CMP Staff in the Spotlight: Susan Friel

  • Oct 17, 2014
  • staff, spotlight

Susan Friel

“My mission is to empower others to make sense of mathematics. What is it about the teaching and learning of mathematics that keeps people from experiencing confidence and success in their abilities? How is it possible for people to claim, almost with pride, ‘I never could do mathematics,’ or to feel such fear that they experience severe anxiety when learning mathematics? What is it that I can do to change these circumstances?”
-Susan Friel

Susan Friel is currently Professor of Mathematics Education at UNC-Chapel Hill. A former elementary and middle grades classroom teacher, Susan teaches in diverse programs: Elementary Education and Middle Grades Undergraduate Education Programs; Curriculum and Instruction Doctoral Program; and the Master of Education Program for Experienced Teachers. Susan is particularly interested in the design of effective mathematics/mathematics education curricula. Each course she teaches is an ongoing research and development project. Her work extends to development of students’ statistical knowledge, professional development of teachers including a self-study of her own practice, early childhood mathematics education, and exploring what it means to teach and learn mathematics. Currently, her attention is focused on developing online course instruction specifically for the Elementary Add-On License Program that is part of a K-6 Mathematics Masters in Education degree. The six courses are delivered online, using combination of asynchronous and synchronous instruction, and, as in her other work, this endeavor frames an ongoing research and development study.

Friel is the co-author of three published curricula: Used Numbers, a statistics and data analysis program for K-5 students; Teach-Stat Project, a professional development program in statistics and data analysis for elementary teachers; and the Connected Mathematics Program, a middle grades 6-8 mathematics curriculum. Friel is active professionally on the national and local levels through a variety of mathematics education organizations including the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators and the North Carolina Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

When not immersed in math stuff, Susan likes to garden. She had a rather large vegetable garden this past summer with lots of cucumbers, acorn squash, zucchini, tomatoes, kale, chard, and green beans.  She also likes to dance - particularly ballroom dancing. And she and her husband enjoy their grand kids (Jalin, Kaila (Hawaii) and Eli, Coop (NC)) and their animals - Jesse (dog), Jasmine and Jake (cats) who are not only 'name coordinated – all "Js"' – but also color coordinated - all black and white!