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IMPACTful Thought - Focus on Collaboration

By Nancy Sattler posted 01-30-2022 13:49:53


Focus on Collaboration: History of the National Mathematics Summit

Back in 2012, developmental mathematic redesign movement was sweeping the country.  Faculty across the country were wondering what the impact would be in their classrooms.  At the National Association for Developmental Education (NADE) conference held in Orlando that year, Paul Nolting and Hunter Boylan, then director of the National Center on Developmental Education (NCDE), discussed a possible joint summit with AMATYC. They knew that there were many parts of the puzzle and that there was a need to bring experts from different organizations together to share ideas.  At the NADE conference in 2013, AMATYC President Jim Roznowksi, Paul Nolting, and then NADE President Rebecca Goosen decided that a pre-conference summit should be held in conjunction with the AMATYC national conference in Anaheim, CA in October of 2013.

During 2013, experts from NADE, AMATYC, NCDE, Carnegie Foundation, Charles Dana Center, Mathematical Association of America (MAA), and Paul Nolting met through email and conference calls to discuss how to best meet the needs of developmental mathematics faculty.  They decided that the national summit would have sessions to share how instructors successfully implemented developmental mathematics reform and provided information on the initiatives that had been developed by AMATYC, Carnegie Foundation, The Dana Center, and others. The pre-conference also offered attendees time to meet presenters to discuss issues related to the implementation of reform at their institutions.  The planning group hoped that 50 people would attend the first national mathematics summit on developmental mathematics.  One hundred participants attended the event and there was a waiting list of another hundred. The first summit was deemed a great success and plans were underway for a second summit.

 When the 2nd NMS was held as a pre-conference activity to NADE in March of 2016, I was part of the planning team.  The focus of the summit was shifted from reform in developmental mathematics to help with redesign in both development and college-level courses.  Because of the success of the first summit, plans were made to have a maximum of 300 attendees; about 250 people attended. There were two tracks: expert help with redesign and data and assessment of redesign.  Attendees worked with a mentor.  At the end of the summit, participants were asked if they would attend a third summit. About half of the attendees said that they would attend another summit.  Although the initial plan was to have two summits, the planning team decided to continue with a third summit.

To gain input from mathematics teachers from across the nation, the planning team had a session in the fall of 2016 at the AMATYC conference in San Diego.  About 90 people attended the session to give feedback on what they would like to see in a third summit. The feedback was analyzed and helped shape the program for the next summit

The 3rd NMS was held in November 2018 in Orlando prior to the AMATYC Conference.  Annette Cook (NADE), Paul Nolting, Julie Phelps, and Nan Sattler became the four co-chairs of the summit. The name was changed to the “Third National Mathematics Summit: For Math in the First Two Years of College” to be more inclusive.  Uri Treisman of the Charles A. Dana Center keynote address "Curriculum Modernization in Turbulent Times: A Search for True North” was well received.  Approximately 250 people attended the event.  Participants were surveyed and stated that they wanted the summit to continue. Carnegie Math Pathways transitioned to Carnegie Math Pathways/West Ed and they remained partners.

The planning of the 4th NMS was done by an experienced team, all of the partners returned.  The summit was delayed a year as NADE shifted to NOSS (National Organization for Student Success). It was originally scheduled for February 2021 as a pre-conference at NOSS Vegas. The date was changed to June of 2021 in the hope the conference could be held in person.  That did not happen.  The 4th NMS was held virtually. The keynote address by Dr. Jenna Carpenter “Turning Lemons into Lemonade: Pandemic-Fueled Opportunities for Reforming Entry-Level College Mathematics” began with the question “How do we reform entry-level math?” Jenna suggested that we admit students for ability, not background; build rich and engaging entry points and alternative pathways for students; create a culture where all students belong; believe in our students and show them that we do; and educate ourselves about systemic inequities and their impact on both K-12 and higher education.  A few of the sessions planned for the "in-person" summit were held virtually following the keynote.  Other presentations were held as webinars throughout the year. Still others were earmarked for the next in-person summit that would be held prior to the NOSS conference in Atlanta in 2022.


In planning the 5th NMS, the partners were expanded to include Achieving the Dream.  All members of the planning team from the 4th summit returned. The 5th NMS will be held in person as a pre-conference activity to the NOSS conference in Atlanta on March 16 and 17.  Registration is still be accepted at  AMATYC’s own Julie Phelps, chair of the AMATYC Standards Committee will be giving the keynote address.  Both Julie and Paul Nolting have been a part of every one of the national math summits, quite an accomplishment! 


I am excited to attend the 5th NMS.  The program for the summit is available at  When you view the program, you will see that many AMATYC members will be presenting.  If you are interested in learning more about active learning, providing a supportive learning environment for your students, mathematical rigor, high-quality mathematics pathways, equity, co-requisite models, student success, placement, and/or use of Open Educational Resources (OER) then the 5th NMS is for you!


You might also consider attending the NMS-sponsored webinar with Maria Andersen and Fred Feldon “Increase Engagement ad Authentic Assessment in Online Classes” to be held on February 15.  I will be moderating the conversation. This event is being publicized by the partners of the NMS.  You can register to attend at



You have an opportunity for some outstanding professional development during February and March.  I have met some awesome people by being involved in the National Mathematics Summits held in the last 9 years. The collaboration between organizations is amazing!  I invite you to participate in the discussions being held in IMPACT Live! and to attend both the NMS-sponsored webinar and the 5th NMS. We can learn so much from one another!