Deborah Howard, professor of mathematics

D HowardAnother in our series of endowed chairs.

Deborah Howard, professor of mathematics, is using her Lockheed Martin Chair in Mathematics to remove “barriers to success using mindset interventions.”

She says “Student success in gateway mathematics courses depends as much on attitudes and beliefs as it does on content knowledge. Many students believe that they are either inherently good or bad at math. Many claim they have had negative experiences with math by expressing two statements: ‘Math is useless in my life,’ and ‘I can’t do math.’”

She believes that implementing social-psychological interventions can empower students to overcome these barriers.

Professor Howard’s goal with the award is to build connections with external researchers with expertise in psychological interventions (i.e. mindset and utility value), so she can learn how to best train gateway math faculty to apply these interventions with Valencia’s gateway math students.

“Mindset research by Carol Dweck has found that by teaching people that the brain’s ability to grow and adapt—like a muscle—means that you can actually train it to improve intelligence and skill. This research has resulted in increased performance among students and closing of achievement gaps between race and ethnicity. Additionally, Chris Hulleman and his colleagues (Utility Value Study) have found that when students are asked to reflect on the usefulness of their class material, it actually increases their performance and interest in the course.”

She plans to bring in external researchers to work with her and other front door mathematics educators to learn together about how to make use of these strategies at Valencia. The researcher will work with Valencia’s team by collecting data, creating a continuous implement cycle on how and when they should deliver these interventions.

The opportunity to influence student outcomes (i.e. decreasing course drop rates, increasing math interest, and increasing gateway mathematics course success rates) through the researcher-practitioner collaboration will be the highlight of this project. “The mindset and utility value interventions will provide us with the opportunity to facilitate potentially life-changing psychological interventions for our Valencia front-door mathematics students. For me, the potential to help Valencia College mathematics students with the opportunity to overcome past academic / psychological barriers is the first step forward in their academic and life pursuits.”

Ms. Howard was born in Sanford, Florida, and received her MS in Mathematical Sciences from UCF. Married to Vince Howard, she has two daughters. She has been with Valencia’s math faculty since 1994. She teaches at the east campus.

 

For more information on the group grant, see also http://bit.ly/1T1W63z (Valencia college’s blog post on the grant itself.)

2014-2015 endowed chairs

Congratulations to the 35 tenured faculty members who have been awarded a 2014 – 2015 Valencia Foundation Endowed Chair for Learning Leadership.

The Endowed Chairs for Learning Leadership program recognizes and promotes academic excellence at the College through honoring outstanding members of Valencia’s teaching faculty. In contrast to endowed chair programs at four-year institutions that aim to attract preeminent researchers, our program recognizes and supports Valencia faculty by providing resources needed for the advancement of instruction.
cat1 Jean Marie Fuhrman: Freeda Foreman Chair in Collaborative and Creative Problem-Solving

Richard Gair: Abe and Tess Wise Endowed Chair in the Study of the Shoah

Yolanda Gonzalez: Howard L. Palmer Chair in Foreign Languages
 
Albert Groccia: Raymer F. Maguire Jr. Chair in Mathematics

Mayra Holzer: Patricia Havill Whalen Chair in Social Sciences

Brian Macon: Lockheed Martin Chair in Mathematics

Kevin Mulholland: University Club of Orlando Chair in Humanities

Robin Poole: Wayne Densch Chair in Geriatrics

Lana Powell: John and Florence MacLeod Chair in Business

Jeremy Russo: Bank of America Chair in Business Management

Dimas Sanchez: Bank of America Chair in Business
 
Richard Sansone: Sue Luzadder Chair in Communications

Brenda Schumpert: Lockheed Martin Chair in Science

Irina Struganova: Lester N. Mandell Chair in Natural and Physical Sciences

cat2 Category II Recipients:
Joan Alexander: University Club of Orlando Chair in Advanced Computer Technology

Irma Berner Bell: South Chair in Communications and Engineering Technology

Karen Cowden: William C. Demetree Jr. Foundation Chair in Education for Special Needs
 
Suzette Dohany: Walt Disney World Chair in Film Technology
 
Edie Gaythwaite: Harry J. and E. Mary Hobbs Teaching Chair in Nursing

Lisa Gray: Dr. P. Phillips Foundation Chair in Free Enterprise

Heith Hennel: SunGard Endowed Teaching Chair in Computer Science
 
Deymond Hoyte: Valencia Foundation Board Chair for Interdisciplinary Studies

James Inglis: Central Florida Hotel and, Lodging Association Chair in Hospitality Management

Chris Klinger: Tupperware Corporation Chair in Community Quality

Adrian Manley: Valencia Foundation Board Chair for Interdisciplinary Studies

James McDonald: Cliff and Daisy Whitehill Chair in Legal Studies
 
Sarah Melanson: Rhymer F. Maguire Jr. Endowed Chair in Communications

Bonnie Oliver: SunTrust Chair in Economic Development and, Business Education
 
Pierre Pilloud: Hunton Brady Architects Endowed Chair in Hospitality Management

Yasmeen Qadri: Dr. P. Phillips Foundation Chair in Education for the Physically Challenged
 
Craig J. Rapp: Central Florida Restaurant Association Chair in Restaurant and Food Service Management
 
Andrew Ray: Hubbard Construction Company Chair in Technical and Engineering Programs

Jolene Rhodes: Raymer F. Maguire Jr. Teaching Chair

Suzanne Salapa: Universal Orlando Chair in Arts and Entertainment

Pamela Sandy: Ira Vinson Henderson Chair in Nursing and, Allied Health