As a student, Dr. Alice Artzt loved math. But she didn't love high school, and she certainly never envisioned going back there. She went to Queens College and majored in her favorite subject, math. As graduation approached, her friends and boyfriend Russell, a fellow math major (now husband of 41 years), pointed out that she is a 'people person' and encouraged her to try a math education course. The first day of class, her professor asked, "Why do you think it is important for people to learn math?" Alice couldn't answer the question, but the search for an answer led her to a distinguished career in Mathematics Education.
Alice completed her B.A. in Mathematics with a minor in secondary education, taught high school, got an M.S. in Mathematics Education, had a family, and completed a Ph.D. at NYU. Along the way she made good friends, and was invited back to her alma mater, Queens College to teach, first as an adjunct then as a full-time professor. She found that while math teachers are in high demand in the school system, she couldn't enroll a full class of undergraduate mathematics education majors. Looking for a solution, she wrote a proposal to the National Science Foundation for a grant to offer a comprehensive mathematics education program for undergraduates. It took three tries, but in 1997, "Time 2000" was funded by the NSF. The program offers scholarships, an innovative curriculum including the psychology of learning mathematics, which Alice teaches to all entering freshmen, special sections of mathematics classes with distinguished mathematicians, and a supportive environment leading to careers in math education. The program is now in its twelfth year, and Alice says it is a lot easier for students to enroll in a class and get placements after graduation. Despite the Department of Education's hold on hiring, which has created challenges, most of the class still found jobs last year.
In addition to teaching, running "Time 2000," and pursing her own research, Alice has written two influential books with her friends and colleagues: How to Use Cooperative Learning in the Mathematics Class (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics; 2nd edition, June 1, 1997) with C.M. Newman, and Becoming a Reflective Mathematics Teacher (Rutledge; 1 edition, September 1, 2001) with E. Armour-Thomas, and her NYU classmate Fran Curcio, Ph.D. ‘75. She has a new book with Alan Sultan called The Mathematics That Every Secondary Math Teacher Needs to Know (April 2010) coming out with Rutledge press.