Elizabeth (Betty) Phillips

  • 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

    Elizabeth (Betty) Phillips

    East Lansing, Michigan

    The career of Elizabeth (Betty) Phillips has spanned over 65 years from her first year as a teacher of mathematics and science in Wisconsin in 1958 to her continuing leadership of the Connected Mathematics Project (CMP) at Michigan State University. Supported by research and curriculum development grants through the National Science Foundation, CMP began in 1991 with the goal to design, test, and implement a National Curriculum for Middle Grades Mathematics. CMP has become one of the most widely used and influential middle school mathematics curricula in history. 

    Betty has been an author on over 50 journal articles and book chapters as well as over 100 books and monographs from the CMP project.  She has been a strong advocate of researched-based improvement in the continual development of the CMP curriculum. She has given more than 300 invited presentations at professional meetings and conferences and has facilitated hundreds of workshops for teachers and teacher educators. She has also been a member of numerous NCTM committees, including chairing the NCTM Algebra Task Force. Her tireless devotion to mathematics education, particularly at the middle school level, has had, and continues to have, a tremendous influence on the field.

    Betty's greatest gift to mathematics education has been her passion and commitment to classroom mathematics teachers and to graduate students. She has mentored thousands of teachers, hundreds of young researchers, and dozens of graduate students as they begin their careers. Over 70 scholars have completed their dissertations based on CMP materials, and more than 50 graduate students have been directly supported by working with Betty and other CMP team members. Her professional development conferences and workshops provide effective teacher learning, promote teachers' positive self-images, and support teachers' mathematical growth. Her respect for students and teachers as “knowers, thinkers and doers” of mathematics is truly inspirational.

    In 1999 the United States Department of Education's Math and Science Expert Panel awarded “Exemplary Status” to CMP, the only middle school curriculum to receive that designation. In 2008, Betty and Glenda Lappan received the International Society for Design and Development in Education Award for Excellence in Instructional Design.