IBL Workshop Leaders


Danielle Champney

Danielle Champney is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. She teaches a range of classes, including lower and upper division math courses (from calculus through the Math Education capstone course), masters level Education courses on mathematics pedagogy, problem solving courses for incoming freshmen, and engineering courses on project-based learning for future teachers. Additionally, she works closely with the Cal Poly Development Office to cultivate partner-school relationships throughout CA, aimed at strengthened the STEM pipeline from high school, through Cal Poly, and into industry, particularly for underrepresented groups of students in STEM. She has taught with IBL methods for over a decade, at university and community college, and routinely hosts professional development opportunities for middle and high school teachers and administrators throughout the state aimed at helping them adopt IBL and Active Learning in their classrooms. 

Outside of mathematics, Danielle enjoys hosting board game nights for friends and students, and summertime spent at Loon Lake, WA, with family.

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Jane Cushman

Jane Cushman started as a high school teacher in Texas. While working on her Masters in Mathematics at Texas State University in San Marcos, Jane decided that working at the college level seemed more rewarding. She applied and attended The University of Texas in Austin, where she taught many classes for the UTeach program.

The UTeach classes were problem-based and inquiry-based. Since then, the classes that she has taught to pre-service teachers have been problem-based and inquiry-based.

In Summer of 2009, Jane attended an IBL-Prep workshop lead by Michael Starbird and Carol Schumacher to develop an inquiry approach to Modern Geometry (the first non-pre-service course she would teach). Since then, she has been involved with the Upstate New York IBL Consortium and most recently, PRODUCT.


Volker Ecke

Volker Ecke loves being in the midst of learning and teaching. He feels that it is truly a gift to be present when students discover new connections, when they apply their understanding to new situations, when they integrate new insights with prior understanding, and when they learn to trust their abilities to approach a new situation with curiosity and confidence.

Dr. Ecke is grateful to the academic community at Westfield State College for allowing him to practice and constantly refine this art; grateful for his colleagues for giving him the freedom and support to dive deeply into this inquiry himself; grateful to his students for inspiring him in co-creating and living in a learning community.

After undergraduate studies in mathematics and physics at the Universitaet Konstanz (Germany), Dr. Ecke earned a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He has been spending his professional career at a public university in the Northeast.

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Dana Ernst

Dana Ernst is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, AZ. He began teaching via inquiry-based learning about 10 years ago and attended an IBL Workshop during the summer of 2010.  He is currently a Special Projects Coordinator for the Academy of Inquiry-Based Learning and a mentor for several new IBL practitioners. Moreover, he has been facilitating IBL Workshops and giving talks on the benefits of IBL as well as the nuts and bolts of how to implement this approach in the mathematics classroom since 2012.  Dana has taught several IBL courses including: Calculus, Problem Solving, Introduction to Proof, Number Theory, Abstract Algebra, and Real Analysis. In particular, he has designed course materials for three of these courses, namely: Problem Solving, Introduction to Proof, and Abstract Algebra.  The latter two are available as open-source textbooks.

In addition to mathematics, Dana's passions include cycling and rock climbing. He has competed in self-supported ultra-distance bikepacking races such as the Colorado Trail Race and the Arizona Trail 300.  Dana is also rather fond of coffee.

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Ryan Gantner

Ryan Gantner teaches at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, New York.  The IBL course he has taught the most times is Real Analysis, taught as a two semester sequence.  But he's tried many other courses as well, with various degrees of IBL intensity.  If there is a choice between an “easy way” and a “hard way” to go about something, he always seems to find himself going about it the hard way, though that isn’t my intent.  He often teaches very small courses, often with fewer than 10 students in it, which is fantastic but brings its own challenges.  When he's not at work, he is spending time with his family.

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Yousuf George

Yousuf George is in his 10th year of teaching at Nazareth College, a small liberal arts college in Rochester, NY. He is now the Associate Dean for the College of Arts and Sciences, Chair of the Foreign Languages Department, and occasionally they still let him teach some math classes. :)

His colleagues in the Math Department are absolutely wonderful to work with, and all of them are fully committed to IBL in all of their classes. They have worked together on developing course notes and activities for all of the classes the department offers. IBL is definitely a way of being for students and faculty alike at Naz, and they would not have it any other way!

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Todd Grundmeier

Todd has been a faculty member at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo since Fall of 2003 and has used IBL in some manner during all of his years of teaching.  He has significant experience using IBL in mathematics for elementary teacher courses and undergraduate Euclidean geometry and Non-Euclidean geometry.  He has also taught an IBL Methods of Proof course and he uses group work regularly to encourage engagement in Calculus. 

He has been involved with the PRODUCT grant since the beginning and look forward to the workshops every summer.

When not teaching or leading workshops, he has recently taken up rock climbing (indoors only) and he tries to find time to get out to the golf course.

