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Ms. Leslie Goldstein - 2016-17 Alice Admire Outstanding Teaching Award

Teaching has been in Ms. Leslie Goldstein’s blood since growing up in Canada’s capital city. The senior lecturer in the Fort Lewis College Freshman Math Program recalls coming home from school as a child and forcibly teaching her younger brother everything she had learned that day. This love of education has not diminished, and she is now the winner of the 2016-17 FLC Alice Admire Outstanding Teaching Award.

Her passion for what she does translates into ensuring that her students appreciate the value and power of math in the modern world.

She remembers one student who was pursuing a non-quantitative major due to her math anxiety. Through Ms. Goldstein’s efforts and those of other dedicated math faculty, this student turned a corner in her math education and started having mounting success. Ms. Goldstein later found out that the student had switched majors…to teaching math.

“That was wonderful for me to hear,” she says, “because here was somebody who her entire life had been struggling with math and it was keeping her out of the field she wanted. Finally, she was experiencing success and decided, ‘I’m going to do what I want to do.’”

Ms. Goldstein’s teaching prowess extends beyond the walls of the classroom. Among her many accomplishments in her 13 years at FLC include setting up a calculator loan program, shaping the drop-in tutoring center, publishing empirical articles on different approaches to math teaching, and working with local and regional math teachers to help them improve their pedagogy. In addition, Ms. Goldstein regularly teaches a class at FLC for elementary educators, presents at teaching conferences, and always employs the latest in problem-based learning (e.g., how not to overpay on your credit card loans) and fancy math-related technology (cool calculators!). 

Ms. Goldstein is honored to be the recipient of the Alice Admire Outstanding Teaching Award, particularly because many of her students and colleagues supported her nomination. Whereas she describes herself as “5’2’’ but extremely intimidating,” her nomination letter from a student stated it thusly: “Two distinct avenues separate her from other professors. First and foremost, she genuinely loves teaching. It is apparent each and every day when she steps into a classroom that she loves her job, wants her students to achieve the goals they set for themselves, and supports them tirelessly on their own journeys. The second stems from the respect that she gives her students.”

Yet Ms. Goldstein is quick to point out that her career has been bolstered by the ongoing support of those that teach alongside her: “I work in an amazing department—all of us in the Freshman Math Program are highly dedicated to helping students overcome their math obstacles and show them how transformative math can be.”

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