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Professional Development for VITAL Faculty - A Pilot Program


This project builds on two successful professional development programs (MAA Project NExT and AMATYC’s Project ACCCESS) to bring transformative professional development to VITAL mathematics faculty previously underserved by our programs, which focus primarily on tenure-track faculty.

The acronym “VITAL” stands for Visitors, Instructors, TAs, Adjuncts, and Lecturers, however, we know that there is considerable variation in the naming of these positions. It will soon be a new MAA membership category intended for instructors employed at MAA Departmental Member institutions who are not included in the usual tenure and/or promotion process and whose compensation is not commensurate with faculty who are in those positions. Depending on the institution, this may variously include part-time instructors, non-tenure track instructors, and employees in other ancillary instructional positions.

Our proposed workshop will target faculty who teach in a single geographical region, and will feature two days of intensive in-person sessions followed by ongoing local support in the form of an online community with a discussion board and resource sharing as well as in-person meetings organized by local affiliates. The main goal is to help faculty actively engage with their mathematics students using research-based pedagogical strategies. By partnering with local faculty and targeting visiting, term-appointment, and adjunct faculty at two- and four-year institutions, we will serve a growing faculty population who in many institutions teach over half of all mathematics students. Through this approach we could expand the reach of previous professional development (PD) efforts that were limited in their scope largely by high travel costs.


Project Goals

  1. Bring the professional development to the participants, all of whom would hail from a limited geographical region (probably the Dallas-Fort Worth area).
  2. Foster a desire to learn about research-based teaching strategies and explore and implement active learning strategies in the classroom.
  3. Present and promote professional development teaching research-based active learning strategies.
  4. Model the active teaching strategies we promote through interactive sessions.
  5. Target previously under-served faculty including non-tenure track, visiting, and adjunct professors.
  6. Welcome faculty from both two- and four-year institutions.
  7. Promote the formation of a supportive cohort by including some unstructured networking time, and housing all participants for one night.
  8. Provide ongoing support as participants encounter teaching challenges, by partnering with local coordinators who manage continuing communication among the cohort. 

Project Team

  • Dave Kung, St. Mary's College of Maryland
  • Paula Talley, Charles A. Dana Center at The University of Texas at Austin
  • Rachel LevyMathematical Association of America


Support for this MAA program is provided by the National Science Foundation (grant EHR-1903992).