For his many sustainable and replicable contributions to mathematics and mathematics education, the American Mathematical Society Committee on Education awarded Darryl Yong ’96 the 2020 AMS Award for Impact on the Teaching and Learning of Mathematics.
Mathematics professor and Mathematics Clinic director at Harvey Mudd College, Yong is an accomplished mathematician who has written six books and several research papers that have appeared in top applied math and physics journals. He is also a prominent researcher in math education, with a scholarly focus on active and inquiry-based learning, inclusive pedagogy and training of high school math teachers.
“I am truly honored to receive this award and humbled to be included among the other award recipients,” Yong says. “The efforts for which I’m being recognized are/were collaborative efforts made possible by supportive and wonderful colleagues across many institutions.”
Since coming to Harvey Mudd in 2003, Yong has become an expert on inquiry-based learning methods. He participated in a four-year controlled study of flipped classroom instruction supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), which led to several research articles in conference proceedings and peer-reviewed journals.
In 2007, Yong started a nonprofit professional development organization for math teachers called Math for America Los Angeles (MfA LA). This program has supported over 200 high school math and computer science teachers with multiyear fellowships for salary supplements, in addition to providing professional development opportunities and a supportive community.
Yong is the primary author of four National Science Foundation (NSF) Robert Noyce Scholarship Grants that have raised over $12 million for MfA LA. Yong spent a sabbatical year teaching high school mathematics in the Los Angeles Unified School District and wrote about it in a 2012 Notices article titled “Adventures in Teaching: A Professor Goes to High School to Learn about Teaching Math.” He has also worked with the Teacher Leadership Program at the IAS/Park City Mathematics Institute since 2007 and has co-taught a math course for elementary and secondary math teachers that led to a book series published by the AMS containing teacher development materials that use a problem-based approach.
Yong is regarded by his colleagues as a gifted teacher who will continue to have a profound influence on how students and teachers perceive mathematics. In particular, he was the founding director of the Claremont Colleges Center for Teaching and Learning and served as the associate dean for diversity at Harvey Mudd from 2011 to 2016.
Before joining the faculty at Harvey Mudd, Yong was a von Kármán Instructor at Caltech where he received its ASCIT Teaching Award in 2002. He also received a Pomona Unified School District Community Service Award in 2012 and the Mathematical Association of America Southern California–Nevada Section Teaching Award in 2017.
Established by the AMS Committee on Education in 2013, the Award for Impact on the Teaching and Learning of Mathematics is given annually by the committee to a mathematician (or group of mathematicians) who has made significant contributions of lasting value to mathematics education.
“I am especially grateful to my colleagues at Harvey Mudd College for nominating me and supporting me in my work,” says Yong. “I am grateful to Kenneth I and Mary Lou Gross and the AMS for their support of mathematics education at the pre-college and college levels.”