The Math Alliance Research Study

The Math Alliance Research Study (MARS), located at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has been sanctioned by the National Alliance directors to conduct research on the Alliance program.

Why Research the Alliance?

The National Alliance in its present form is still in its infancy and experimental in its structures. The Alliance’s focus on fostering a sense of community through mentoring, while also attempting to address cultural issues in the mathematical sciences, appears to be a unique approach toward broadening participation within the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. Because of these unique elements and structures, the University of Illinois, under the guidance of Dr. Casey George Jackson, received funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to conduct research on the Alliance.  This grant is part of a larger NSF grant that the National Alliance received in Fall 2012.

Research Questions and Methods

The project aims to address the following research questions:

  • How does the unique underlying logic model help inform the key components of the Alliance? Why and how is the Alliance successful? How does the Alliance impact students’ experiences in math departments?
  • Can the Alliance model be expanded to serve more students, and be adopted by other STEM disciplines to support students in different science-and math-based disciplines?

We are employing a mixed-methods approach that will examine both the short-term and long-term outcomes of the program in relation to these questions. The majority of data to be used in the study will be collected in 2013 from faculty members, undergraduate, and graduate students via online surveys, interviews, and focus groups. Publicly available data on the departments and universities that form the National Alliance will also be analyzed. The findings of the study will be disseminated to members of the Alliance, to the National Science Foundation, and to others interested in increasing underrepresented students’ participation and success in mathematics. For more information about the data collection process, data analysis, or the role of our research team, please contact us using the information at the bottom of this page!

Math Alliance Research Study Issue Briefs

Issue Brief #1: Evaluation vs. Educational Research
Issue Brief #2: Research Experiences for Undergraduates: Current Best Practices
Issue Brief #3: Effective Practices of Formal Mentoring Programs
Issue Brief #4: High School Students who Intend to Major in Math: Differences by Gender, Race, Ethnicity, and Confidence Levels
Issue Brief #5: Math Alliance Research Study: Descriptive Statistics and Initial Findings from the Student Survey
Math Alliance Research Study: Field of Dreams 2013 Data Summary
Issue Brief #6: Gender and the National Alliance for Doctoral Study in the Mathematical Sciences: The Changing Academic and Career Aspirations of Alliance Students
Infographic #1: Math Alliance Pre-Doctoral Scholars’ Academic Journey
Infographic #2: Math Alliance Mentor Survey Descriptive Statistics
Infographic #3: Math Identity
Infographic #4: Research Experiences for Undergraduates

Contact us!

If you have any questions, thoughts, or suggestions for future briefs, please feel free to contact us using the information below.

National Alliance Study
c/o Dr. Casey George-Jackson
College of Education
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
1310 S. Sixth Street, MC 708
Champaign, IL 61820