Emeritus and Retired Faculty and Staff Association

William Fisher, PhD


Department of Mathematics and Statistics

William “Bill” Fisher brought an unparalleled amount of creativity, enthusiasm, and hard work to the crucial task of attracting and training students to be teachers of mathematics. His impact on math education in the North State will continue long beyond the 36 years he spent on the Chico State campus.

In 1978, Fisher founded the Mt. Lassen Mathematics Council, a professional organization for North State teachers. After the California Subject Matter Projects were launched in 1988, Fisher was involved from the beginning as the founding director of the Chico Mathematics Project (CMP). For more than 20 years, he designed and provided professional development for thousands of K–12 math teachers.

Fisher also founded the Center for Mathematics & Science Education in the College of Natural Sciences, through which he initiated programmatic and fiscal support for the CMP and the California Science Project. The Center assisted faculty in applying for grants to support research in math and science education involving K–12 teachers and math and science teacher preparation programs.

In 2001, Fisher co-developed the Project Mathematics and Teaching on the Horizon (MATH) program to support aspiring math teachers. Participants could share freshman-year housing, participate in special seminars, and have early field experiences with mentor teachers. Hundreds of Chico State students have completed the program, which is still going strong today. Working collaboratively with the College of Communication and Education (CME), Fisher secured major grants to increase the quantity and quality of math and science students in credential programs. CSU System grants helped increase the number of teachers at the middle and high school levels. Prestigious National Science Foundation grants provided scholarships and other means to recruit top students to be teachers.

To offer students a streamlined pathway into teaching, Fisher developed one of the first blended programs in the state. The program provided students the opportunity to earn their undergraduate degree in math education and their single subject credential in math in just four years. “In my 20 years of experience at Chico State, I can think of few individuals who have worked so tirelessly to influence and make a positive difference in the lives of students and future teachers,” said Deborah Summers, associate dean in CME.

Fisher completed his undergraduate work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He earned his MA and PhD at the University of Oregon.