CV-brief resume


Retired from: Department of Mathematics, Towson University 8000 York Road, Towson MD 21252-0001

Home: 854 Bosley Ave, Towson MD 21204-2610 [phone: +1-410-825-1328]

e-mail:       internet:

Professional Experience


Professor Emeritus (2016-), Mathematics Department, Towson University (Professor, 1995-2015; Associate Professor,1995-2001; Assistant Professor,1989-95)

Acting/Associate Dean of Graduate Studies (2001-2011) Office of Graduate Studies, Towson University

Acting Chair of Mathematics Dept, 1999-2000 (Assistant Chair of Mathematics Dept, 1998-1999, 2000-2001, 2013-2015)

Graduate Program Director for Mathematics Education, 1997-2001

Acting Director, Center for Science and Mathematics Education, 1994

1988-89 Assistant Professor, Department of Mathematical Sciences, Northern Illinois University

1974-88 Senior Lecturer, Dept. of Education, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria

——Head of Mathematics Education Section, 1977-88

1969-72 Peace Corps Volunteer: Secondary Mathematics Teacher and Modern Mathematics Advisor, Bonthe and Bo, Sierra Leone

Education & Honors

Ph.D. Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria, 1984, Curriculum & Instruction in Mathematics Education (Dissertation: “Teacher Participation in Mathematics Curriculum Development and Implementation in Three Northern States of Nigeria”, DAI, 45,11, A-3275-6 (ERIC number ED250151)

M.Ed. University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 1973, Comparative & International Education

B.S. California Institute of Technology, 1969, Mathematics and History (double major)

Elected a Fellow of the Mathematical Association of Nigeria, 1992

Maryland College Teacher of the Year (Maryland Council of Teachers of Mathematics) 1997

College of Science and Mathematics Award for University and Professional Service, 2000

Administrative Responsibilities as Associate/Acting Graduate Dean (2001-11)  Coordinated administration of graduate programs (liaison to graduate program directors), curriculum changes, student issues, assessment, graduate assistantships, and special events (Commencement, orientations, etc.); represented Graduate Studies in administration and events.

Scholarship: Refereed Publications (in journals and books):

“Mathematics of students’ culture: A goal of localized ethnomathematics” in Revista Latinoamericana de Etnomatemática. 8(2), 316-325, 2015

Eight entries in Encyclopedia of Mathematics and Society, Greenwald, Sarah, and Thomley, Jill (editors), Salem Press, 2011.

“A Cyclic Pattern of Mathematics Curriculum Trends” (with Iorhemen J. Kyeleve) in Dhindsa, Harkirat et al (editors), Future Directions in Science, Mathematics and Technical Education, Universiti Brunei Darussalam, 2005.

“Thomas Fuller and his Calculation Ability” (with Sarah Greenwald and Amy Ksir) in The Centroid (Journal of the North Carolina Council of Teachers of Mathematics) 30,1(Spring 2004), pp. 15-19 [Note: through Amy Ksir, my Erdös number is 5]

“Ethnomathematics and Teacher’s Qualification–Roundtable Introduction” Second International Conference on Ethnomathematics Proceedings, 2002.

“Ethnomathematics as a Fundamental of Instructional Methodology” Zentralblatt fur Didaktik der Mathematik–International Reviews on Mathematical Education, issue 2001/3 (June 2001)

“A Visit from Pythagoras: Using Costumes in the Classroom” Mathematics Teacher,93,8(November 2000)

“20th Century Mathematics: A Brief Review”, Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School,5,5(January 2000) (also in Portuguese in Educação e Matemática  60, Nov/Dec 2000,  on-line in PDF )

“Ethnomathematics in Teacher Education” in Oliveras, M.L., Ethnomathematics and Mathematics Education: Building an Equitable Future, International Conference on Ethnomathematics I Proceedings, 1998.

“Activities from African Calendar and Time Customs”, Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School 1,8 (Jan 1996).

“Nominals: Numbers as Names”, Teaching Children Mathematics, 2,4 (December 1995) pp. 242-5.

“Mathematics for All Children: A Multicultural Race, Gender, and Class Analysis”, Race, Gender & Class, 3,1,(Fall 1995) pp.125-160 [with others].

“Using Ethnomathematics to Help Find Multicultural Mathematical Connections” in House, Peggy (ed), Connecting Mathematics across the Curriculum (1995 NCTM Yearbook).

