Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Major Professor

Eugenia Vomvoridi-Ivanovic, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Gladis Kersaint, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Samuel Eskelson, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Sarah VanIngen, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Janet Richards, Ph.D.


collaborative community, instructor change, mathematics education, teacher preparation


Collaboration among higher education professors who are responsible for the education of preservice teachers is one potential solution to the problem of poor teacher preparation. Specifically, collaboration among mathematics educators and mathematicians can enhance preservice teacher preparation because it provides opportunities for preservice teachers to develop pedagogical content knowledge. However, collaborative efforts are challenging, and collaborators often face obstacles and tensions arise among the collaborative group members. Learning about ways the collaborators approach their collaborative efforts, the issues and tensions that arise, the hindering and supporting factors that affect the collaboration, and the potential outcomes of collaborative efforts provides information beneficial to higher education instructors looking to collaborate in teacher education programs.

An exploratory descriptive case study was employed to answer the following research questions:

1. What approaches do a team comprised of a mathematics educator and two mathematicians use to facilitate their collaborative co-planning efforts as they prepare for and teach concurrent mathematics methods and mathematics courses for preservice middle grades mathematics teachers?

2. What factors support or hinder the collaboration?

3. In what ways does the collaboration affect the mathematics educator’s and mathematicians’ course planning and teaching?

A mathematics educator and two mathematicians co-planned, and concurrently taught, courses for preservice middle grades mathematics teachers enrolled in a middle school mathematics teacher education program. Data collected from observations of planning meetings, observations of classes taught by the participants, and from interviews were analyzed through thematic analysis.

At the onset of the collaboration, the collaborators assumed roles that initiated the collaboration, with the mathematics educator emerging as the leader and setting the schedule and meeting agendas. However, the hierarchical roles they established ultimately led to a power imbalance, the major hindering factor of the collaboration. Other hindering factors include administrative business, lack of authority, and undefined goals. The instructors in the collaborative group formed relationships and bonded over similar challenges with the preservice teachers. The connections among the collaborators facilitated the collaboration. As a result of the collaboration, each of the instructors made planning and teaching changes in their courses. The mathematicians employed instructional strategies consistent with best practices in education, such as group work, which they had not utilized in other courses. The mathematics educator made direct connections with content the preservice teachers in her course were learning in their mathematics courses taught by her collaborators.