Dean of The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons
“The first-year experience is a launch not only of a trajectory here at Vanderbilt, but beyond, by creating a space that welcomes, supports, and celebrates the diverse backgrounds, experiences, and commitments that all students bring. The successes and the setbacks, the paths chosen and discarded, collectively shape the way students begin to occupy their world. There is no single path to take, and the promise of Vanderbilt is the incredible richness of opportunity that awaits. I am excited and honored to be a part of this amazing experience.”
-Melissa S. Gresalfi
Melissa S. Gresalfi (she, her, hers), serves as the dean of The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons and a professor of Mathematics Education and the Learning Sciences. From 2004 to 2006, she was a postdoctoral researcher in the Peabody College Department of Teaching and Learning, and then returned to Vanderbilt in 2012. Dean Gresalfi’s research considers issues that are also central to incoming Vanderbilt students: the development of identities in relation to academic disciplines. Her research explores how to transform the practices of school mathematics and computer science that so frequently alienate students, especially students from socially marginalized backgrounds. Her current projects consider how focusing on play, exploration, and design can create learning environments that are more inviting and create deeper and more meaningful opportunities to learn. This has extended to middle school math classrooms, video games, textile art, coding, and even state fairs for examples of playful mathematics learning.