Herbel-Eisenmann named leader of MSU’s mathematics education programming

August 30, 2022

Beth Herbel-Eisenmann has been named director of the Program in Mathematics Education (PRIME) and the Mathematics Education graduate program director as of August 16, 2022. 

Herbel-Eisenmann received her Ph.D. in Curriculum, Teaching and Educational Policy from MSU in 2000. She served as assistant professor at various universities before returning to MSU in 2008, where she now is a professor in the Department of Teacher Education and a faculty member in the mathematics education unit.  

Beth Herbel-Eisenmann (center) discusses mathematics practices with a local teacher (2019). Herbel-Eisenmann led the Mathematics Discourse in Secondary Classrooms collaboration, which was featured in the New Educator magazine.

“I returned to Michigan State after being in academia for seven years because of the quality of the teacher education and Ph.D. programs,” said Herbel-Eisenmann. “[I also noted] the opportunities to work with many amazing students and the really exceptional faculty.” 

Herbel-Eisenmann is an active contributor to the PRIME program, a collaboration between the Colleges of Natural Science and Education.  

She co-designed and taught the introductory PRIME proseminar courses for incoming students; chaired and served on the curriculum, comprehensive exam, and colloquium committees; mentored and graduated many mathematics education students; and served on many other doctoral student guidance committees for PRIME and the Department of Teacher Education. 

Herbel-Eisenmann also has sustained a substantive record of contributions to the field of mathematics education and cumulative record of academic leadership.  

For almost two decades, she has been consistently funded by the National Science Foundation and has managed large research projects, budgets and personnel. She has published in every major mathematics education journal and many teacher education and education journals. She has co-edited four books and given numerous invited and peer-reviewed talks. Using participatory approaches to research, she has had three long-term research partnerships with mathematics teacher-researchers.  


Nationally, she has chaired the research committee for the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics; served on and chaired the editorial panel for the Journal for Research in Mathematics Education (JRME); was editor for a JRME monograph series; and was elected to the board for the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (AMTE) and SIG-Research in Mathematics Education. In 2010, she was awarded the Early Career Award from AMTE. From 2015-2022, she was involved in and co-led AMTE’s Service, Teaching and Research (STaR) national mentoring program for first- and second- year faculty in mathematics education.  

Internationally, she has co-organized a Topic Study Group on Communication and Language for the International Congress on Mathematics Education and has served on the International Advisory Board and is the current convener for the Mathematics Education and Society. Her international research collaborations include projects in Canada and Norway. 

From 2019-2022, she was on assignment at the National Science Foundation where she ran review panels and handled a portfolio of grants from three different programs (Early CAREER awards, Division for Research on K12 [DRK12] and ECR Core) within the Division for Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings. She was also part of a cross-directorate team who developed and launched the first Racial Equity in STEM program for the Educational and Human Resources (EHR) Directorate. 

“The people involved in PRIME have done some great work together so far,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to working with the amazing doctoral students, faculty and staff to collaboratively generate some guiding principles for PRIME that might take us in some new and exciting directions. I’m also hoping we can guide this work through a strong consideration of equitable practices and policies to create spaces that allow everyone to thrive and doctoral students to become who they most wish to be through our graduate program.” 

Herbel-Eisenmann replaces Ralph Putnam, who was a faculty member in both mathematics education and the College of Education’s Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology and Special Education. Putnam was PRIME’s director from 2019-22 and retired from MSU in August after more than 35 years of service to the university.  

Putnam noted, “I’m delighted that Beth has stepped forward to provide leadership for PRIME and am confident that she brings many gifts and perspectives to work together with the PRIME community, nurturing and growing together.”     

He continued, “It has been an honor to be a part of the PRIME community all these years and to serve as director for the past three and a half years. I so value the commitment, energy and love that students, faculty and staff bring to this scholarly mathematics education community.” 

This story was adapted from one written by Lisa Keller posted on the PRIME website. It is adjusted and posted here with permission.