Sheila  Tobias

Sheila Tobias

Sheila Tobias has made a science and an art of being a curriculum outsider. She was trained at Harvard and Columbia Universities not in STEM but in history and politics to become what she calls a “scholar activist.” The author of 14 books, six of them having to do with opportunities and barriers for students in STEM, she is known for her pioneering work in “math anxiety” (which she named) and for identifying overlooked science students who, “are not dumb, but different.” She was supported in the 1990s for 7 years by Research Corporation of Southern Arizona to examine the impact of first year “weed-out” courses at the college and university levels, and for 13 years by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to develop and propagate new master’s level professional programs for STEM majors, wishing to go into management careers. Her current work has to do with “About Engineering” courses for liberal arts students and in encouraging engineering graduates to prepare themselves for leadership.