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Mathematics Education Research Group

The mathematics education research group at Oklahoma State University conducts educational research related to teaching and learning mathematics at the undergraduate level. Several members of our research team are involved in a statewide project to improve mathematics instructor professional development. Our group also includes practitioners who are serving as course coordinators and are involved with mentoring TAs and the preparation of preservice teachers.



  • Lee Ann Brown

    Preparation for Calculus Course Coordinator

    Lee Ann Brown is a course coordinator for our Preparation for Calculus course. She mentors her TAs by leading weekly meetings, observing them as they teach and giving feedback. She is interested in improving her course to better prepare students for the Calculus sequence.

  • John Paul Cook

    Dr. Cook's research program centers on investigating how students think about and learn concepts in abstract algebra. Particularly, he is interested in developing models of student thinking about particular concepts in abstract algebra, and then designing instructional sequences that are compatible with and leverage these ways of thinking. His other research endeavors include the mathematical preparation of pre-service teachers and the efficacy of the co-requisite instruction model.

  • Allison Dorko

    Math Functions Course Coordinator

    Dr. Dorko is interested in undergraduate mathematics eduction, specifically student learning from homework and student learning of calculus.

  • Cynthia Francisco

    Math Structures and Geometric Structures for Elementary Education Course Coordinator

  • Lisa Mantini

    Dr. Mantini's research interests include groups, their actions as symmetries (of a shape in space, of the state space for a vibrating molecule or for the solutions to Maxwell's equations), and the matrix representations of these actions. Lately she has become an origami enthusiast and is studying symmetric colorations of regular polyhedra and the corresponding representations of their symmetry groups. Dr. Mantini's interests in mathematics education include the teaching and learning of collegiate mathematics, from studying what professors actually do in the college math classroom, to how we assess student work, to how students learn to read and write proofs. Lately her work has focused on the role of collaborative learning in the teaching of calculus.

  • Melissa Mills

    Director of Mathematics Learning Success Center

    Melissa is currently a Teaching Assistant Professor at Oklahoma State University and the Director of the Mathematics Learning Success Center. She has done research related to the teaching and learning of mathematical proof, in particular the way that mathematics professors use examples in their proof presentations. She is currently working with a newly established community of mathematics tutoring center directors to collaborate on research related to mathematics learning in tutoring contexts. In particular, she is focusing on tutor-student interactions.

  • Michael Oehrtman

    Michael Oehrtman received his PhD in Mathematics at the University of Texas at Austin in 2002 and is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics at Oklahoma State University. His early research on calculus students' metaphors for reasoning about limit concepts originated Project CLEAR Calculus by idenifying approximations and error analyses as a potentially powerful and productive conceptual foundation for calculus. Dr. Oehrtman served as Co-PI and Project Director of the NSF Math and Science Partnership, Project Pathways (NSF award number 0412537, 12.5 Million over 5 years). Through Pathways and other projects, Dr. Oehrtman has collaborated extensively with interdisciplinary faculty teams to develop graduate courses and professional learning communities for math and science high school teachers. Dr. Oehrtman co-authored a research-based precalculus curriculum and was co-PI on an NSF Math and Science Partnership Phase II grant (NSF award number 1050721, $2.1 Million over 3 years) to research the dissemination of these materials and faculty development in their use.

  • Michael Tallman

    Calculus I Course Coordinator

    Michael Tallman received his B.Sc. and M.A. in mathematics from the University of Northern Colorado and he received his Ph.D. in mathematics education from Arizona State University. Dr. Tallman has taught mathematics at the secondary and post-secondary levels. His primary research is in the area of mathematical knowledge for teaching secondary and post-secondary mathematics. Dr. Tallman's work informs the design of teacher preparation programs and professional development initiatives through an investigation of the factors that affect the nature and quality of the mathematical knowledge teachers leverage in the context of teaching. In particular, his research examines how various factors like curricula, emotional regulation, identity, and teachers' construction and appraisal of instructional constraints mediate the enactment of their subject matter knowledge.

  • Rae Tree

    College Algebra Course Coordinator


Current Grants


            Mathematical Inquiry Project, 2018-2023

            (NSF # )

  1. Oehrtman, A. Dorko, W. Jaco, J.P. Cook, and M. Tallman

Description: This project is a statewide collaboration among mathematics departments at the 27 public institutions of higher education in Oklahoma to foster sustainable, large-scale reforms in entry-level mathematics courses; (funding: $2,999,632 over 5 years)


            Mathematics Learning Resources Leadership Workshop, 2017-2019

            (NSF # 1645086)

  1. Mills, W. Jaco, and M. Tallman

Description: This grant funded two workshops for directors of mathematics learning centers and mathematics education researchers. We developed a research agenda for issues related to mathematics learning in a tutoring context and compiled resources that are useful for math center directors.


