I write this note with some sadness in my heart as I step down as the Director of the Kaput Center at the end of the 2014 fiscal year. Yet, I also have a positive tone in my mind that is harmonized by the amazing work that my colleagues have done over the past 7 years at UMass Dartmouth and beyond in pursuit of the mission of the Kaput Center.
I wish to keep my reflections brief yet thankful of the ongoing initiatives and successes. Over the past 7 years, I have worked with my colleagues to build a solid physical and human infrastructure to support research and innovation at the Center. But I have also seen an intellectual infrastructure organically evolve to establish a space for ideas to be generated, concepts to be deliberated and findings to be disseminated. This space has been helpful to undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, visiting researchers, local teachers, statewide leaders in education and leading scholars from around the world. You can find a treasure trove of artifacts at the Kaput Center website including software, curriculum, web-based resources, presentations and workshop materials as well as over 30 lectures from leading scholars in mathematics and science education.
This year we hosted two symposium which lasted between 1 to 1.5 days. We invited Professor Martin Simon from NYU and Professor Alan Schoenfeld from UC Berkeley. These events were largely organized by the Math Ed PhD students at UMassD with support from the Kaput Center. It was wonderful to have such amazing scholars at the Center to share with us the evolution of their thinking over three decades; lessons learned and guidance for the future. We also welcomed Dr. Heather Hill from Harvard speaking on her work that has received national recognition on mathematical instruction.
We successfully implemented a series of Research to Practice Institutes led by research scientists and associates in the Center, which were well received by teachers in the region. I hope this will grow in the future-maybe even go online-to broaden impact of our work in practical and meaningful ways.
There were many more wonderful moments this year including almost 100 young girls on campus engaged in mathematics and science activities as part of our Greenlight for Girls partnership and participation in STEM events around Massachusetts.
The educational research landscape is changing. Ideologies are changing. Federal and philanthropic support is changing. Policies are changing. From this, I can say we still have a lot of work to do as a field of educational researchers, of adventurers, of innovators, of change agents, of decision-makers. But what is more obvious for me is that as we aggregate knowledge from the past 50 years in mathematics and science education research it is time to start asking new questions; not modifications or extrapolations of existing questions but new questions that creates a new playing field for understanding the phenomenon of teaching and learning in the 21st century.
”One does not discover new land without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time”
– Andre Gide (1869-1951) Nobel Prize in Literature, 1947
I wish the very best for the Center’s continued and extended success in the future.
In the voice of Kaput and the sprit of Hegedus:
Stephen J Hegedus, PhD
June 30th 2014