Katyal named fellow by AMATYC
Palm Beach State College Associate Professor Anurag Katyal is among six in the nation selected to participate as a fellow in a Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) initiative being piloted by the American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges.
The AMATYC received a $305,100 grant from the National Science Foundation to launch Project SLOPE, a program that supports fellows as they conduct a SoTL project that is motivated by their teaching experiences. The pilot cohort, chosen after a competitive process open to faculty nationwide, will participate in hybrid faculty learning to support one another both online and in person and attend a Project SLOPE workshop this summer and AMATYC national conferences this year and next year. They also will share the outcomes of their research in 2020 with the AMATYC community.
“We are excited to have Professor Katyal as a Project SLOPE Fellow,’’ said Megan Briet-Goodwin, coordinator of the initiative. “He brings a positive energy to this effort and is a reflective teacher who asks important questions about student learning. He genuinely cares about student experiences in math. We look forward to working with Professor Katyal as he conducts a SoTL project.”
The initiative is a collaboration between AMATYC, Anoka-Ramsey Community College, Florida International University and Portland State University. It stems from AMATYC’s desire to create more research opportunities for community college faculty. “We wanted to start a research program for community college faculty to look at questions about teaching and learning in their classes,’’ Breit-Goodwin said. “We’re under-researched and questions that I would consider germane to two-year colleges aren’t really being asked in mainstream research. Our goal is to do something that will make a positive impact on instruction and student learning.”
Katyal, who began teaching at PBSC as an adjunct professor in 2010 before becoming full time at the Boca Raton campus in 2017, said he’s pleased to be selected. “It’s an honor to be selected for a National Science Foundation-funded research project. It provides me a professional outlet for seeking mentorship from other faculty who have done research in the classroom and changed their practices for the better. Ultimately, the students will be better off and will gain the most benefit from such research studies.”
Katyal will formalize his research focus over the coming months, but he said it may center around his new approaches to teaching College Algebra, Intermediate Algebra, Precalculus and Discrete Math and other courses. He approaches his courses in an inquiry-based learning format, choosing not to lecture to students but instead engage them in solving math problems on their own at the onset of class sessions.
However, formal research will help him determine whether those methods are effective. He will ask questions about the relationship between his teaching and his students that are unique to the context of his classes and will bring insights to the first two years of college mathematics.
“The research that we’re engaging in is on what are the most effective ways of teaching and why they work,’’ said Katyal, who holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in math from Florida Atlantic University. “I want to create better problem solvers. I want students to be able to think on their own and think critically.”
To learn more about the American Mathematical Association visit www.amatyc.org.