Marian Small   2004 President's Medal Recipient

Marian Small was recently described by one of her colleagues in the Faculty of Education as "an educational crusader." For more than 30 years, Dr. Small has carried on her crusade with integrity, intelligence and vigour, helping to positively shape the educational community at the University of New Brunswick and beyond. She has had significant influence on the educational system from primary through graduate school.

Dr. Small began her career at UNB in 1973 and since that time, has been involved in teaching and scholarship related to mathematics and mathematics education. Dr. Small worked tirelessly to help develop a coherent and comprehensive program in mathematics education at UNB. Her students speak highly not only of her classroom teaching, but also of her high standards and sensitivity to their concerns. As one recently wrote, "I listened and learned so very much from her. But probably more important to my development as a mathematics educator, she listened to me."

The focus of Dr. Small's scholarly work has been the development of text materials for students of mathematics in public schools. It would be difficult to overestimate the influence the textbooks she has coauthored have had on mathematics teaching and learning. They have been adopted by jurisdictions in Canada (in both English and French), the United States, and Australia. The publisher of her current series writes, "Marian's work has touched tens of thousands of Canadian children across Canada, helping them to experience mathematics as a connected, worthwhile and engaging subject."

In addition to her service on key University bodies, including the Senate and Board of Governors, Dr. Small has provided significant administrative leadership at UNB serving as Department Chair (twice), Acting Associate Dean, Acting Dean, Dean, and Acting Vice-President (Academic). She receives high praise for her work in these areas from faculty colleagues and support staff. In describing her work as Dean, one faculty member said, "I have been particularly impressed with her tireless and successful efforts to establish a higher profile for the Faculty of Education both within and beyond the UNB community." Members of the support staff describe her as meticulous, kind, generous, and fair. In the words of one, "she is one great administrator."

In addition to her exemplary service inside UNB, Dr. Small has played an important role in the education community in New Brunswick. She served two terms on the District 18 School Board and has been instrumental in the development of both school mathematics curricula and the provincial system of mathematics assessment. The Assistant Director of Evaluation for the Department of Education recently said, "we value the expertise, guidance and leadership which she has brought to elementary and middle level mathematics test development and scoring sessions since their inception almost a decade ago."

Perhaps Dr. Small's most important contribution to mathematics education in the province has been through the Mathematics Education Centre which she founded 13 years ago and continues to direct. The centre has been active in curriculum, materials and teacher development and, in the words of a mathematics supervisor from District 16, "provides major support to mathematics teachers throughout the province."

Marian Small is indeed an educational crusader and both UNB and the province of New Brunswick are the better for it.

Presented by Alan Sears
Professor of Education
March 26, 2004