Current Publications:

Cook, J. P. (2019). Monster-Barring as a Catalyst for Bridging Secondary Algebra to Abstract Algebra. In Connecting Abstract Algebra to Secondary Mathematics, for Secondary Mathematics Teachers (pp. 47-70). Springer, Cham.

Rickard, B. & Mills, M. (2018) The effect of peer tutoring on course grades in Calculus I. International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology. 49(3), 341-354.

Zazkis, D. & Mills, M. (2018). The roles of formalisation artefacts in students’ formalisation processes. Research in Mathematics Education, 17(3), 257-275.

 Cook, J.P. (2018). An investigation of an undergraduate student’s reasoning with zero-divisors and the zero-product property. Journal of Mathematical Behavior, 49, 95-115.


  Cook, J.P., Zazkis, D., & Estrup, A. (2018). Rationale for matrix multiplication in linear algebra textbooks. In S. Stewart, C. Andrews-Larson, A. Berman, & M. Zandieh (Eds.), Challenges and Strategies in Teaching Linear Algebra (pp. 103-125). Springer, Cham.


  Zazkis, D., & Cook, J. P. (2018). Interjecting Scripting Studies into a Mathematics Education Research Program: The Case of Zero-Divisors and the Zero-Product Property. In Scripting Approaches in Mathematics Education (pp.

  205-228). Springer, Cham.


  Cook, J.P. & Zazkis, D. (2017). A contradiction in how introductory textbooks approach matrix multiplication? IMAGE: A Bulletin of the International 

  Linear Algebra Society, 59(2), 21-22.


  Cook, J. P., & Garneau, C. (2017). Challenging Students' Beliefs about Mathematics: A Liberal Arts Approach. Journal of Transformative Learning, 4(1).


Dawkins, P. C., & Cook, J. P. (2017). Guiding reinvention of conventional tools of mathematical logic: students’ reasoning about mathematical disjunctions. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 94(3), 241-256.


 Cook, J. P. (2015). Moving beyond solving for x: Teaching abstract algebra in a liberal arts mathematics course. Problems, Resources, and Issues in Mathematics Undergraduate Studies (PRIMUS), 25(3), 248-264.





Current Position

Research Interests

David Miller

(Ph.D. 2006)

Associate Professor and Undergraduate Program Director, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia

Mathematical Proof, especially the transitions students make during their mathematics major; Assessment of Proofs; Worked Examples; Expository Mathematics.

Brian Fisher

(Ph. D. 2008)

Visiting Scholar, Lubbock Christian University, Lubbock, Texas

Brian is interested in educational problems throughout the calculus sequence and in addition to his work on the use of guided reinvention toC develop the formal definition of convergence he is interested in the use of physical models to develop quantitative reasoning in multivariable calculus.

Ben Wescoatt

(Ph.D. 2013)

Associate Professor at Valdosta State University, Valdosta, Georgia


Melissa Mills

(Ph.D. 2013)

Teaching Assistant Professor at Oklahoma State University

Mathematics learning in the context of tutoring centers, mathematical proof

Kedar Nepal

(Ph. D. 2014)

Assistant professor of mathematics at Mercer University, Macon, Georgia.

Students’ mathematical thought processes; self-assessments behaviors and metacognition; professional development of college mathematics instructors.




Emeritus Faculty

Douglas B. Aichele


B.A./M.A., University of Missouri/Columbia; Ed.D., University of Missouri/Columbia, 1969. He is interested generally in issues and trends related to collegiate and school mathematics education. More specifically, curriculum and teacher preparation/professional development, mathematics and science connections, entry-level mathematics curriculum and pedagogy, mathematical structures (geometric and quantitative) for prospective elementary teachers, school geometry curriculum and pedagogy.

James Choike

B.S., University of Detroit; M.S., Purdue University; Ph.D., Wayne State University, 1970.  His mathematical research interests are topics in complex analysis, especially the behavior of functions near singularities.  His work in mathematics education is focused on issues of effective strategies for teaching students connected with how students learn mathematics, curriculum development in mathematics at grades 6 – 16, issues of instructional design for technology-enhanced distance learning systems, and the design and delivery of professional development materials to mathematics teachers of grades 6 – 12, including AP Calculus.

Benny Evans

B.S., OSU; M.A./Ph.D., Michigan, 1971. Low-dimensional topology, mathematics education.


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