Investigating the uncertain future of teaching profession

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Investigating the uncertain future of teaching profession

Teaching is certainly one of the most important professions in our society, yet its status and attractiveness have been systematically diminishing in the last decades. At the Université catholique de Louvain, Prof. Xavier Dumay is using his ERC Starting Grant to investigate the cultural and institutional transformations that have led to this “teaching profession crisis”.

Over the last 20 years, the high rate of new teachers leaving the profession shortly after entering it and teachers shortages in general have constituted serious challenges in many education systems globally, not least in Europe. According to recent studies, this situation often reflects a relative decline in the economic and social status of the profession which started in the 1980s. It is also caused by increasing job responsibilities and less favourable employment conditions relative to other professions, in particular in terms of workload and salary scales.

This is paradoxical as teachers generally now have a higher average level of education and qualifications than they did in the past. Yet, education systems currently struggle to attract and retain the most qualified people. Many people turn to teaching only later in their careers or out of sheer need for a job, thus making the workforce ever more diverse in terms of entry pathways, level of qualifications and employment conditions.

These challenges appear common to many countries. As a result, an increasingly global space for education governance emerged since the end of World War II and was given extra momentum when education policies became linked to human capital and countries’ economic competitiveness.

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Do not let failure stop you!- The story of Jack Ma

Parts of the Wikipedia article on Jack Ma. See full article at:

Whos is Jack Ma?

Jack Ma (Chinese: 马云; pinyin: Ma Yun, [mà y̌n];[2] is a Chinese business magnate, investor, and philanthropist. He is the co-founder and executive chairman of the Alibaba Group, a multinational technology conglomerate. As of August 2018, he is one of China‘s richest men with a net worth of US$38.6 billion, as well as one of the wealthiest people in the world.

Compare with how he started

Ma applied for 30 different jobs and got rejected by all. “I went for a job with the police; they said, ‘you’re no good,'” Ma told interviewer Charlie Rose. “I even went to KFC when it came to my city. Twenty-four people went for the job. Twenty-three were accepted. I was the only guy…”.[17] In addition to this, he applied ten times to Harvard Business School (HBS) and got rejected.[18]

Do not let failure stop you!

Teaching Eval Shake-Up

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Teaching Eval Shake-Up

Most institutions say they value teaching. But how they assess it tells a different story. University of Southern California has stopped using student evaluations of teaching in promotion decisions in favor of peer-review model. Oregon seeks to end quantitative evaluations of teaching for holistic model.

ByColleen Flaherty

May 22, 2018

Research is reviewed in a rigorous manner, by expert peers. Yet teaching is often reviewed only or mostly by pedagogical non-experts: students. There’s also mounting evidence of bias in student evaluations of teaching, or SETs — against female and minority instructors in particular. And teacher ratings aren’t necessarily correlated with learning outcomes.

All that was enough for the University of Southern California to do away with SETs in tenure and promotion decisions this spring. Students will still evaluate their professors, with some adjustments — including a new focus on students’ own engagement in a course. But those ratings will not be used in high-stakes personnel decisions.

The changes took place earlier than the university expected. But study after recent study suggesting that SETs advantage faculty members of certain genders and backgrounds (namely white men) and disadvantage others was enough for Michael Quick, provost, to call it quits, effective immediately.

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Understanding students’ hierarchical thinking: a view from continuity, differentiability and integrability

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Understanding students’ hierarchical thinking: a view from continuity, differentiability and integrability

Eyup Sevimli

Teaching Mathematics and its Applications: An International Journal of the IMA, Volume 37, Issue 1, 5 March 2018, Pages 1–16,

26 February 2017

Article history


This report examines how students link continuity, differentiability and integrability concepts in their mind maps within the context of hierarchical thinking. A survey research design was used to obtain a large group of participants from three different mathematics departments in Turkey. While primary data acquired with the help of the concept map were analysed using descriptive statistics, secondary data acquired by way of interviews were analysed according to their content. The findings revealed that a great majority of the participants built wrong hierarchies between these concepts. The results also show that the students’ epistemological beliefs, or their sequential learning and instrumental understanding instead of relational understanding, hinder building correct hierarchies, and some suggestions show lecturers how to effectively use concept maps and counterexamples.

