Faculty duo presents in Australia

allan and connie yarema

A commitment to scholarly research brought the husband and wife faculty tandem of Dr. Allan Yarema and Dr. Connie Yarema to the heart of the Outback. The Yaremas presented at a mathematics conference in Alice Springs, Australia, this summer - and along the way they had a little fun.

"We found a place that is drier, windier and more arid than West Texas," Allan quipped.

They visited a reptile center, attended an Australian barbie and even held a koala bear. But amongst the wonders down under, the Yaremas were expanding their expertise.

Researching misconceptions

Allan, an associate professor of history and interim department chair, and his wife Connie, a professor of mathematics, completed a study and authored a paper analyzing the relationship between K-12 teachers and those in higher education. The paper focused on learning communities and how each group viewed the other. The Yaremas found that college-level educators often believe they are in community with K-12 educators, while K-12 educators often believe the opposite.

"We have the idea that everyone is working together in community, but that's not always the case," Connie said.

For the Yaremas, scholarly research is an integral part of being an ACU faculty member - even with the university's commitment to being a teaching institution. Both Allan and Connie have participated in research projects with support from ACU, and both believe they have grown through their research experiences.

"We are still a teaching university, but scholarship among faculty members is valued," Connie said. "As the university tries to move to a new tier it is increasingly important."

Global benefit to students

However, the Yaremas believe the chance to research and present their work around the globe is beneficial not only to themselves - but also to their students.

"It does help inform your teaching," Allan said. "You do this research and present or publish it, and it can be passed on to your students. At ACU we use it to keep them informed. It fulfills the mission of ACU to be global."

The Yaremas pride themselves on the integration of their research into the classroom. They believe exposure to research gives ACU students an upper hand in the classroom and eventually in the job market.

"I had one student do research based on my work and it helped her get a job," Connie said. "Bringing my experiences in research to the classroom pushes my students to go beyond the status quo and go out and become leaders."

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