Press Release

SAN LUIS OBISPO

Thanks to a $2.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation, Cal Poly’s Academy of Inquiry Based learning (AIBL) is able to provide professional development opportunities for math instructors across the country regarding increasing inquiry-based learning (IBL) in their classrooms. Research has shown that active learning reduces math anxiety by focusing on the process of doing mathematics, rather than just memorization. AIBL will provide workshops where instructors learn the practical aspects of implementing IBL in their classrooms. At the workshops instructors learn teaching strategies for active learning, have individual concerns addressed, and create personalized material by developing course materials to be used in the subsequent semester.

During President’s Day weekend, teams of facilitators for the 2016 Summer Inquiry Based Learning workshops traveled from across the country to meet and plan for the upcoming workshops at Cal Poly. Each summer workshop is assigned a team of facilitators of 4 to 5 workshop leaders, along with a support team. These teams will train other math instructors on how to implement IBL methods in their own classes. These teams worked collaboratively through the weekend, using data and participant feedback collected from past workshops to plan research-based best practices and quality content for this summer’s workshops. Emphasis was placed on ample opportunities for these colleagues to collaborate on their particular topics, and on the big ideas for the workshops.  

Teams include faculty from the Upstate New York IBL Consortium, Cal Poly, DePaul University, and Augustana College. Additionally a representative from Westfield State University attended to collaborate on developing shorter (half-day and full-day) workshops.
* Patrick Rault, SUNY Geneseo
* Jane Cushman, SUNY Buffalo State
* Ryan Gantner, St. John Fisher College
* Xiao Xiao, Utica College
* Yousuf George, Nazareth College
* Kyle Petersen, DePaul University
* Brian Katz, Augustana College
* Chrissi von Renesse, Westfield State University
* Danielle Champney, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
* Todd Grundmeier, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

The evaluation team from the University of Colorado Boulder, Sandra Laursen and Chuck Hayward, attended the meeting to share evaluation results from previous workshops and summaries of the research basis for the IBL workshop model and the evidence for IBL at the college level.  

Additionally Madison Parker, AIBL Administrative Coordinator, and Stan Yoshinobu, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, AIBL Director organized and coordinated the event with an experienced team of workshop leaders, Dana Ernst, Northern Arizona University, Angie Hodge, University of Nebraska Omaha, Carol Schumacher, Kenyon College, and Matthew Jones, Cal State Dominguez Hills

Participants of the summer workshops are college math instructors and professors new to IBL.  This year, 65% of the 60 participants are from minority-serving institutions. Research has shown that Inquiry Based Learning is especially effective at mitigating the achievement gaps typical in math courses within minority groups and women. The Academy of Inquiry Based learning conducted a significant recruitment effort in the winter of 2015 to encourage faculty from minority-serving institutions to attend the workshop.