Jess Ellis Hagman

Jess Ellis Hagman is an Assistant Professor at Colorado State University where she does research on undergraduate mathematics education (especially calculus) and teaches a variety of undergraduate mathematics courses, including Calculus, Introduction to Proofs, Abstract Algebra, and Euclidean and non-Euclidean Geometry. She uses IBL methods in all of these courses, and believes this is not only the best way to support students in developing rich mathematical meanings, but it also is way more fun than only lecturing! In fact, she uses IBL methods is any teaching she does, including summer teaching in Costa Rica, math camps for middle schoolers, and during the IBL workshops (very meta). 


This will be her third year as an IBL workshop facilitator, and she always looks forward to learning more with and through the participants. Besides teaching and researching, Jess loves to play outside - trail running, surfing, swimming in open bodies of water, hiking, rafting, & biking - and hanging out with her animals - cats, chickens, ducks, and turkeys, oh my!


Theron Hitchman

TJ Hitchman is an Associate Professor of Mathematics at University of Northern Iowa. His professional interests include geometry and topology (especially knot theory), inquiry-based learning, and undergraduate research. He has taught with IBL methods for over a decade and has served in many service roles in the IBL community. Currently he is on the editorial board of the Journal of Inquiry Based Learning in Mathematics.

Outside of mathematics, TJ enjoys soccer, 3D modeling, and telling ridiculous stories with his children.

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Angie Hodge

Angie Hodge works at Northern Arizona University in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. She has been using inquiry-based learning in both mathematics and mathematics education courses since 2007. Her IBL specialty is in Calculus I and Calculus II. She has also used IBL in professional development for teachers and summer camps for middle school girls.

She loves trail running, traveling, and enjoying the outdoors on sunny days.



Phil Hotchkiss

Philip Hotchkiss has been teaching college mathematics since 1994 and at Westfield State College since 1998. His most formative mathematical experiences as a student came when working in small groups. It was in these small groups that he really discovered his love for mathematics and teaching. These small groups helped foster his mathematical curiosity and helped form the basis for his belief in Inquiry-Based Learning (IBL).

When Philip began teaching, he used the traditional lecture style in his classes since he didn't know any other way to teach. Through his work with colleagues at previous institutions and involvement in Project NExT (New Experiences in Teaching, a program for new and recent PhD's in Mathematics) he slowly began to experiment with collaborative learning and other non-traditional teaching methods. Upon arriving at Westfield he started to learn more about IBL and now uses it almost exclusively in all his classes.

Philip really enjoys the closer interactions with his students and the opportunities for deeper mathematical understanding that the inquiry classroom provides. Not only does he believe this has made him a better teacher, it has also made him a better mathematician.

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Matt Jones

Matt Jones is Mathematics Department Chair and Associate Director of the Center for Innovation in STEM Education (CISE). He has taught more than a dozen different classes at the undergraduate level using Inquiry-Based Learning

His research is in mathematics education and in inquiry-based learning, and he has led workshops for more than 200 teachers and more than 100 college instructors. He has 14 peer-reviewed journal publications, and he is or has been PI or Co-PI on grants totaling over $5 million.

 He is married with two daughters, and enjoys Legos, playing guitar, and dancing.

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Brian Katz

Brian Katz (or BK) is an associate professor of mathematics at Augustana College and serves on the boards of PRIMUS, MAA's Classroom Resources Materials, AMS Blog inclusion/exclusion, IBL SIGMAA, and Augustana's Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program. BK is trained as an algebraic geometer and researches questions of disciplinary epistemology in the context of mathematics, inquiry-based classrooms, and pre-service secondary teachers. BK teaches a wide range of courses with IBL, from Calculus to Modern Geometry to a course called Tools of inquiry, in which students learn to ask and explore their own mathematical questions.

In addition to teaching and research, BK loves to sing, watch and discuss movies, and hang out with kittens, and get philosophical or meta.


Gulden Karakok

Gulden Karakok is an Associate Professor at the School of Mathematical Sciences of the University of Northern Colorado. She teaches variety of mathematics courses (e.g., Linear Algebra, content courses for future teachers) for undergraduate students and mathematics education courses (e.g., cognition, research methods) for graduate students. She co-directs the Northern Colorado Math Circles program that aims at enhancing problem-solving knowledge and skills of local 4th-8th grade students and teachers in an inquiry environment. She was introduced to inquiry-based teaching practices at an Emerging Scholars workshop she attended as a graduate student. Since then she implements such teaching practices in all of her courses.


Amy Ksir

Amy Ksir is a professor of mathematics at the United States Naval Academy, where she has been on the faculty since 2003.  She started using occasional active learning and inquiry (though not calling it that) in 1997 as a graduate TA at the University of Pennsylvania.  The amount of inquiry in her courses increased (though not steadily) through her postdoc (SUNY Stony Brook), assistant and associate professor years.  Since 2012, every course she teaches is an IBL course; these have included Calculus 2 and 3, Introduction to Proof, Modern Algebra, and Real Analysis.  

Amy is a leader of the Maryland - DC - Virginia IBL consortium, and the secretary / treasurer of the IBL SIGMAA.  In her free time she enjoys playing folk music on oboe and accordion, and singing, especially with her spouse and two kids.

