Assistant 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. These three domains allow Professor Harper to combine her training in teacher education, mathematics education, and urban education
Professor Harper’s goal in her research is to provide information regarding mathematics teaching and systematic change that effectively encourages historically marginalized students to see their cultural, racial, and gendered identities as compatible with identities as capable learners and doers of mathematics. The common theme of her work has been exploration of social interactions among teachers, students, families, and community partners that either reinforce or shift power dynamics within the traditionally white, masculine, and Euro-centric space of mathematics. She has produced scholarship related to PreK-12 mathematics teaching and learning that leverages community and cultural funds of knowledge, explores social justice topics, and is guided by complex instruction. Her current projects connect her teacher educator practices to community engaged scholarship.
Doctor of Philosophy (Mathematics Education), Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Master of Arts (Curriculum Studies and Teacher Education – Mathematics Education), Stanford University, Stanford, CA
Master of Liberal Arts (Mathematics for Teaching), Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
Bachelor of Arts (Classics), Tufts University, Medford, MA
Member, Diversity Collaborative in Education Committee, 2018 – present
Member, Clinical Assistant Professor in STEM Education Search Committee, 2017-2018
Reviewer for Cognition and Instruction, International Journal of Educational Research, Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, Journal of Mathematical Behavior, Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, Journal of Teacher Education, Mathematics Thinking and Learning, and Occasional Paper Series
Member, Psychology of Mathematics Education (North America) Steering Committee, 2015-2016
Member, Local Planning Committee for Psychology of Mathematics Education (North America) Annual Conference, 2014-2016
Community Engaged Service
Facilitator, Book Club on Mathematics and Play, Fair Garden Preschool, 2019
Facilitator, STEM in the Preschool Classroom Workshop, Knox County Public Schools, 2019
Presenter, Careers in Education, Sequatchie County High School, 2018
Awards and Recognitions
National Technology Leadership Initiative Fellowship & Award, Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators, 2020.
Semifinalist, NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, 2019
Fellow, Center for Inquiry and Equity in Mathematics Faculty Fellowship Program, 2019-2020
Fellow, Service, Teaching, and Research (STaR) Program, Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators, 2018-2019
Articles in Refereed Journals
Harper, F. K. & Crespo. S. (2020). Learning to collaborate while learning mathematics. Mathematics Teacher: Learning and Teaching PK-12, 113(10).
Crespo, S. & Harper, F. K. (2019). Learning to pose collaborative mathematics problems with secondary prospective teachers. International Journal of Educational Research. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijer.2019.05.003
Harper, F. K. (2019). A qualitative metasynthesis of teaching mathematics for social justice in action: Pitfalls and promises of practice. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 50(3), 268-310.
Harper, F.K. (2019). Collaboration and critical mathematical inquiry: Negotiating mathematics engagement, identity, and agency. Bank Street College of Education Occasional Paper Series, 2019(41). Retrieved from https://educate.bankstreet.edu/occasional-paper-series/vol2019/iss41/5.
Plumb, A., Roberts-Caudle, C. Harper, F. K., & Jones, D. A. (2017). Flint, Michigan, water crisis: Connecting to local issues in mathematics classrooms. Teaching Children Mathematics, 23(9), 518-520.
Selected contributions to Edited Volumes
Harper, F. K. (2020). What’s a fair housing wage? In R. B. Berry III, B. Conway IV, B. R. Lawler, & J. W. Staley (Eds.) High school mathematics lessons to explore, understand, and respond to social injustice (pp. 148-152). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.
Harper, F. K. & Anderson, B. (2020). “I just get all stressed out”: Coping with perfectionism as a Black gifted girl in mathematics. In N. M. Joseph (Ed.) Understanding the intersections of race, gender, and gifted education: An anthology by and about talented Black girls and women in STEM. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.
Harper, F. K., Drake, C, Bartell, T. G., & Najarro, E. (2018). “How I want to teach the lesson”: Framing children’s multiple mathematical knowledge bases in the analysis and adaptation of existing curriculum materials. In T. G. Bartell (Ed.), Toward equity and social justice in mathematics education (pp. 241-262). Springer. (Invited; Refereed)
Harper, F. K., Sanchez, W., & Herbel-Eisenmann, B. (2017). Doing mathematics across languages: Exploring possibilities for supporting emergent bilinguals’ mathematical communication and engagement. In S. Kastberg, A. M. Tyminski, A. Lischka, & W. Sanchez (Eds.) Building support for scholarly practices in mathematics methods (pp. 263-277). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.
Recent Papers published in refereed conference proceedings
Harper, F. K., Stumbo, Z., & Kim, N. (2020). When robots invade the neighborhood: Learning to teach PK-5 mathematics leveraging both technology and community knowledge. Proceedings for the 31st annual conference of the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education (pp. 360-367). Online.
Kim, N. & Harper, F. K. (2019). Structured participation promotes access and accountability during cooperative learning in mathematics education. In S. Otten, A. G. de Araujo, C. Haines, & C. Munter (Eds.), Proceedings of the 41st annual meeting of the North American Chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, St Louis, MO.
Harper, F. K. (2019). Using graphic elicitation methods to talk about social identities and mathematics. Mathematics Education and Society 10, Hyderabad, India.
Harper, F. K. & Kim, N. (2020, February). Leveraging community funds of knowledge to teach mathematics with technology. Workshop presented at the annual conference of Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators, Phoenix, AZ. (Abstract refereed)
Harper, F. K., & Hodge, L. (2019, February). Partnering to support STEM learning for minoritized youth and (future) math teachers. Individual session presented at the annual conference of Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators, Orlando, FL.
Guzmán, L., Harper, F. K., Leyva, L., & Raygoza, M. (2019, February). A process of “becoming”: Transitioning into equity, social-justice oriented mathematics teacher educator roles. Symposium presented at the annual conference of Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators, Orlando, FL.
Harper, F. K. (2018, November). STEM experiences for girls of Color in urban schools: Considerations for equitable mathematics engagement. Paper presented at a roundtable at the biennial International Conference on Urban Education, Nassau, Bahamas.
External Grants: Funded and in Progress
Harper, F. K. (PI), Caudle, L. (co-PI), & Quinn, M. (co-PI). (January 1, 2021-December 31, 2023). Culturally Relevant Robotics: A Family and Teacher Partnership for Computational Thinking in Early Childhood. Funded by National Science Foundation. ($1,000,000).
Ho, A. (PI), Harper, F. K. (co-PI), & Hodge, L. (co-PI). (May 15, 2019-May 15, 2021). Tennessee Eastern & Appalachian Math Teachers’ Circle. Funded by American Institute of Mathematics. ($2,965).