Department of Mathematics

Advanced Teaching Assignments

Your teaching experience is an important component of your academic development, and several advanced teaching opportunities are available that may contribute to your growth as an instructor. You should discuss your career and academic goals with your advisor to if one of the following teaching opportunities is something you would like to pursue.

MTH 101 and MTH 102: Quantitative Literacy

Description - These courses satisfy the math graduation requirement but do not fulfill prerequisite requirements for other mathematics courses. This sequence is terminal, in that the courses are not designed to prepare students for further mathematics courses. These courses provide students with the opportunity to examine the world through a quantitative lens with a focus on demographics, the media, health and risk, science, economics, voting and politics, finance, and justice.

Teaching Role - It is important that these courses are taught by instructors who are comfortable with a non-traditional perspective of mathematics, as the course is designed to draw on mathematical and statistical reasoning to make sense of real-world problems. Relatively elementary mathematics is required, but it is applied in advanced ways, including in ways that foreground multiple perspectives, contradictory meanings, and diverse ways of knowing. In this course, the instructor will support critical thinking by asking effective questions and facilitating discussions, rather than by providing “right answers” or direct instruction.

Teaching Responsibilities - Each GTA will lead 2 recitation sections and will hold 2 office hours per week, which will be coordinated with other MTH 101/102 instructors and open to all MTH 101/102 students. Teaching in this course is collaborative and weekly instructor meetings are required. All recitation instructors are required to attend lecture, where they will help facilitate student-centered activities during lecture.

MTH 201 and MTH 202: Mathematics for Elementary Teachers

Description - These courses for preservice elementary teachers focus on the content of school mathematics from an advanced perspective. MTH 201 explores number, operation, and algebra, and MTH 202 explores geometry. These courses are different from other MTH courses in that they are specifically designed for preservice teachers, and are often the last MTH courses completed by preservice teachers majoring in Integrated Science, Language Arts, and Social Studies. In that sense, this sequence is terminal, in that the courses are not designed to prepare students for further mathematics courses.

Teaching Role - It is important that these courses are taught by enthusiastic instructors with a multi-faceted understanding of elementary mathematics so that the preservice teachers can have a positive experience with mathematics that prepares them, both in terms of content and disposition, to teach mathematics to their own students. This course is NOT a teaching methods course. You will not be expected to teach preservice teachers how to teach, but rather you will be helping them to develop as a learner and doer of mathematics, with a focus on how their understanding is related to elementary students’ developing understanding, so that they can carry that expertise into their future career.

Teaching Responsibilities - These courses are coordinated, but they are not uniform. While all sections will “cover” the same set of material, you will have significant latitude to decide how you will plan your teaching. You are responsible for writing all of the exams (often in teams), as well as any of the homework, quizzes, and projects that you will assign. You have much more instructional freedom while teaching MTH 201/202 than for uniform courses (i.e. MTH 124/132/133), but you also assume more responsibility to provide a quality experience to your students. This teaching experience may be useful if you plan on pursuing a career in a smaller mathematics department, where the department may view teaching similar service courses as a significant responsibility.

MTH 299: Transitions

Description- Undergraduate students pursuing a degree in mathematics, or a field that requires advanced mathematics, will take MTH 299 as a transition course from the calculus sequence into proof-based mathematics. Students will take this course before they take any algebra, analysis, or differential equations classes. This course introduced formal proof techniques (including logic, proof by contradiction, proof by induction, etc.), as well as a brief overview of more advanced topics such as linear algebra, abstract algebra, and real analysis.

Teaching Role - Instructors must be enthusiastic and ready to help students make the difficult transition to proof-based mathematics. This course is structured around the flipped-classroom paradigm, which may require an instructional adjustment, but also provides a unique experience. Students are expected to complete readings and watch instructional videos prior to class, followed by in-class group work to complete problem sets. The instructor will facilitate group work while providing individual and group instruction. In this course, it is important that students have an opportunity to co-create mathematical knowledge as they move towards more writing-intensive mathematics, so the instructional setting will draw on the expertise of the teacher not only about the content, but also about the process of coming to know mathematics.

Teaching Responsibilities - The course is coordinated and is uniform, with weekly problem sets and in-class exams provided to instructors. The instructor is expected to grade weekly homework sets and exams, which are proof-based, and provide detailed feedback. This grading maybe more time-intensive than grading for calculus courses. Instructors are encouraged to provide input and feedback for the problem sets, but they are not responsible for authoring any problem sets or exams on their own. This course has smaller class sizes than other courses, with a cap set at 22 students. This teaching experience may be useful if you plan on pursuing a career for which teaching advanced mathematics courses is likely to be a major responsibility, as well as careers for which teaching using innovative methods is likely to be important.


The Drew Science Scholars is a residential program for high achieving students underrepresented in the natural science/STEM fields. The program, a living and learning community, promotes student success through academic coaching (tutoring/mentoring), academic and career advising, and critical thinking/professionalism seminars. Instructors teaching DREW sections can be asked to participate in program meetings, parent orientation, and other activities a few times during the semester. The program features small mathematics classes for pre-calculus (MTH 103, MTH 116) and Calculus I (MTH 132) that meet 7 hours per week, even for 3- or 5-credit courses. The higher teaching load is offset by reduced MLC duties. The class environment is interactive with discussion, problem solving handouts, and board work. Instructors teaching these special DREW sections have freedom regarding homework assignments, quizzes, and midterms. DREW students, however, will still take the common final exam for the course.

These classes and additional resources help students gain a strong foundation in mathematics, chemistry, biology, and physics, and help students understand how related subjects are connected. The recitation sessions are assisted by a ULA, in addition to the instructor, to facilitate group work and provide individual help to students. Instructors teaching DREW sections work closely with a small cohort of students and have found this to be a very rewarding experience.

CHAMP - Cooperative Highly Accelerated Mathematics Program

Description- CHAMP, in partnership with the Department of Mathematics and Office of University Outreach and Engagement at Michigan State University, provides classroom instruction for qualified mathematically gifted students in grades 7-10. CHAMP is designed so that the participating students will complete, in two years, the math content assigned in Michigan High School Content Expectations (HSCE) for all four years of high school as well as meet the Common Core National Standards. In their first year of CHAMP, students study Algebra I and Algebra II. In the second year, CHAMP students study Geometry and a standard Pre-Calculus course (Trigonometry, Analytic Geometry, College Algebra, and a brief introduction to calculus concepts.)

Teaching Role - Instructors will work with students in a workshop setting, where students are working on homework that has been assigned during a CHAMP course led by a faculty member. You will be working with young, talented students, so enthusiasm, patience, and excellent communication skills are all expected.

Teaching Responsibilities - CHAMP workshops take place one or two evenings per week, and assistants are paid hourly. You will not need to prepare for the workshops, as you will spend the whole time working with students in a setting similar to tutoring, but you will need to be available on a consistent basis because of the relationship that you will build with the students. This is an excellent opportunity for those seeking experiences with community engagement and outreach.