Dietiker selected for 2022 Metcalf Award for Excellence in Teaching

Leslie Dietiker, recipient of the 2022 Boston University Metcalf Award for Excellence in Teaching Leslie Dietiker has always been a problem solver.

It started in her first high school mathematics classroom in San Francisco. Fresh out of college—where she had been a mathematics major—Dietiker joined a school that was losing two math teachers a month. While most teachers might have packed their bags and looked for another district, Dietiker had simply found a problem to solve.

“I had no experience with students who were highly at risk,” she says. “It was the most challenging teaching experience I’ve had—but a very formative one at that.”

Dietiker, an associate professor of mathematics education at BU Wheelock, was honored this week with Boston University’s Metcalf Award for Excellence in Teaching for 2022. Her willingness to dive in to address a challenge is just one of the qualities that led to her nomination and ultimate selection.

Each year, the Provost’s Faculty Teaching Awards Committee selects up to two Metcalf Award winners who embody the University’s commitment to excellence in teaching. Nominees are judged on their excellence in teaching in the context of a research institute; challenge and ambition; engagement; and thoughtful evaluation of student work.

“It is no surprise to any of her colleagues that Dr. Dietiker was selected for this year’s Metcalf Award for Excellence in Teaching,” says David J. Chard, dean of BU Wheelock. “Leslie was a classroom teacher before becoming an internationally recognized expert on mathematics education.  So she takes teaching very, very seriously. In fact her scholarship is focused on the complex interactions amongst teachers, learners, and mathematical knowledge in classrooms.  She brings the same intense curiosity to her own teaching as she prepares professionals to work with students in our public school classrooms. We are very fortunate to have her as a colleague here at BU Wheelock!”

Dietiker taught in San Francisco for 17 years before pursuing a doctorate in mathematics education at Michigan State University. She joined Boston University in 2012, certain that she would spend the rest of her career as a researcher.

“When I came to BU Wheelock, I saw myself a researcher, but then I met the students and all bets were off.”

Today, Dietiker works with both undergraduate and graduate students, preparing them to be the math educators of tomorrow. “I am just blown away by the quality of inquiry and the willingness to try new things.”

Her goal, she says, is to help her students learn how to make mathematics so compelling to their own students that they can’t help but engage. “We want our students to look at the world as that can be solved.”

BU Wheelock’s last Metcalf Award winner was Carol Jenkins, who received the honor in 2013.