Plenary Speaker Profile (2001)
James Sandefur
Professor of Mathematics
Georgetown University
Real World Applications are not the same as Meaningful Applications

Many holistic learners understand mathematics better when it is presented in a socially relevant context, such as drug use, health problems, and ecology. I will present several issue-oriented applications that I have used in introductory mathematics classes as a way to enhance learning for students with a wide range of learning styles. Included in the applications are sustainable management of renewable resources, problems related to alcohol consumption, and the relationship between Sickle Cell Anemia and Malaria. I will discuss issues related to the use of controversial topics in math and science classes, and how these topics can be used without omitting standard content. A source for classroom ready materials will be given.

James Sandefur has a Ph.D. from Tulane University and is a Professor of Mathematics at Georgetown University. Sandefur was the Principle Investigator on three National Science Foundation grants, the first being for summer teacher enhancement workshops for teachers in the Washington, DC area, the second being a teacher leadership institute, and the third being a materials development grant for college remedial mathematics courses. He is the author of two textbooks, Discrete Dynamical Systems: Theory and Applications and Discrete Dynamical Modeling, and has written numerous research and expository mathematics articles. Sandefur was on the 6-8 grade writing team for the NCTM's Principles and Standards for School Mathematics. He was a Program Officer with the National Science Foundation in the Instructional Materials Development Program. Sandefur is the recipient of the Georgetown University Sony Award for Excellence in Science Education, 1994 and 1997.