poorly resourced communities. And so, over time, I joined with colleagues to seek funding to pursue a simple-to-state idea: What would happen if we applied what we think we know from research addressing the teaching and learning of mathematics to the reality of public schooling, investigating the impact of systemic efforts to stimulate and support change with existing teachers in urban settings?

While I have written and spoken about this work, it is not only mine. Project IMPACT benefited from the insightful and persistent efforts of Tom Rowan, Honi Bamberger, Brenda Hammond, Josie Robles, Anna Suarez, and Patricia Cartland Noble. The MARS Project would have collapsed multiple times if not for the skill and knowledge of Andrea Bowden, Melva Greene, Marilyn Strutchens, Sheila Evans, Joyce Wheeler, Jeannette Davis, and Florencetine Jasmin. These individuals and too many others to name worked tirelessly to intercede with administrators and to forge collaborations with teachers in order to advance a single intent: expecting and supporting children’s efforts to make sense of mathematics. I have been fortunate to learn from and to work with these dedicated educators.

While these efforts to impact student achievement were successful, they also highlighted how little we apply of what we do know and how much we do not know. We do not understand what aspects of teachers’ mathematical content knowledge really matter when it comes to advancing student understanding and achievement, as well as what knowledge of mathematical pedagogy a teacher needs to draw on when teaching. We know very little about how to support pre-service and in-service teachers’ efforts to develop accessible and usable knowledge about mathematics and mathematics teaching and learning, knowledge teachers call upon when they teach. This work is underway, and much of it involves mathematics education researchers who are collaborating with mathematicians and with school district mathematics supervisors.

On behalf of those whose passion for mathematics fuels their collaboration across their differing disciplinary perspectives, as well as those who accomplished so much in Project IMPACT and the MARS Project, I gratefully accept this award with much appreciation.