Faculty Spotlight: Dana Cox

photo of Dana Cox

  • associate professor of Mathematics
  • does research in mathematics education and mathematics curriculum development
  • loves working with students one-on-one
  • enjoys photography and reading


"I got my PhD in Mathematics Education from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan. This degree was supported by the Center for the Study of Mathematics Curriculum, and this means that I focused heavily on the design and analysis of mathematics curriculum for K-12 students.

"I have always been called to teaching. I entertained some other majors for a time, but really, I decided that teaching mathematics was for me. After seven years of teaching secondary mathematics in public schools, I chose to pursue my doctorate at Western Michigan University so that I could think deeply about the teaching of mathematics and the preparation of mathematics teachers."


"In the Department of Mathematics, I am responsible for teaching the courses for pre-service teachers, which includes elementary, middle grade, and high school teachers. The courses include, for example, two courses in the math an elementary teacher needs to know in order to teach children about numbers, geometry, and data.

"I also teach a number of courses for future middle grades and high school teachers. This includes problem-solving with technology, which is my absolute favorite course to teach. Miami students take this course during their sophomore year, and it is devoted to learning how to solve math problems using a variety of technologies including dynamic geometry software, graphing calculators, and online applets. It is really the first experience that a lot of our students have with learning mathematics using technology.

"What I enjoy most about teaching is the office hours. During that time, I'm able to get to know my students one-on-one. I enjoy having them ask personalized questions about what they want to know and helping them in that way rather than in the one-size-fits-all class. To me, that is really one of the greatest things about my job!

"I do a lot of independent study work with students. I enjoy working alongside students really deeply on one project for a long period of time. I also just love walking around my classroom when students are working on problems and listening to what they have to say.

"I pour my natural enthusiasm into my job and love working with both students and fellow teachers. Often, at social events, I hear people say, 'I hate math!' I really enjoy the moments when I'm able to show them what I love about math and give them that one experience where they see that math can be interesting and make sense. If I can help them answer a question or if they can begin to see themselves as mathematicians, I feel really motivated!

"I became a professor once I was done with graduate school so that I could continue learning, continue researching, continue thinking. It's a continuous process of exploration and development, and that's what I really like about it."


"My core research is looking at mathematics curriculum development, both for pre-service teachers and for K-12 students. Along with my colleagues in mathematics education, I recently received a Mathematics and Science Partnership grant to do some professional development work with the Talawanda School District. We're working with teachers there and spending time in their classrooms. In this setting, we are able to interact with children, listen to their mathematics, and help others see children's thinking as valuable and fascinating."

Outside the Classroom

"I enjoy reading and photography. That’s how I primarily spend my time outside the classroom. I also spend some time getting out to various schools to volunteer so that I can better understand the environment in which my students will soon be working."

[October 2015]