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Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Rapping Kean University Professor Makes Algebra 'Contagious' |

Kean University adjunct professor Irisa Leverette, a resident of North Brunswick, helps her students learn algebra, encourages them to do homework, and reduces “math anxiety” by rapping in the classroom, explains Margaret McCorry, Director of Media Relations at Kean University.

Professor Irisa Leverette.
“She’ll be in the middle of a lesson, start freestyling, drop the marker as if it’s a mic, and then go right back to the lesson as if nothing happened,” said Elijah Sherin, a freshman finance major from Long Branch. “She comes to every class excited to teach, so it makes us excited to come too.”

Leverette is a Kean alumna who earned her bachelor’s degree in management science in 1996 and her master’s degree in public administration in 2000. She has been teaching at the University since 2005.

I rip classrooms like Drake RIP stages,” Leverette says in one of her lyrics. “I’mma make algebra and trig contagious!

While Leverette has done “a little rap here, a little rap there” since she was a teenager, this semester her rapping caught on in her MATH 1000 class, which is college algebra.

“Every Friday I’ll say a few sentences in rap, then I drop the mic. That lets them know I’m finished and it’s time to go. The students have gotten into it,” she said, adding that students have recorded her raps and posted them on social media...

College algebra is a math requirement for many students in various majors at Kean. Louis Beaugris, executive director of Kean’s School of Mathematical Sciences, said the University encourages professors to think beyond the whiteboard and slide presentation in their approach to teaching.

"At Kean, we expect our professors to innovate and engage students, to take the extra step to ensure our students learn,” he said. “Irisa Leverette does that."