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LSRI and MSCS Welcome B2F Scholar

Both the LSRI and the Department of Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science (MSCS) welcomed Bridge to Faculty (B2F) scholar Dr. Phi Nguyen to their respective rosters. Nguyen, a California native, arrived at UIC this semester. She received her PhD in Learning, Teaching and Curriculum, Mathematics Education, from the University of Missouri.

B2F is a recruitment program designed to attract underrepresented postdoctoral scholars with the goal of a direct transition to a tenure-track junior faculty position after two years. The recruitment initiative aims to attract and retain promising scholars to UIC as well as diversify faculty, with particular emphasis on departments with low or no presence of faculty who are underrepresented in their field. B2F uses a cohort model, where postdoctoral scholars participate together in meetings and tailored workshops to prepare them to teach, establish a research program and support their ability to pursue grants, and create productive mentor relationships.

Nguyen’s research interests lie at the intersection of mathematics (teacher) education and education policy and leadership, focusing on the policy and organizational contexts—school districts and teacher education programs—in which individuals (learn to) teach mathematics. Her work has appeared in various publications, including Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, Teachers College Record, Journal of Curriculum Studies, and Journal of Mathematics Education Leadership.

“I see myself as a scholar at disciplinary intersections, so a joint appointment between mathematics and learning sciences is a perfect fit,” said Nguyen. “In my teaching, I work to support students in engaging in the disciplinary practices that mathematicians engage in, and to interrogate their own assumptions about what mathematics and mathematical doing is.”

Nguyen said the works that has interested her the most thus-far in her young career was a paper recently published exploring how preservice mathematics teachers perceive their teacher education program as (in)coherent. She enjoyed experimenting with participant diagramming to elicit, represent, and analyze teachers' perceptions of coherence.

“At UIC, I'm hoping to build upon this research by investigating how coherence can positively support learning and designing for coherence, especially in collaboration with stakeholders from different departments and colleges that contribute to teacher education,” Nguyen said.

In spring 2024, Nguyen will be teaching a Learning Sciences course (LSRC 513), the doctoral course examining change in individuals and organizations. Next year, she’ll be teaching a course on elementary mathematics in the mathematics department.