MEDIA RELEASE — September 1, 2009

Canadian Mathematical Society

September 1, 2009

York University Professor Garners National Education Award

Walter Whiteley to Receive the 2009 CMS Adrien Pouliot Award

OTTAWA, Ontario — The Canadian Mathematical Society is pleased to announce that Professor Walter Whiteley of York University is the recipient of the 2009 Adrien Pouliot Award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to mathematics education. Professor Whiteley will receive the award at the Society’s 2009 Winter Meeting in Windsor, Ontario.

The Adrien Pouliot Award was inaugurated in 1995 by the CMS to recognize individuals or teams of individuals who have made significant and sustained contributions to mathematics education in Canada. The award is named after the second President of the CMS, an eminent mathematician and educator.

In announcing the award, Tony Lau, President of the CMS, noted that “Professor Whiteley is an acknowledged expert and innovator in the field of mathematics education and this award recognizes not only his commitment to and passion for mathematics education but the excellence of his contribution as well.”

“Professor Whiteley has made an outstanding contribution to the teaching and learning of mathematics in Quebec and Ontario and on the national and international stage” noted Dr. Peter Taylor, Chair of the CMS Education Committee. ”His work has influenced teachers and students throughout our education system and his dedication to advancing mathematics, mathematics education, and, more recently, education policy at the national and provincial levels, makes him an ideal recipient of the 2009 Adrien Pouliot Award.”

Professor Whiteley is one of a handful of Canadian mathematicians whose work is grounded in the mathematics education literature and who is a contributor to international math education studies. The award also acknowledges his leadership and influence in the development of mathematics education. At the centre of his work, both in mathematics research and in education, is geometry, whether it be the rigidity of buildings or the flexibility of proteins, and his passion for this wonderful and tragically neglected subject gives focus and energy to his work.

Drawing on the rich variety of geometric experiences and the teaching of geometry to future and in-service teachers, Professor Whiteley has made a noteworthy and influential contribution to research and development of tasks in visual reasoning (broadly and within mathematics) as well as in the teaching and learning of geometry. Currently, he is leading a working group within the Canadian Mathematics Education Forum on Early Years Geometry – working to rebuild geometry education from the early years on up.

Recently Professor Whiteley collaborated on the development of a new BSc/BA major ‘Mathematics for Education’ for students preparing for concurrent or consecutive education programs. This innovative program provides a common core curriculum, a rich background in pure, applied mathematics and statistics, as well as courses identified as key elements of the pre-service preparation in Mathematics for Teaching Geometry, History of Mathematics, and an integrative capstone course on Topics in Mathematics Education.

At a provincial level, Professor Whiteley chaired the Council of Ontario Universities task force on the recent revisions of the Ontario Mathematics Curriculum and he followed this with a term as a Director of the Ontario Association of Mathematics Education. Recently he hosted a one day workshop on Bridging from Mathematics to Mathematics Education, and continues to work towards strong collaborations between mathematics departments and faculties of education.

Professor Whiteley received his honours B.Sc. in 1966 from Queen’s University. He completed his Ph.D. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1971. In 1972 he joined the Mathematics Department at Champlain Regional College (CEGEP) in St. Lambert, Quebec. Subsequently, in 1992, he moved to the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at York University, where he is currently a Professor of Mathematics and Statistics. Dr. Whiteley is the recipient of the 2003 University-Wide Teaching Award for Senior Faculty at York University.

For more information, contact:

Dr. Peter Taylor
Chair, CMS Education committee
Dept. of Mathematics and Statistics
Queen's University
Tel: (613) 533-2390
Dr. Anthony To-Ming Lau
President, Canadian Mathematical Society
Dept. of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences
University of Alberta
Tel: (780) 492-3396

About the Canadian Mathematical Society

The Canadian Mathematical Society (CMS) is the main national organization whose goal is to promote and advance the discovery, learning, and application of mathematics. The Society's activities cover the whole spectrum of mathematics including: scientific meetings, research publications, and the promotion of excellence in mathematics education at all levels. The CMS, in partnerships with others, annually sponsors mathematics education-related events and initiatives for teachers and students across Canada.