Mariana Levin

Photo of Mariana Levin
Mariana Levin
Associate Professor
(269) 387-4592
(269) 387-4530
4421 Everett Tower, Mail Stop 5248
Mailing address: 
Department of Mathematics
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5248 USA
Office hours: 

On Sabbatical AY24

  • Ph.D., Mathematics Education, University of California, Berkeley
  • M.A., Mathematics, University of California, Berkeley
  • B.A., Mathematics, University of California, San Diego
Teaching interests: 
  • mathematics teacher education
Research interests: 
  • collegiate mathematics education
  • mathematical cognition
  • learning and conceptual change

Dr. Mariana Levin is an Associate Professor of Mathematics, specializing in Mathematics Education, in the Department of Mathematics at Western Michigan University. Her research program in mathematical cognition centers around understanding and supporting K-16 students’ productive disciplinary engagement – broadly working towards an understanding of “What makes mathematics learning experiences meaningful to students?” and “How can we support meaningful learning experiences?” She is particularly interested in the role of knowledge and epistemic affect in moment-by-moment processes of reasoning and sense-making.

Dr. Levin’s research involves adapting and elaborating a methodology for studying reasoning and learning processes that had its roots in studies of intuitive science knowledge and conceptual change, known as Knowledge Analysis.  She has used Knowledge Analysis across a wide variety of grade levels and populations: middle school students’ reasoning about algebra (Levin, 2018; Levin & Walkoe, 2022; Walkoe & Levin, 2020), pre-service elementary teachers reasoning about number and operations (Grant & Levin, 2020), instances of collegial learning as mathematics teacher educators reason together about instructional decisions (Van Zoest & Levin, 2021), secondary science students reasoning about thermodynamics (Levin, Levrini & Greeno, 2018; Levrini, Levin & Fantini, 2018; 2020), undergraduate mathematics students reasoning about abstract algebra and number theory (Karunakaran & Levin, under review), and professional civil engineers reasoning about how to shape terrain subject to practical constraints (Levin & diSessa, 2016, extending an earlier analysis of disciplined perception conducted by Stevens and Hall).

Dr. Levin’s co-edited volume “Knowledge and Interaction: A Synthetic Agenda for the Learning Sciences” (with co-editors Andy diSessa and Nathaniel Brown; published in 2016 by Routledge) explores a new line of work that connects insights from diverse research traditions on learning processes as they unfold in real-time in real-world contexts. This volume is based on collaborative research that grew out of a conference and several workshops that Dr. Levin organized around the theme of Integrating Perspectives on Knowledge and Interaction in Analyses of Learning.  Dr. Levin and colleagues obtained funding for this conference from the AERA Educational Conferences Program.

Recent work focuses on the central practice of mathematical proof, investigating a wide range of undergraduate mathematics students’ experiences of the critical transition to proof. This work is currently funded by a National Science Foundation Grant (Karunakaran, Smith & Levin). Prior work on this topic has been funded by internal SFSA and FRACAA grants from Western Michigan University.

Dr. Levin earned her Ph.D. in Science and Mathematics Education at University of California, Berkeley, where she worked with Alan Schoenfeld and Andy diSessa.  She subsequently held a postdoctoral research position in the Program in Mathematics Education (PRIME) at Michigan State University and was a visitor to the Physics Education Research Group led by Olivia Levrini at University of Bologna, Italy.

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