Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

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Friel, Susan

Professor of Mathematics Education

T: 919.962.6605
F: 919.843.2614
201B Peabody Hall
CB 3500

“My mission is to empower others to make sense of mathematics. What is it about the teaching and learning of mathematics that keeps people from experiencing confidence and success in their abilities? How is it possible for people to claim, almost with pride, ‘I never could do mathematics,’ or to feel such fear that they experience severe anxiety when learning mathematics? What is it that I can do to change these circumstances?”

– Susan Friel


A former elementary and middle grades classroom teacher, Susan N. Friel teaches in diverse programs: Elementary Education; Middle Grades Education; Curriculum and Instruction; Culture, Curriculum and Change; and the Master of Education Program for Experienced Teachers. Friel is particularly interested in the design of effective mathematics/mathematics education curricula. Each course she teaches is an ongoing research and development project. Her work extends to development of students’ statistical knowledge, professional development of teachers including a self-study of her own practice, early childhood mathematics education, and exploring what it means to teach and learn mathematics. Her more recent research in early childhood mathematics education has been motivated by her curriculum study of middle grades.

Friel is the co-author of three published curricula: Used Numbers, a statistics and data analysis program for K-5 students; Teach-Stat Project, a professional development program in statistics and data analysis for elementary teachers; and the Connected Mathematics Program, a middle grades 6-8 mathematics curriculum. Friel is active professionally on the national and local levels through a variety of mathematics education organizations including the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators and the North Carolina Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

Educational Background

  • Ed.D. 1983 - Boston University, Mathematics Education
  • M.Ed. 1974 - Lesley College, Independent Study Masters Program - Elementary Mathematics Specialist
  • B.A. 1967 - Elmira College, Economics, Business Administration

Doctoral Program Affiliation(s)

Ed.D. in Curriculum & Instruction

Research Interests

  • Early Childhood Mathematics Education
  • Middle Grades Mathematics Education
  • Teacher Professional Development
  • Statistics Education, K-8

Teaching Areas

  • Mathematics Education, K-8


  • EDUC 512: Teaching Mathematics in Elementary Education
  • EDUX 616: Teaching and Differentiation
  • EDUX 695: Designing Problem Tasks for Mathematics
  • EDUX 727: Topics in Algebra
  • EDUX 794: Developing Mathematical Knowledge
  • EDUX 796: Problem-Based Learning in Mathematics

Honors & Awards

  • Awarded 2007 North Carolina Council of Teachers of Mathematics Innovator Award
  • Elected 2004 to the Mathematics Hall of Fame of the Association of Teachers of Mathematics in Massachusetts

Funded Research

  • 2009-current, Project Director, Targeting essential understandings: Mapping students’ mathematics knowledge K-3, RTSP Grant for working with K-3 teachers at Efland Cheeks Elementary School in Orange County.
  • 2008-2009, Project Director, Exploring practices to promote inquiry learning in middle grades mathematics, RTSP Grant for working with Middle Grades Mathematics teachers in Orange County Schools.
  • 2007-current, Project Director, Pilot study: Relating mathematics curricula, implementation and learning outcomes: What happens at the end of Grade 2?, University Research Grant that permitted piloting of protocol end-of-year assessment interview. Two graduate students participated (Tracy Johnson and Catharina Ringer); study was content of Master’s Thesis for T. Johnson.
  • 2007-2008, Project Director, Framing mathematics teaching as purposeful pedagogy, RTSP Grant for working with 2nd and 3rd grade teachers at Efland Cheeks/Central Elementary Schools.
  • 2000-2006, Co-Principal Investigator, Connect mathematics phase II: A proposal for research and curriculum revision of the Connected Mathematics Project Middle Grades Program.
  • 1999-2005, CMP Curriculum Collaborator, Tinker plots: Tools and curricula for data analysis in the middle school.

Selected Professional Affiliations

  • American Education Research Association
  • Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators
  • National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
  • National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics
  • North Carolina Council of Teachers of Mathematics

Selected Publications

Friel, S., Arbaugh, F., Mooney, E. Pugalee, D., and Watanabe, T. (2009). Navigating through Reasoning and Proof 6-8. Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

Leavy, A. Friel, S. N. and Mamer, J. (2009). It’s a Fird!: Why can’t you find the median of categorical data? Mathematics teaching in the middle school, 14: 344-351.

Friel, S. N., Gunter, T. and Ringer, C. (2009). In my time – Learning to think in tens and ones (75-88). In D. Y. White & J. S. Spitzer (Eds.) Mathematics for every student: Responding to diversity, Grades Pre-K-5. Reston, VA: NCTM.

Smith, M. & Friel, S. N. (Eds.) (2008). Cases in mathematics teacher education: Tools for developing knowledge needed for teaching. San Diego, CA: Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators.

Friel, S. (2007). The research frontier: Where technology interacts with the teaching and learning of data analysis and statistics. In G.W. Blume & M.K. Heid (Eds.), Research on technology and the teaching and learning of mathematics: Cases and perspectives, Volume 2 (pp. 279-331). Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing, Inc.

Friel, S. N., O’Connor, W., & Mamer, J. D. (2006). More than “meanmedianmode” and a bar graph: What’s needed to have a statistical conversation? In G. Burrill (Ed.) Thinking and reasoning with data and chance (NCTM Yearbook – 2006) (pp. 117-137). Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

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