Wayne State University

Jennifer M. Lewis

Jennifer M. Lewis
Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education and Director of TeachDETROIT
211 College of Education

Office Hours: By appointment.

(313) 577-1765
(313) 577-4091

  •  Ph.D., Teacher education and mathematics education, 2007, University of Michigan
  • M.A., Educational psychology, University of California, Berkeley, 1985
  • B.A., Development studies, University of California, Berkeley, 1984
  • Teacher certification in multiple subjects, English, Social Studies


I conduct research in mathematics teacher education, and teach courses in teacher preparation and the study of teacher preparation.  I provide professional development for Detroit teachers in public, charter, and private schools. In addition, I direct the TeachDETROIT program http://coe.wayne.edu/teach-detroit, a new teacher education program designed specifically to prepare teachers for working in Detroit schools.

Area Of Expertise

 Teacher learning; professional development; mathematics education.

Research Interests

My work centers on how teachers learn about teaching and learn mathematics from and for their daily work. I study the practices that lead to equitable outcomes in mathematics learning for all children, and what it takes for teachers to be able to do that given the constraints and resources of routine classroom settings. One area of my research investigates high-quality mathematics teaching, and what we can learn from teachers who conduct high-quality instruction in high-poverty schools for children of color. I also work on observational instruments for appraising the quality of mathematics instruction, in addition to other measures of teacher knowledge and performance. Currently I lead a number of lesson study groups and am interested in studying what this type of professional development may contribute to teacher learning as distinct from other forms of professional development.

I also think of the courses I teach as a laboratory for studying teaching and learning. I am fortunate to teach courses that mirror my research interests and so the overlap between what and how I teach, with what and how I do research, is often quite synergistic.

Courses Taught

  • Teaching Mathematics to Elementary and Middle School Students, ELE 6390
  • Theoretical Perspectives on Learning Mathematics, MAE 8550
  • Teacher Learning in Mathematics, MAE 8550
  • Detroit Familes, Schools, and Community, ELE 6070
  • Clinical Experiences in Detroit Schools, TED 5150
  • Clinical Experiences in Detroit Schools, TED 5790

Community Engagement Activities

The elementary math methods class I teach, ELE 6390, meets weekly in a local school site where we work with children from Detroit Public Schools and local charter schools to enrich their mathematics instruction. This is also a venue for learning to teach mathematics. We hold a Family Math Night every semester so that preservice teachers can gain experience interacting with families and caregivers in the context of conducting engaging mathematics activities for the children at the school and their families.


Project REALM (Realizing Equity and Achievement for Learning Mathematics
2016 - 2018
Award: $727,636 - This project increases Detroit student achievement in mathematics by improving elementary and middle school teachers’ mathematics knowledge and pedagogical skill for teaching mathematics. Through intensive work with school leaders and teachers, Project REALM supports teachers in facilitating equitable, meaningful, transferable mathematics learning. Teachers participate in two summers of rigorous content knowledge training in mathematics; they then take part in professional learning community work in the form of “lesson study” to integrate innovative instructional practices and novel content knowledge into their teaching. Teachers' expanded content knowledge and the relationship of that knowledge to their instructional practice is studied in this project, as well as the growth of the lesson study facilitators over time.
Noyce Mathematics Fellows: TeachDETROIT
2015 - 2020
Award: $1,427,463 - The Noyce Mathematics Cohort, TeachDETROIT will recruit and train 12 to 20 STEM majors each year at Wayne State University, with our community college partner, Henry Ford College. These candidates will become elementary and middle school math teachers in Detroit schools as part of an urban teacher residency program, and will earn the additional designation of elementary mathematics specialists. The grant also investigates the specialized knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed to be an excellent teacher for high-poverty children of color in Detroit schools.
Detroit STEM Teaching Initiative
2015 - 2017
Award: $85,000 - This grant supports the development of a laboratory for studying mathematics teaching and learning in Detroit schools, bringing together school administrators, experienced teachers, preservice teachers and teacher educators to investigate the role of coaching in improving instruction.
Mathematics Enhancement for Detroit Area Teachers (MEDeATe)
2013 - 2015
Award: $239,907 - The Mathematics Enhancement for Detroit Area Teachers (MEDeATe) Project works to identify high-quality mathematics teachers in Detroit area schools, and then builds from these pockets of excellence towards systemic improvement at scale. MEDeATe begins by studying what successful teachers do in high-poverty high-needs urban schools and capitalizes on their strengths to build a cadre of outstanding mathematics teachers in the Detroit environment.
Improving Proportional Reasoning Instruction through eNgineering Tasks (IMPRINT)
2013 - 2015
Award: $504,625 - This grant supported research into teachers' understanding of proportional reasoning through the use of engineering tasks for middle school students.
Understanding Consequential Assessment Systems of Teaching
2012 - 2015
Award: $548,970 - This grant supports the study of 1600 school principals in a large urban school district who will create consequential ratings of teachers. The study focuses particularly on the implementation of observational evaluations and how and whether these can be deployed to improve instruction.

Awards & Honors

Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award Nominee, Wayne State University
Faculty Research Award Recipient, Wayne State University College of Education
Kathleen Reilly Koory Endowed Faculty Development Award Recipient, Wayne State University


Lewis, J.M.   2016 ZDM Mathematics Education 4 527–540
Lewis, J.M., and Ozgun-Koca, S.   2016 Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School 22(2) 108-113
Lewis, J. M., Fischman, D., Riggs, M.   2015 Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education 18(5) 447-465
Transforming textbook lessons
Lewis, J.M.   2013 Mathematics in Michigan 1 14-17
Lewis, J.M., Fischman, D., Riggs, I., & Wasserman, K.   2013 The Mathematics Enthusiast 10(3) p. 583-620
Reading between the lines: Teaching linear algebra
Lewis, J. M., & Blunk, M. L.   2012 Journal of Curriculum Studies 44 515-536
Measuring the mathematical quality of instruction
Learning Mathematics for Teaching Project   2011 Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education
Designing and using tasks to teach mathematical knowledge for teaching
Suzuka, K., Sleep, L., Ball, D. L., Bass, H., Lewis, J. M., & Thames, M.   2010 Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators Monograph 4 7-23
Lewis, J. M., & Ball, D. L.   2009 The next twenty-five years? Affirmative action and higher education in the United States and South Africa
Lewis, J. M.   2008 Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, Monograph 14 1-12
Ball, D. L., Lewis, J. M., & Thames, M.   2008 Journal of Research in Mathematics Education Monograph 14 13-44
Hill, H. C., Blunk, M., Charalambous, C., Lewis, J. M., Phelps, G. C., Sleep, L., & Ball, D. L.   2008 Cognition and Instruction 26(4) 430-511
Hill, H. C., Sleep, L., Lewis, J. M., & Ball, D. L.   2007 Handbook of Research on Mathematics Education 1 111-156