“Nigerian Mathematics Curriculum for the Year 2000: Problems of Forecasting in Developing Countries” in Malone, J. (ed) The Mathematics Curriculum: Toward the Year 2000, 1989.

“Watching Halley’s Comet: A Special Learning Experience”, Savanna (A Journal of the Environmental and Social Sciences, Zaria, Nigeria), 9, 1.(June 1988),pp.17-22.

“Directions for School Mathematics Curricula in Nigeria”, Studies in Mathematics and Applications (Proceedings of the International Conference and Workshop on Mathematics and its Applications, 1987), Zaria, Nigeria: Institute of Education Press, Ahmadu Bello University, 1987.

“Teachers in Curriculum Development: A Case Study of Mathematics Teachers in Teachers’ Colleges of Benue, Kaduna, and Sokoto States of Nigeria”, Nigeria Educational Forum, 9, 2 (December 1986), pp. 289-292.

“History of Mathematics in Nigerian Mathematics Classrooms: Values and Problems” Abacus (Journal of the Mathematical Association of Nigeria),17,1(March 1986)pp.123-133.

Primary Mathematics for Nigerian Schools, Books 1-6. Nigeria Educational Research Council (with others) Lagos, Nigeria: Macmillan Nigeria& Heinemann Educational Books (Nigeria) 1981.

—-eight book reviews in Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School,1,1; 1,5; 3,2; 3,4; 4,1; 4,4; 5,3; 7,8 (1994-2002)

—-a book review in Journal of Mathematics and the Arts, 5,2 (June 2011)

—-four online book reviews (2004, 2006, 2007, 2009) and one webpage review (2006) in Convergence

Other Significant Publications and Writings

HIV/AIDS data in a data-processing lesson Lesson Plans for WorldView Magazine, Special Issue on HIV/AIDS,18, 2, May 2005

“Nigeria After Peace Corps Service”, Friends of Nigeria Newsletter, Winter 2003, pp 10,11.

“Sequence A061190” contribution to On-Line Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences, May 2001.

Mathematics Education Folio (compiler), NCATE Accreditation for Towson University (1999)

“Mathematics: African Style”, Australian Mathematics Teacher, 49,3, (1993) pp. 24, 25.

“2/3 of 19” in Austin, Dan Joe (editor), Applications of Secondary School Mathematics: Readings from the MATHEMATICS TEACHER, Reston VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 1991, p. 188.

Video Games for Math: A Case for `Kid Culture'”, ISGEm Newsletter–International Study Group on Ethnomathematics, 6, 2 (July 1991), pp.2,3.

“Editorial: Ethnomathematics for History in the Third World”, Newsletter of the International Study Group on the Relations between History and Pedagogy of Mathematics, vol.13, pp 2, 3, 1986.

Report of the Working Committee on the Academic Programme for the School of Science and Science Education, Federal University of Technology, Minna, Nigeria,1986 (contributor and secretary/compiler).

Conference Presentations

Most recent: –“Bringing ethnomathematics home: an ethnomathematics assignment” Fifth International Conference on Ethnomathematics (ICEM-5), Maputo, Mozambique, July 2014. –“The Work of Ethnomathematics” invited plenary speaker at the Fourth Brazilian Ethnomathematics Conference (CBEm4), November 2012
More than one hundred presentations on history of mathematics, ethnomathematics, curriculum, teacher education, etc. at International Conferences on Ethnomathematics(1998, 2002, 2006), International Congresses of Mathematical Education (1980,88,92,2000, 08, 12); Pan-African Congress of Mathematicians (1986); national meetings of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM)(1993-97;99-2006,2008, 2009) and Mathematical Association of Nigeria (1980,85,87,92); regional meetings of NCTM (1991-2004); Maryland Council of Teachers of Mathematics (1990-2009); International Studies Schools Association (2004,05), Frostburg Mathematics Symposium (1991-93), and others.  Also, many presentations at various local seminars, workshops, colloquia, and student groups.


