Department of Mathematics

West Chester University

Mathematics Information
Office: Room 101
25 University Avenue
West Chester, PA 19383
Phone (610) 436-2440
Fax (610) 738-0578
Email: Department Chair

Spring 2016 Colloquium/Seminar Schedule

Colloquium talks will normally be on a Wednesday (usually in UNA 158 from 3:15-4:15).

These seminars/colloquium talks may be by visiting speakers, WCU faculty, or WCU students, and are open to all interested students and faculty.

Send an e-mail to, if you would like to be on the e-mail list to receive advance notice of upcoming talks.

Previous Semesters: Spring 2016, Fall 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2013, Spring 2013, Fall 2012, Spring 2012, Fall 2011, Spring 2011, Fall 2010, Spring 2010, Fall 2009, Spring 2009, Fall 2008, Spring 2008, Fall 2007, Spring 2007, Fall 2006, Summer 2006, Spring 2006.

Colloquium, current semester


Michelle Cirillo
University  of Delaware

Decomposing and Scaffolding the Introduction to Proof

Wednesday, October 5th from 3:20 to 4:15pm
UNA 125

Decomposition of practice can be described as the breaking down of a complex practice into its constituent parts. Mathematical practices, such as proving and mathematical modeling, tend to be complex and in need of productive decompositions. Decompositions are necessary if we are to make progress in teaching important disciplinary practices and sustaining the call to have students’ classroom experiences in each subject more closely resemble their respective disciplines. Through this colloquium, I will provide insights into the work of teachers in practice, specifically some of the conditions, challenges, and issues related to teaching proof at the secondary level. In addition, potential solutions for addressing these challenges will be presented through data and findings from the three-year research project. These findings have implications for teaching reasoning that leads to proof at the middle school level and for teaching proof at the post-secondary level.

Dr. Michelle Cirillo received her PhD from Iowa State University in 2008 after working as a high school mathematics teacher in NY for 8 years. Cirillo’s primary research interests include the teaching of disciplinary practices (e.g., mathematical proof and modeling), classroom discourse, and teachers’ use of curriculum materials. She is especially interested in the space where these three areas intersect. As a co-PI on a five-year NSF Discovery Research K-12 grant, Cirillo has been working with researchers from Michigan State University to design and pilot professional development materials to support secondary mathematics teachers’ facilitation of classroom discourse. In 2010, Cirillo was awarded a research fellowship from the Knowles Science Teaching Foundation to pursue a three-year study on the teaching of proof in high school geometry. She is currently the PI of an NSF-CAREER grant, which builds on the Knowles project. Cirillo was the lead author on the article, Developing curriculum vision and coherence: Adapting curriculum to focus on authentic mathematics, which won a National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Research and Practice Outstanding Publication Award in 2010.



For further information e-mail or





Note: Talks will be added to the schedule throughout the semester. Check back for updates.