MATC Mathematics Club
Lecture #123

Madison Area Technical College
Madison, Wisconsin

Spring 2013 Presentation #123 (1 March, 2013)

Professors Jennifer and Steve Szydlik, UW-Oshkosh

"Recalling the Recall: Statistical Sampling and the 2012 Petition Drive"

Previous Lecture: (The Problem with the Junk Food Problem)

Abstract: For two months in Spring 2012, Wisconsin's Government Accountability Board (GAB) labored over 152,335 Recall Petitions, checking each entry to determine whether there were enough valid signatures to trigger a recall election of Governor Scott Walker. How many total signatures were there? What fraction were vulnerable to challenge? Meanwhile, students in an elementary data analysis course teachers used statistical sampling to do the same job in just one week using open-source software. In this presentation we will report on this project and explore the power of statistical sampling to answer meaningful questions about the world.


• Professor of Mathematics, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh (1995-present. I was promoted to the rank of Professor in 2006.). I teach a variety of courses for prospective teachers including Number Systems, Fundamentals of Geometry and Measurement, Data Exploration and Analysis, Probability and Statistics, Infinite Processes, Modern Algebra (abstract algebra), Modern Geometry (Euclidean and non-Euclidean) and the Senior Seminar for Elementary and Middle School Programs. I do research in the field of undergraduate mathematics education, and I serve the university community and the community of practicing teachers and educators.
• National Author with the McGraw-Hill Companies for a series of textbooks for prospective elementary and middle grades teachers. Summer 2008 – present.
• Mathematics Department Tutor Lab Director. I hire and supervise approximately twenty undergraduate tutors and the graduate student coordinator of the lab. We serve students in mathematics courses through Calculus III, and the lab logs approximately 3000 tutoring visits each academic year. Fall 2007 – present.
• Mathematics Department Graduate Program Coordinator. My work includes planning graduate offerings, advertising and promoting the program, and advising the graduate students for the Master of Science in Mathematics Education. Fall 2008 – present.
• Faculty Athletic Representative for the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. The FAR checks and validates eligibility of student athletes. Fall 2005 – Spring 2008.
• Project NExT (New Experiences in Teaching) Director for Wisconsin, 1999 to 2001. This program is designed to support new mathematics faculty members in their roles as teachers and scholars. Each year I recruited participants and I organized two events: a three-day fall workshop and a spring luncheon and panel discussion.

Associate Professor, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. June 2002–Present. Courses taught include Euclidean and Non-Euclidean Geometry, Calculus, Discrete Mathematics, Linear Algebra, Topology,Geometry and Measurement for Elementary Teachers, Data Analysis and Statistics for Elementary Teachers, Business Calculus, Liberal Arts Mathematics, Precalculus, College Algebra. Visiting Scholar, Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, Berkeley, California. Fall 2004. Participated in part of a semester-long program on Hyperplane Arrangements through University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Sabbatical. Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. Fall 1996–June 2002.



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