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Sandra Laursen

Sandra Laursen, Ph.D., leads the evaluation team for the PRODUCT workshops. She is senior research associate and co-director of Ethnography & Evaluation Research (E&ER) at the University of Colorado Boulder (www.colorado.edu/eer ), where she leads research and evaluation studies focusing on education and career paths in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. She has been hanging out with IBl people for over a decade, investigating student outcomes of IBL mathematics classes, professional development of math educators on IBL teaching, and the formation and growth of the IBL community. She is also interested in the visibility and representation of women and students of color in the sciences, career development of STEM professionals, teacher preparation, and organizational change in higher education.  

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Kyle Petersen

Kyle Petersen is an Associate Professor at DePaul University, where in
2016 he won the College of Science and Health Excellence in Teaching
award. Before working at DePaul, Kyle was a postdoc for three years at
the University of Michigan. He earned his PhD from Brandeis

Kyle has been using IBL in his teaching since 2006, when he
participated in a four-day workshop led by Stan Yoshinobu. Kyle uses
IBL in all his teaching, most often courses such as: Calculus,
Introduction to Proofs, Combinatorics, and Math for Elementary
Teachers. He is a prolific writer, with over 30 math research articles
and two books, including, “Inquiry Based Enumerative Combinatorics:
One, Two, Skip a few… Ninety-Nine, One Hundred.”

Kyle first worked as staff at an IBL workshop in 2010, and has served
as local host for DePaul’s 4-day workshop since 2017.

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Patrick Rault

Patrick completed a Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin in 2008, and earned tenure at the State University of New York's College at Geneseo.  He began using IBL there early on, and grew to co-found the Upstate New York IBL Consortium (UNY IBL).  In 2016 he moved to the University of Arizona, where he started using IBL in distance courses as the director for a mathematics distance program.  In 2018 he moved again, to the University of Nebraska Omaha, where he now serves as the Dr. George M. Haddix Community Chair in Mathematics.

He is currently engaged in the creation of and support of many more Regional IBL Communities and serves as the AIBL's Special Projects Coordinator for these communities.  Patrick sees IBL as part of an undergraduate research spectrum, and also chairs the Council on Undergraduate Research's Math & Computer Science Division.  Patrick has served as a workshop facilitator for AIBL since 2016.

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Elizabeth Thoren

Elizabeth first became involved with IBL teaching as a graduate student teaching assistant at the University of Texas at Austin.  After earning a PhD in 2009, she spent six years at University of California, Santa Barbara as part of their Center for Inquiry and has been teaching at Pepperdine University since 2015.  She has taught a spectrum of lower division courses using IBL, from honors courses geared towards first-year math majors, to general education courses for non-STEM majors, and foundational courses for future elementary teachers.  Elizabeth also served as a guest Associate Editor for the PRIMUS special issue on Teaching Inquiry.  

In addition to teaching math, Elizabeth also loves cooking, baking for friends, and taking her kid for a tricycle ride.

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Christine von Renesse

Christine von Renesse uses inquiry techniques in all her classes, believing that this is the most effective and enjoyable way of learning and teaching. Her students learn to take responsibility, to think independently and to enjoy the endeavor of challenging questions with growing confidence. In the mathematics courses for future K-12 teachers she brings her students into the classrooms, collaborating with the teachers in finding effective ways to explore mathematics together.

Christine has a Master's Degree in Elementary Education, a Minor in Music and a Master's Degree in Mathematics from the Technical University Berlin, Germany. After receiving her Ph.D. in Mathematics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, she is now a professor at Westfield State University.

In her free time Christine loves to explore nature, sing in harmony and go dancing, especially with her daughter.

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Xiao Xiao

Xiao Xiao has been working at Utica College in upstate New York since 2011 and is currently an associate professor of mathematics. He attended the SPIGOT IBL Workshop in San Luis Obispo, CA in 2013 and started to implement IBL in his classes. After that, he never turned back to lectures.

He has taught many classes using IBL including Math for Liberal Arts, Precalculus, Calculus, Linear Algebra, Introduction to Proof, Abstract Algebra, Real Analysis and created some IBL notes for these courses. He has run two national IBL workshop in 2016 and 2017 and has run a number of regional IBL workshops in the past few years.

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Nina White

While finishing her PhD in pure mathematics, Nina White's interests pivoted towards teacher education. She works now as a teaching-focused faculty member in the Department of Mathematics at University of Michigan, coordinating and teaching their math content courses for future teachers. Since starting this position in 2013, she has helped to transform all of these offerings into IBL courses.

She also uses IBL as the director of the Wayne County Math Teachers' Circle ---a monthly problem-solving-focused meet-up for K-12 teachers in southeast Michigan. In addition to her work with future and in-service teachers, she helps run the Michigan Mathematics Center for Inquiry-Based Learning by offering an annual 3-day IBL workshop for interested faculty members, post-docs, and graduate students at UM and nearby institutions.