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New NSF awards will bring together cross-disciplinary science communities to develop foundations of data science

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News Release 17-079

New NSF awards will bring together cross-disciplinary science communities to develop foundations of data science

TRIPODS awards are NSF’s first major investment toward Harnessing the Data Revolution, one of ’10 Big Ideas for Future NSF Investments’

August 24, 2017

The National Science Foundation (NSF) today announced $17.7 million in funding for 12 Transdisciplinary Research in Principles of Data Science (TRIPODS) projects, which will bring together the statistics, mathematics and theoretical computer science communities to develop the foundations of data science. Conducted at 14 institutions in 11 states, these projects will promote long-term research and training activities in data science that transcend disciplinary boundaries.

“Data is accelerating the pace of scientific discovery and innovation,” said Jim Kurose, NSF assistant director for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE). “These new TRIPODS projects will help build the theoretical foundations of data science that will enable continued data-driven discovery and breakthroughs across all fields of science and engineering.”

Technological advances and unprecedented access to computing infrastructure have resulted in an explosion of data from different sources. The availability of these data — their volume and variety, and the speed at which they are collected — is transforming research in all fields of science and engineering. Through Harnessing the Data Revolution, one of the “10 Big Ideas for Future NSF Investments,” the foundation seeks to support fundamental research in data-driven science and engineering; shape a cohesive, federated, national-scale approach to research data infrastructure; and develop a 21st century data-capable workforce.

The TRIPODS awards will enable data-driven discovery through major investments in state-of-the-art mathematical and statistical tools, better data mining and machine learning approaches, enhanced visualization capabilities and more. These awards will build upon NSF’s long history of investments in foundational research, contributing key advances to the emerging data science discipline, and supporting researchers to develop innovative educational pathways to train the next generation of data scientists.

“TRIPODS will accelerate the development of modern foundations of data science through a truly transdisciplinary collaboration between mathematicians, statisticians and theoretical computer scientists, while also creating opportunity for fundamental development to occur in finding solutions to important data science challenges in the domain sciences,” said Jim Ulvestad, NSF acting assistant director for Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS).

TRIPODS is a partnership between NSF’s CISE and MPS directorates. NSF’s Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) also co-funded one of the projects.

A portfolio supporting another of NSF’s Big Ideas, Growing Convergent Research, contributed $1.1 million to the new TRIPODS awards, co-funding three of them. Convergence is the integration of knowledge, techniques and expertise from multiple fields to address scientific and societal challenges. To build an ecosystem that truly supports convergent science, NSF seeks to strategically invest in research projects and programs that are motivated by intellectual opportunities and important societal problems. The goal is that everyone, not just scientists and engineers, will benefit from the convergence of the physical sciences, biological sciences, computing, engineering and the social and behavioral sciences.

The TRIPODS Phase I awards announced today will support the development of small collaborative institutes. A future TRIPODS Phase II is planned to support a smaller number of larger institutes. Phase II will select awardees through a second competitive proposal process from among the Phase I institutes, as well as any new collaborative partners Phase I awardees bring on board.

The award titles, principal investigators and institutions for the TRIPODS Phase I projects are listed below:


The Countries With The Most STEM Graduates

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The Countries With The Most STEM Graduates [Infographic]

Niall McCarthy , Contributor Data journalist covering technological, societal and media topics Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

Since the turn of the century, China has experienced a revolution in third level education. It has outstripped both the United States and Europe in graduate numbers and as of 2016, it was building the equivalent of nearly one university per week. That progress has caused a massive shift in the world’s population of graduates, a population the U.S. used to dominate. Last year, India had the most graduates of any country worldwide with 78.0 million while China followed close behind with 77.7 million. The U.S. is now in third place with 67.4 million graduates, and the gap behind the top two countries is widening.

Some estimates see the number of Chinese graduates aged between 25 and 34 rising 300 percent up to 2030 compared to just 30 percent in the U.S. and Europe. According to the World Economic Forum, STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) has become a pretty big deal in China’s flourishing universities. In 2013, 40 percent of Chinese graduates finished a degree in STEM, over twice the share in American third level institutions.

STEM graduates have become a vital cog in the wheel of global prosperity and unsurprisingly, China is leading the way. The World Economic Forum reported that China had 4.7 million recent STEM graduates in 2016. India, another academic powerhouse, had 2.6 million new STEM graduates last year while the U.S. had 568,000.

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