Published: Jan. 22, 2002


Contact: Lisa Acheson at (517) 432-0924 or


EAST LANSING, Mich. - The creation of a new endowed chair for mathematics education in the Department of Mathematics at Michigan State University was announced today by Provost Lou Anna K. Simon.

The endowment comes from the Connected Mathematics Project (CMP), led by MSU mathematics educators, which has revolutionized the middle school mathematics curriculum nationally.

The Lappan-Phillips-Fitzgerald Endowed Chair in Mathematics Education, the first of its kind at MSU and one of the few such endowed mathematics education chairs across the nation, was created to continue CMP's commitment to improving the teaching and learning of mathematics through research and development.

"The need to improve K-12 mathematics teaching and learning continues to be a national priority," said Joan Ferrini-Mundy, associate dean of science and mathematics education at MSU. "By establishing the Lappan-Philips-Fitzgerald chair, the Connected Mathematics Project will ensure the continued capacity of the mathematics education faculty at MSU to provide leadership and scholarly contributions at the national level."

The chair is named in honor of three founders of the Connected Mathematics Project: Glenda Lappan, university distinguished professor of mathematics; Elizabeth Phillips, senior specialist in mathematics; and the late William Fitzgerald, professor of mathematics. Other CMP authors include James Fey of the University of Maryland and Susan Friel of the University of North Carolina.

"Glenda Lappan, Betty Phillips and Bill Fitzgerald have made creative contributions to mathematics teaching and learning that have earned international recognition in mathematics education," said George Leroi, dean of the College of Natural Science. "It is most fitting that they share in the name of this prestigious endowed chair position, which brings a new measure of stature to the department, the college and the university."

The new chair will lead to the appointment of a distinguished scholar in mathematics education whose program of research and development has significantly benefited K-12 mathematics education. The prestige of the endowed chair enables the Department of Mathematics to continue to enhance its national reputation as a leader in mathematics education.

"MSU's mathematics department is poised to make one of several major steps towards even greater prominence," said Peter Bates, chairperson of the Department of Mathematics. "With the creation of the new endowed chair, the recognition that we have received through the scholarship and efforts of these and other distinguished mathematics education faculty will move to a higher level.

"It is exciting to have our first endowed chair in the department and to anticipate the recruitment of an international leader to occupy it," he said. "We are all thankful to Glenda, Betty and Bill for making this possible."

The National Science Foundation-funded CMP is a complete mathematics curriculum for grades 6 through 8 and is widely used across the United States. It helps students develop understanding of important concepts, skills, procedures and ways of thinking and reasoning in numbers, geometry, measurement, algebra, probability and statistics.