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Frances Harper, PhD

TPTE Director of Diversity and Inclusion and Associate Professor, STEM Education/Math


Frances K. Harper is an assistant professor of STEM (Mathematics) education at the University of Tennessee. Her research and scholarly program focuses on under-recognized dimensions of equity in mathematics education, namely identity and power, in mathematics teaching and learning. These interest areas concentrate in three large domains: (1) how teachers learn to shift traditional power dynamics in mathematics classrooms by adapting mathematics curriculum and instruction to build on historically marginalized students’ community and cultural knowledge and experiences, (2) how students negotiate their social and mathematics identities in contexts where teachers are making instructional efforts to attend to dimensions of identity and power in mathematics, and (3) how relationships among teachers, families, and community partners influence efforts to shift traditional power dynamics in mathematics classrooms.

Professional Background 


Professor Harper's research interests include: mathematics education, mathematics teacher education, urban education, community engaged scholarship

Current Projects

CAREER: Black and Latinx Parents Leading ChANge & Advancing Racial (PLANAR) Justice in Elementary Mathematics

Culturally Relevant Robotics: A Family & Teacher (CRRAFT) Partnership for Computational Thinking in Early Childhood

STEM Education for East Knoxville (SEEK)

Tennessee Eastern & Appalachian Math (TEAM) Teachers’ Circle

Frances Harper headshot2

Contact Information