An interview with Kathy Mowers:
- What is your professional background? How long have you taught in a 2-year College full-time? How long have you taught in a 2-year college part time?
I graduated with a Master’s degree at a time when teaching jobs were scarce. I taught three years at the high school level funded by a grant During those three years I earned credentials in Learning Disability education Then I returned to college to become a Medical Technologist Once Owensboro Community College opened, I taught one semester part-time, one year half-time, and have taught approximately 25 years full-time at the college.
- How has the teaching of mathematics changed over the course of your career?
When I started teaching at OCTC, classes (other than in selective admission programs) were all open to any student. Open admission often only meant the opportunity to fail. During my tenure, OCTC began requiring placement scores to enroll in classes, but then at least ten years ago, the Kentucky legislature enacted mandatory placement for all English, mathematics, and reading classes.
- In what year did you join AMATYC? How did you first learn about it? What was your first conference?
1990. I attended the Kentucky Mathematical Association of America conference at Shakertown, KY. Back then almost every University of Kentucky Community College System mathematics faculty member attended KYMATYC. I was chosen to represent KYMATYC at the AMATYC conference. My first conference was in Dallas, TX.
- Are you a member of professional organizations other than AMATYC? If so, which ones?
NCTM, MAA, KYMATYC, and Kentucky Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
- What roles have you played in AMATYC?
Midwest Vice President, Liaison to Mu Alpha Theta, Contributing editor for Beyond Crossroads, Co-PI for NSF grant The Right Stuff.
- What were the key issues for AMATYC during your presidency?
Institutionalizing ACCCESS and releasing Beyond Crossroads.
- What were the accomplishments during your presidency (or membership in AMATYC)?
Accomplishments in AMATYC lie on a continuum, an activity may start during one presidency and finished in another president’s term. Initiated the combining of the Constitution and Bylaws into one document, released Beyond Crossroads, moved the annual conference from Katrina-ravaged New Orleans to the other end of the Mississippi, Minneapolis.
- How is the two year college mathematics professor perceived in the mathematics teaching community by high school teachers? By four-year college professors? By themselves?
There is a struggle to define the community college instructor professionally. Many high school teachers see two-year college instructors as very similar to themselves educationally with less work to do. Many hope to retire from teaching high school to begin teaching at the two-year college with a pay cut, since high school teachers often make more money. Meanwhile, two-year college instructors are often looked down upon by university instructors and often viewed as little more than graduate assistants.
- To what extent is the voice of the two-year college mathematics professional heard on the national level? How has this changed and how has AMATYC had a role in changing it?
We are often overlooked despite all of our efforts. Part of this problem is a numbers problem. There are many more members in NCTM and MAA than in AMATYC. We would never be able to reach such numbers, because we don’t have an equivalent number of potential members.
- What are the key issue and challenges facing AMATYC in 2012 and beyond?
Staying relevant and yet living within our means given our membership numbers and the declining interest in professional organizations evident in the younger faculty members.