Dianna Galante Math Endowment Fund
For more than 40 years she has taught and advocated for those who want to teach math, serving in various roles, including high school and college instructor, as well as Academic Advisor and Coordinator for Mathematics at Governors State.
Like an algebra champ, Dr. Galante has been constantly reworking the equation to solve for the missing variable: well-trained mathematics graduates.
Now set to retire, Galante remains committed to aspiring math teachers. In celebration of Galante’s legacy, the university is continuing the Math Education Endowment Fund, which Galante began with $1,000 of her own money shortly after she arrived at Governors State. The fund supports Math Education students during their full-time student teaching semester.
It's an annual tradition she's continued and proudly points to the return on her $13,000 investment.
“We have graduates teaching in just about every high school in the South Suburbs, in Chicago, and beyond,’’ said Galante, whose joy is apparent when she discusses the success of students she has shepherded through the university's nationally recognized Mathematics Program since 2007.
Over her 13 years at Governors State, Galante helped transform the Mathematics Department from five students in one program, to a destination for learning mathematics that today includes seven program offerings. Galante herself has been widely recognized as well, winning the prestigious Faculty Excellence Award in 2012.
Still, she prefers to discuss the subject she has loved since she was a girl growing up on the South Side of Chicago. From the beginning, Galante excelled in Mathematics and earned three advanced degrees, including two master’s degrees in Educational Technology and Mathematics and a Ph.D. in Mathematics Education.
GSU Newsroom: In 2016, you championed a new program, the Master of Science degree in Mathematics, that helps professionals with technical backgrounds, such as engineering and finance, become teachers. Why was this important to you?
Galante: This program allows graduates to earn a degree in Mathematics, in addition to an Illinois teacher license in Mathematics for grades 9 through 12. This gives these professionals credit for what they’ve already done. For years, the only option was for them to earn a second bachelor’s in Mathematics and then they’d have to student teach. This is more efficient.
It’s important because when someone brings real world experience to the classroom, they make fantastic teachers. With an engineering background, a teacher can tell you where you are going to use your trigonometry and why you need to be able to calculate log rhythms – or why calculus is important for someone thinking about a career in finance. Their real world experience makes the learning more authentic for students.
GSU Newsroom: As someone who has been in the industry 40 years, can you speculate on the persistent demand for math teachers?
Galante: Nationally, mathematics is the subject area with the highest demand for teachers. Currently, in 48 of 50 states including Illinois and all surrounding states, there is a critical shortage of licensed mathematics teachers. I believe the contributing reasons are a combination of things including low salaries compared to other professions that mathematics graduates can choose; a negative perception surrounding teaching; and the added expense passed on to teacher candidates related to testing for the Illinois teaching license.
GSU Newsroom: GSU’s Math Program has been nationally recognized. As Program Coordinator, what are your greatest rewards?
Galante: Our rewards revolve around students securing wonderful jobs. Every one of our teacher graduates in the last four years has been able obtain a full time teaching job in mathematics. Some who have graduated from the master’s program are teachers at local community colleges, and one is at the University of Wisconsin. Our first graduate from the Mathematics Actuarial Science Master’s Program passed the exam and secured a fantastic position as an actuary in an investment company in downtown Chicago. Students come through our program and go where they want. We're proud of that.
Also, both our undergraduate and graduate programs have a high percentage of minority students, compared to other universities’ Mathematics programs.
Contribute to the Dianna Galante Math Endowment Fund to support future math teachers here.