A Directed Reading Program is a one-on-one mathematics mentoring program in which graduate students mentor undergrads in term-time or summer reading projects.
Established in 2003.
Initiated at the University of Chicago by two graduate students, DRPs now run at 17 institutions across the country -- most founded through grassroots efforts of DRP alumni. Together, these DRPs constitute the DRP Network.
As well as the obvious benefit to undergrads from one-on-one attention, we believe that DRPs can have a major impact on broadening participation in math by fostering individuals' increased self-identity as a mathematician while providing a credential for acceding to higher levels in math. This applies to the mentors as much as the mentees.
How it Works
All DRPs are run by graduate students, with a faculty member for oversight and continuity. A committee of graduate students selects undergraduate participants from a pool of applications, and then pairs graduate students with one or two undergraduate participants. Graduate and undergraduate pairs work on a short-term reading assignment over the course of an academic term or summer.
Outcomes for Students
By giving undergraduates individual attention, and by focusing on reading rather than research, the Directed Reading Program Network provides opportunities for fundamental skill-building. Further, the program organizers strongly believe that the work conducted within DRPs can help mitigate mechanisms that promote long-standing stigmas- especially those surrounding underrepresented groups in mathematics- that are often triggered in traditional classroom settings.
Support & Future Development
Supported by an NSF EHR/DUE grant, we are developing the national DRP Network to facilitate information-sharing for new and existing programs through an initial workshop and online resource center. Our goal is to provide suggestions for projects and materials for running the program, offer seed funding for new DRPs, and employ an education researcher to study the mechanisms and measurable outcomes of participation.
Mark Behrens, Moon Duchin, Kathryn Mann, Candice Price, Felipe Ramirez, Gigliola Staffilani, and Bena Tshishiku.