ProfessionalInternational Study Group on Ethnomathematics (ISGEm), President of North American Chapter–NASGEm (2001-2004); NCTM Representative (1995-2001), member of Executive Board (1991-); Chief Organizer of Fourth International Conference on Ethnomathematics (July 25-30, 2010)

Co-Chair, Topic Study Group 36 (Ethnomathematics in Mathematics Education), 12th International Congress on Mathematical Education, Seoul, South Korea, July 2012

Co-Chair, Topic Study Group 38 (Ethnomathematics in Mathematics Education), 13th International Congress on Mathematical Education, Hamburg, Germany, July 2016.

member, Editorial Board of Journal of Mathematics and Culture; also, referee for other journal articles and books

Consultant, Louisiana Board of Regents, evaluation of a proposed M.S. Homeland Security degree program (2008)

Maryland State Director, American Mathematical Competitions-8, Mathematical Association of America (1991-2004); Member, Committee on Edyth May Sliffe Awards, Mathematical Association of America, (2001-2005)

Consultant, Peace Corps: Evaluation of Math/Science Education Project, Peace Corps–Cameroon (1995)

Presenter at many teacher workshops and programs for college students and school children (1971-present).

Coordinator of public education program on Halley’s Comet, featuring an exhibition, public lectures, newsletter, and observation sessions, Zaria, Nigeria (1985-6).

Reviewer/referee/consultant for numerous promotion/tenure applications at other universities (1999-present)

University and College:

Member, Middle States (Reaccreditation) Steering Committee (2007-2011 ), Chair of Subcommittee 6-D (General Education)

ex officio member, Graduate Studies Committee (2001-2011 )

Member, University Assessment Council (UAC) (2008-2011 )

Member, UAC Subcommittee on General Education Assessment (2008-2010)

Member, University General Education Sub-Committee, (1995-2006).

Member, Multicultural Institute Advisory Board and earlier similar groups, (1993-2009)

Member, University Promotions and Tenure Committee (1998-2002)(Chair 2000-01)

Member, Towson Leadership Institute, (1996-97)

Elected member of College Council, (1993-8);(Chair, 95-97; Secretary, 94-95)

Mathematics Department Representative, Teacher Education Executive Board, (1990-1999)

Mathematics Department: 

Departmental Committee Member: Self-Study, Education, Resource & Evaluation, Majors Assessment, Core Assessment, Student Welfare, Adjunct Faculty, Placement, Webpage, Colloquium

Member and Chair of several faculty search committees (1992-2004, 2013-2015)

Faculty Advisor to the Math Club (1991-97

Teaching and Supervision

Main teaching areas: history/culture/philosophy of mathematics; curriculum, instruction, and evaluation for elementary and secondary mathematics teacher education; mathematics content for elementary teachers; secondary and pre-calculus college mathematics, elementary statistics, seminar classes on teaching professionalism, etc. at Ahmadu Bello University, Northern Illinois University, Towson University (including Towson’s graduate program in Shanghai, China, 2009)

Adjunct Professor, College of Notre Dame of Maryland, (1993,1994); Hamline University, 2000.

Supervised (or assisted with)  research of six doctoral and nine masters degree candidates, Union Institute (Cincinnati OH) (1993-96), Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria (1985-88), University of Auckland (New Zealand) (2011), and the College of Education, Towson University (2012- ).

Supervised student teaching of secondary mathematics, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria, (1974-88); Towson University, (1995-1999, 2013-)


Short narrative biography

Lawrence Shirley is a mathematics educator with special interest in the history and culture of mathematics and ethnomathematics. Between 2001 and 2011, he served as Associate and Acting Dean of Graduate Studies. He is originally from Arizona and has a B.S. in mathematics and history from Caltech, an M.Ed. in comparative and international education from Illinois, and a Ph.D. in mathematics education from Ahmadu Bello University (Nigeria). After Peace Corps service as a high school mathematics teacher in Sierra Leone, he taught mathematics education at Ahmadu Bello University in Nigeria for fifteen years and was head of the mathematics education section. He was at Towson University 1989 -2015 and previously served as Assistant-Chair and Acting Chair of the Mathematics Department. He earned tenure in 1995 and was granted Professor Emeritus status in 2016.   He is a past-president of the North American Study Group on Ethnomathematics and the organizer of the Fourth International Conference on Ethnomathematics in July 2010. He was married for nearly thirty-six years to the late Alberta Ohenewah Shirley and has two grown children, Jeff Shirley and Emily Sweet, and step-daughter, Takyiwah Adisi.




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