Despina Stylianou

Professor, Mathematics Education Program Director

Main Affiliation

School of Education

Additional Departments/Affiliated Programs


North Academic Center



Despina Stylianou

Despina Stylianou


Despina A. Stylianou joined the mathematics education faculty in the School of Education in the Fall of 2003. Her research interests lie in the area of mathematical cognition; her work explores the mathematical skills, sensibilities, and habits of mind and action that are critical to doing, learning, and using mathematics proficiently. Her work has received national and international recognition – it was awarded the “Early Career Award” from the National Science Foundation. It is worth noting that this is one of the most prestigious awards in support of the early career-development activities of those teacher-scholars who most effectively integrate research and education within the context of the mission of their organization. She has since received several awards and grants, including, most recently, two "best article" awards
Prof. Stylianou is deeply engaged in both research and practice. Her main research project, the “Urban Math Project” (, was funded by the National Foundation, and it is aiming to address the development of mathematical practices in urban middle school classrooms. She is also the co-director of Mathematics in the City ( a national professional development center for teachers across the grades.


Ed.D.   Mathematics Education. University of Pittsburgh, 2000
M.A.    Mathematics. University of Pittsburgh, 1999
M.Ed.  Mathematics Education. Boston University, 1995
B.S.     Elementary Education, Boston University, 1994

Courses Taught

EDSE 446 Methods for Teaching Mathematics in Middle/Secondary School I
EDSE 451 Methods for Teaching Mathematics in Middle/Secondary School II
EDUC 6100 Methods for Teaching Mathematics in Middle/Secondary School
EDUC 6600 Technology in Mathematics Education
EDUC 6400 Curriculum Development for Secondary School Mathematics
EDUC 200 Master’s Research Project


Books (peer reviewed)

Stylianou, D. A., Blanton, M., & Knuth, E. (2009). Teaching and Learning Proof Across the Grades. Routledge - Taylor Francis and National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

Journal Articles (peer reviewed)

Stylianou, D. (2011). From pictures to symbols: The process of abstracting in children’s representations. Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School.

Stylianou, D. & Blanton, M. (2011). Developing students’ capacity for proving – focus on classroom discourse. Mathematics Teacher.

Stylianou, D. A. (2011). An examination of middle school students’ representation practices in mathematical problem solving through the lens of expert work: Towards an organizing scheme. Educational Studies in Mathematics.

Stylianou, D. & Blanton, M. (to appear). Undergraduate students’ proof conceptions: relationships between understanding, beliefs, and classroom experiences with learning proof. Collegiate Mathematics Education Research Journal.

Stylianou, D. A. (2010). Teachers' Conceptions of Representation in the Context of Middle School Mathematics. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 13 (4), 325-343.

Blanton, M. & Stylianou, D. (2009). Behind the Veil of Academic Freedom: Challenges in Building a Mathematics Faculty Community of Practice. Journal of Innovative Higher Education, 34 (2).

Meletiou, M., Paparistodimou, E. & Stylianou, D. A. (2009). Enhancing the teaching and learning of early statistical reasoning in elementary schools: Integrating technology in professional development. The Montana Mathematics Enthusiast, 6, 57-77

Imm, K. & Stylianou, D., & Chae, N. (2008). Student Representations at the Center: A Consideration of Equity. Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, 13, 458-463

Meletiou, M. & Stylianou, D. A. (2006). A cross-national comparison of teachers’ practices in the third international mathematics and science study:  Instructional and policy implications Pedagogiki Epitheorisi, 40

Stylianou, D. A. & Meletiou, M. &  (2005). Graphical representation of data: The effect of the use of dynamical statistics technological tool.Scientia Paedagogica Experimentalis, XLII, 2, 273-294

Stylianou, D. A., Smith, B., & Kaput, J. J. (2005). Math in motion: Using CBRs to enact functions. Journal of Technology in Mathematics and Science Teaching, 24 (2), 299-324.

Stylianou, D. A. & Grzegorczyk, I. (2005). Symmetry in mathematics and art: Exploration of an art venue for the learning of  mathematics.PRIMUS, XV (1), 30-44.

Leikin, R., Stylianou, D., & Silver, E. (2005). Visualization and mathematical knowledge:  Drawing the net of a truncated cylinder.Mediterranean Journal for Research in Mathematics Education. 4 (1), 1-39

Stylianou, D. A. & Silver, E. A. (2004). The role of visual representations in advanced mathematical problem solving: An examination of expert-novice similarities and differences. Journal of Mathematical Thinking and Learning, 6 (4). 353-387.

Stylianou, D. A. & Meletiou, M. (2003). Dynamic software: New potential for technology use in the teaching of mathematics. Sychroni Ekpaideusi, 132,  47-57

Stylianou, D. A. (2002). On the interaction of visualization and analysis – The negotiation of a visual representation in problem solving. Journal of Mathematical Behavior, 21, 3, 303-317

Stylianou, D. A. & Shapiro, L. (2002). Revitalizing algebra: The effect of the use of a cognitive tutor in a college algebra developmental course.Journal of Educational Media, 27, 3, 147-171

Stylianou, D. & Kaput, J. (2002). Linking phenomena to representations:A gateway to the understanding of complexity. Mediterranean Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 1(2), 99-111

Stylianou, D. A., Kenney, P. A., Silver, E. A. & Alacaci, C. (2000). Gaining insight into students’ thinking through assessment tasks.Mathematics Teaching in the Middle Grades, 6, 136-144