Gloria Ford Gilmer





Gloria Ford earned a B.S. in mathematics from Morgan State University where she was a student of Clarence Stephens. Then she earned an M.A. in mathematics from the University of Pennsylvania and taught it six different HBCUs. After marriage and children an working outside of the university for a few years, Gloria Ford Gilmer earned a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from Marquette University. She has taught in the public schools and at several colleges and universities. Dr. Gilmer was the first Black female on the board of governors of the Mathematical Association of America (1980-82). She has also served as a Research associate with the U.S. Department of Education. She was the first woman to give the National Association of Mathematician's Cox-Talbot Address.

Dr. Gilmer is a leader in the field Ethnomathematics, and she was co-founder (1985), the first president of, and serves on the Executive Board of International Study Group on Ethnomathematics (ISGEm).

Click to read Dr. Gilmer's new paper: Using Technology to Explore Mathematical Patterns in African American Hairstyles

What is ethnomathematics?

The term was coined by Ubiratan D'Ambrosio to describe the mathematical practices of identifiable cultural groups. It is sometimes used specifically for small-scale indigenous societies, but in its broadest sense the "ethno" prefix can refer to any group -- national societies, labor communities, religious traditions, professional classes, and so on. Mathematical practices include not only formal symbolic systems, but also spatial designs, practical construction techniques, calculation methods, measurement in time and space, specific ways of reasoning and inferring, and other cognitive and material activities. There is now ample evidence that people in all societies devise their own way of doing mathematics, independantly of their technological level or what they may have learned in school. ISGEm strives to increase our understanding of the cultural diversity of mathematical practices, and to apply this knowledge to education and development..

Currently Gloria Gilmer is president of Math-Tech, a corporation that translates research findings into effective programs of mathematics education, especially for women and minorities.

I earned my master's degree from The University of Pennsylvania and doctorate from Marquette University. I spent a year in the doctoral program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I was very strong there. I made all A's. However, a marriage, children, and the necessity to earn a living caused me to leave U.W.

It should be noted that even though her Ph.D. is in Education Administration, she is co-author (under her maiden name Gloria C. Ford) of mathematics research articles. These were the first two (non-Ph.D. thesis) articles published by an African American woman:

(with Luna I. Mishoe) On the limit of the coefficients of the eigenfunction series associated with a certain non-self-adjoint differential system , Proc. Amer. Math. Soc. 7 (1956), 260--266.

(with Luna I. Mishoe) On the uniform convergence of a certain eigenfunction series , Pacific J. Math. 6 (1956), 271--278.

I had help from Gloria Gilmer in preparing this web page.


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