Additional Convocation Medal Award Winners

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Dr. Michael Pruner receives Dean’s Convocation Medal

As one of SFU's most outstanding graduate students from the Faculty of Education, Dr. Michael Pruner is recognized with the Dean of Graduate Studies Convocation Medal. On behalf of SFU, we congratulate Dr. Pruner on his outstanding achievements.

June 04, 2024

For his PhD dissertation, Complexity and Collaborative Problem Solving, Dr. Michael Pruner studied how students solve problems in high school mathematics classrooms. Pruner was interested in how best to support students in developing all-important problem-solving skills. His analysis of classroom video while also attending to student activity and behaviour during the problem solving process, brought him insights into this process.

This mixture of theory and practice, illustrated that problem solving is best developed in highly collaborative environments where students have access to many choices and many resources. This is the first time that shed light onto the activities and behaviours that help create problem solving in collaborative, choice-rich classroom environments, which may lead to a better understanding of how problem solving can be incorporated into other curricular areas.

In addition to his research, Pruner has publications in provincial textbooks, journals and newsletters, as well as peer-reviewed academic journals; has worked with the BC Ministry of Education, is an active executive member of the BC Association of Mathematics teachers; and, delivered presentations, workshops and keynotes throughout the province as well as in Peer-reviewed conferences.

Pruner’s supervisor, Dr. Peter Liljedahl, speaks highly of Pruner’s work. Says Liljedahl, “Mike is a rising star in the field of mathematics education and the contributions of his PhD work to the field is going to have long lasting impact on what teaching and learning mathematics can and will look like in the 21st century.”

Michael is grateful for the learning experience and community fostered by the mathematics education department, and for the thoughtful guidance of his advisor, Dr. Peter Liljedahl. Says Pruner, “It is such an honour to win this award, as it validates the hard work and my educational journey over the past 5 years at SFU.”

Pruner continues to work with the North Vancouver School District as a classroom teacher and school Teacher Leader, with Simon Fraser University as a sessional instructor for pre-service teachers, and with teachers all over BC striving for excellence in mathematics education.

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