William Speer in a red pollo shirt.

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William Renwick Speer, Ph.D.

Emeritus Professor and Director, Mathematics Learning Center

Math Learning Center


William R. Speer is the Emeritus Director of the UNLV Mathematics Learning Center, and an Emeritus Professor of Mathematics Education at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He retired from UNLV in 2022. During his 27 years at UNLV he also served as Interim Dean of the College of Education from 2009-2013. He was also designated as an Emeritus Professor of Mathematics and Computer Education in 1996 after 25 years of service at Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio. Speer has been a Fulbright Senior Lecturer to the Bahamas, a Fulbright Scholar to England, a USAID Fellow to Malawi, and a Visiting Professor at Northern Arizona University's Science and Mathematics Learning Center. His B.S. and M.S. Ed. degrees were achieved at Northern Illinois University in 1969 and 1971 while his Ph.D. was earned at Kent State University in 1976. Speer is a Past President of several professional organizations including the Research Council on Mathematics Learning, the School Science and Mathematics Association, the Ohio Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the Ohio Mathematics Education Leadership Council, the Nevada Mathematics Council (two terms), and the Nevada Association of Teacher Educators (two terms). He is also an Alumni Fellow of the Council of Scientific Society Presidents. He has served on the Mathematics and Statistics Advisory Committee for the College Board, served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Washington, D.C. based Triangle Coalition of Business, Government, and Education and, he served as a member of the Board of Directors of WestEd, a prominent national research, development, and service agency.

Speer was a member of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Commission that released the landmark publication entitled Professional Standards for Teaching Mathematics and was a major author on the revised NCTM teaching standards. He has also served NCTM as the Chairman of the Affiliated Services Committee, as the Chairman of the Board of the Mathematics Education Trust. Speer was the General Editor for the NCTM annual yearbooks covering 2011-13, has been a contributing author on six major books, and has authored numerous articles in various professional journals. He has served as editor of the IDEAS section for the Arithmetic Teacher journal and editor of the "Investigations" section of Teaching Children Mathematics journal. He has also served on the Editorial Board for the research journal FOCUS on the Learning and Teaching of Mathematics (now renamed as INVESTIGATIONS in Mathematics Learning). Speer was the primary author of the Wiley text, TODAY'S MATHEMATICS: Concepts, Classroom Methods and Instructional Activities, which culminated a 45-year publication run with its twelfth edition, focusing on content/teaching methods for the elementary and middle grades.

Speer has been the recipient of college and university-wide teaching, research, and service major awards at both Bowling Green State University and the University of Nevada Las Vegas. He is the recipient of the Golden Anniversary Distinguished Alumni Award from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences from Northern Illinois University and a member of the Kent State University Hall of Fame and recipient of the KSU College of Education, Health and Human Services Distinguished Alumni Award. His service has been recognized by his selection for the Christofferson-Fawcett Award for Lifetime Achievement in Mathematics Education and the Mallinson Award for Distinguished Contributions to Mathematics and Science Education. In 2018, Speer was honored by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics as the recipient of their Lifetime Achievement Award.

Speer has lectured/consulted extensively throughout the United States, and 44 countries on six continents. Perhaps most importantly, he has classroom experience at each grade level, P-20, and enjoys sharing and learning about how research informs teachers and how the classroom lends itself to generative studies of the teaching/learning of mathematics.

Research Expertise

Math education, international education/studies, mathematical problem-solving, professional development, standards, testing