Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Brief Interview with M. Sencer Corlu

This week, I had the opportunity to chat with Texas A&M University’s Division C campus liaison- future doctor M. Sencer Corlu. Sencer is studying mathematics education and anticipates graduating in December 2011. The following is a summary of our conversation.

How many years have you been a Division C Campus Liaison?
I’ve been holding this responsibility since March, 2011.
Are you involved in any other activities in AERA?My first contact with AERA was during the annual meeting in 2009. Since then, AERA journals and meetings have become my premier source to learn more about educational research; how it is done and how it is disseminated at the top level.

What is the best part about serving and participating in AERA Division C?It provides me the opportunity to get to know the people from other institutions and learn more about their work to keep up-to-date. As much as my research is driven by my own interests and background as a mathematician and international educator, I also need to develop a wider perspective by following the current trends in education as a young scholar. Division C gathers the top educators in learning and instruction and works as an excellent venue to make new connections for possible interdisciplinary projects with a focus on learning and instruction. I believe learning is no longer bounded by a single academic division in our era of innovation. A holistic learning environment can be best achieved through instructional practices that combine perspectives from multiple disciplines. Serving division C also helps me have a rapport among my fellow Aggies at Texas A&M, with whom I am hoping to work for long years after I graduate.

Are there any special AERA activities that occur at your school?Several departments at Texas A&M College of Education organize events and workshops to inform us about the latest changes in AERA standards on reporting research and ethical conducts, as well as how to submit proposals to annual meetings. Many professors and research centers also work in collaboration with the graduate students and they hold pre- and post-annual meetings to evaluate and share their experiences.

Did you attend AERA 2011 and if so, what was your experience like?
I did attend AERA 2011, and I very much benefited from it. Over the course of the years, I believe I have managed to make more out of it each year as my skills have expanded as a young mathematics educator. This year in particular, I not only had the opportunity to present two papers but also to talk to top researchers in my field, and to develop connections with representatives of research institutions concerning my post-graduation plans.

Please describe your research interests.My research interests are shaped very much by my background as an international mathematics and science teacher. I am interested in curriculum integration and teacher education from a post-modern perspective and in particular, mathematics and science correlation in learning and instruction. I focus on quantitative research methods but also have a keen interest in naturalistic inquiry and ethnography.

Have you published or presented research this year?This year has been the most productive year in my short career as a young scholar. Two of my manuscripts have been published in SCI journals, and in another one, I collaborated with my colleagues at Texas A&M, in Turkey, China and Korea, which appeared in a respected international journal. As for presentations, besides AERA 2011, I also presented (and co-presented) our research on mathematics and science integration at the NCTM research Pre-session and Psychology of Mathematics Education meetings.

What are your professional goals for when you complete your degree?With the ultimate goal of having a broad impact in mathematics education and being remembered as an inspirational teacher, I feel the best place to help me achieve my goals would be academia. Thus, I will be seeking a professorship position in hopes of making a significant contribution to the learning and instruction of mathematics.

Is there a book or article that has helped you during your doctoral studies?Besides the APA Manual and my other holy book, I frequently cite and read over and over again two books: Alfred Whitehead’s Aims of Education (1929) and Dr. Paul Ernest’s Social Constructivism as a Philosophy of Mathematics. Methodology-wise, I must have two books near me all times: Our very owns’, Dr. Bruce Thompson’s Foundations of Behavioral Statistics and Dr. Yvonne Lincoln’s Naturalistic Inquiry books. AggieStem Center’s Project-based Learning and Dr. Kilpatrick’s Research Companion are also two of my favorite books in my field.

Do you have any interesting hobbies or activities that you participate in outside of your graduate program?
I have traveled extensively in the past across the globe before coming to US for the graduate school. I still take a weekend runaway from time to time to do some horseback riding with my mates or simply wander around and take photographs. I still don’t see a better way to enjoy life other than an intelligent conversation.

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