April 12, 2001
Vol. 20 No. 14

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    Council of Mathematics Teachers honors Usiskin

    By William Harms
    News Office

    Zalman Usiskin, Professor in Education and Director of the University School Mathematics Project, recently received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

    The award recognizes council members for lifetime accomplishments in leadership, teaching and service in mathematics education. Izaak Wirszup, Professor Emeritus in Mathematics and co-founder of the University School Mathematics Project, received the award in 1996.

    “Usiskin has established a peerless record of achievements in mathematics education over the past three decades,” according to the Mathematics Education Trust of NCTM, the organization that chooses the award recipients.

    Usiskin has been on the faculty in Education since 1969. He also has taught junior- and senior- high-school mathematics and has authored and co-authored many textbooks, including a six-volume series used as part of the University School Mathematics Project secondary curriculum.

    As an undergraduate, Usiskin studied at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he received a B.S. in mathematics and a B.S. in education. He received an M.A.T. in mathematics from Harvard University in 1964, and a Ph.D. in education from the University of Michigan in 1969.

    Usiskin’s doctoral dissertation involved the field testing of his book Geometry: A Transformation Approach, which was written with Arthur Coxford. This book has greatly influenced the way geometry is taught in many American high schools, according to the NCTM citation. Also, his pioneering work with applications of mathematics in high school algebra has influenced current trends in school mathematics.

    With the founding of UCSMP in 1983, he became director of the secondary component and has been the project’s overall director since 1987.

    The University School Mathematics Project has grown to become the nation’s largest university-based curriculum project for kindergarten- through 12th-grade mathematics, with several million students using its elementary and secondary textbooks and other materials.

    He is currently working with others to determine and organize the mathematics that would help high school teachers but which they usually do not encounter in their studies.