Elizabeth Thoren Honored with MAA’s 2023 Section Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics
Elizabeth Thoren, assistant professor of teaching of mathematics at Seaver College, was recently honored with the Mathematical Association of America’s (MAA) 2023 Section Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics and has subsequently been nominated for the national MAA's Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics.
“What I appreciate is that my colleagues can think positively enough about my work and can point to things concretely enough that it would garner me an award like this,” says Thoren. “It feels significant that other people notice that you’re doing something well and appreciate it enough to put energy into recognizing it.”
Thoren, who teaches a wide variety of math classes at Seaver College, fosters a unique and collaborative learning experience in her classrooms. Rather than viewing her courses as an opportunity to instill information in others, she attempts to discover mathematical truths alongside students in each of her classes.
“When I think about my classrooms, I really want it to be a space where I’m working with my students, and we are collectively moving mathematical ideas forward,” Thoren says. “That’s a shift from saying, ‘I’m going to share ideas I know with my students…’ I’ve worked hard in my career to position my students so that they can contribute to the classroom – so that their contributions can be leveraged – and so that it seems like we are doing the work together.”
Thoren’s distinct pedagogical approach to teaching, which has developed throughout her 15-year career as an educator, caught the attention of her colleagues and the MAA and resulted in her nomination by section chair Brian Katz of California State University, Long Beach.
“The MAA Southern California-Nevada Section recognizes Elizabeth as a skilled and effective educator who is deeply committed to building classroom communities, as someone who helps students find joy and creativity in mathematics that they may not have experienced before, as a leader in our regional mathematics communities, and as a passionate and impactful professional developer who loves thinking with other educators about improving our practice,” reads the MAA’s official announcement regarding Thoren’s achievement. “We are honored to present her with the Section Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics.”
Visit the MAA’s website to learn more about Thoren’s honor, read their official statement regarding the award, and monitor her progress as a Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics nominee.