Laura R. Van Zoest

Photo of Laura R. Van Zoest
Laura R. Van Zoest
(269) 387-4527
(269) 387-4530
4420 Everett Tower, Mail Stop 5248
Mailing address: 
Department of Mathematics
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5248 USA
Office hours: 

By Appointment Only

  • Ph.D., Mathematics Education, Illinois State University, 1994
Teaching interests: 
  • Secondary school mathematics methods
  • Research methods for mathematics education
  • Content courses for elementary and middle school teachers
Research interests: 
  • Productive use of student mathematical thinking
  • Process of becoming an effective mathematics teacher
  • Use of practice-based materials in methods courses

Dr. Laura R. Van Zoest is a professor of mathematics, specializing in mathematics education, in the Department of Mathematics at Western Michigan University. She specializes in secondary mathematics teacher education and is interested in how people become effective mathematics teachers, teacher educators, and researchers, and ways university programs can accelerate that development. Lines of research have included investigating the effect of reform curriculum materials on teacher development, the use of practice-based materials in university methods courses, and the cultivation of productive norms in teacher education. Her work on how teachers can productively use student thinking ( has been continuously supported by the National Science Foundation for over a decade.

Van Zoest has served as the principal investigator for research and professional development projects funded at over six million dollars and published in research and practitioner journals, including the Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, Teacher and Teacher Education, Cognition & Instruction, Mathematics Teacher Educator and Mathematics Teacher Learning & Teaching. She was editor of Teachers Engaged in Research: Inquiry into Mathematics Practice, 9–12, guest co-editor of the ZDM: The International Journal on Mathematics Education focus issue Theoretical frameworks in research on and with mathematics teachers, and co-editor of Research Trends in Mathematics Education. She co-chaired the 2012 PME-NA conference hosted by WMU, served as chair of the steering committee of PME-NA, chaired the Editorial Panel for Mathematics Teacher Educator and serves on the International Advisory Board for Research in Mathematics Education.