Rubinstein Opens Last Lecture Series With A Math Question

For more information, contact Barb Steadman - 843.857.4199

Professor Joe RubinsteinHARTSVILLE, S.C. – Feb. 7, 2011 – The Last Lecture Series will open with a presentation by Coker College Professor of Education Joseph H. Rubinstein at 3:30 p.m. on Feb. 18 in the Watson Theater in Elizabeth Boatwright Coker Performing Arts Center.

The Last Lecture Series, a forum for retiring Coker College faculty, is intended to celebrate academic excellence and individual achievements of Coker faculty.

Reflecting on a career that spans more than four decades in teacher education, a career that has been centered largely in mathematics and science education, Rubinstein will invite his audience to consider a curious observation.

“Why is it that so many well educated, intelligent individuals are not ashamed to say that they cannot do mathematics? In fact, many are even proud of it,” he notes.

For Rubinstein, the question reveals something much more serious than a casually dismissed weakness, it is about real loss. For individuals, it’s a loss of the personal pleasure that mathematics can offer and of the practical benefits of being mathematically competent.  On a larger scale, Rubinstein worries about the potential gains in science and technology that our nation cedes to its competitors when our citizens turn away from mathematics.

Rubinstein received B.A., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Biology from New York University, finishing his studies in 1969.

Although his early work was in the natural sciences, his interest in elementary education was sparked by his participation in the late 1960s in an experimental science curriculum development project, The Conceptually Oriented Program in Elementary Science. He also became interested in the related problems of teacher education, and in 1971 he completed a post-doctoral fellowship at New York University, which allowed him to spend one year in the New York City public schools, working closely with elementary school teachers and helping them to implement science programs in their classrooms.

In 1972 he joined the Open Court Publishing Company and served as director of their Mathematics and Science Curriculum Development Center for its first seven years. In that capacity he directed a nationwide field-testing program for Real Math, an elementary and middle school mathematics curriculum.  He is one of four co-authors of that program. Real Math was completed in 1983 and has been revised many times, the latest in 2009 by the SRA division of McGraw-Hill.

Rubinstein is also one of three co-authors of “Real Science,” an elementary school science program published in 1999 by the SRA Division of McGraw-Hill.

He joined the Coker College faculty in 1984, where his principal duties include teaching prospective elementary school teachers how to teach mathematics. He was chairperson of the education department at Coker for 15 years. He lives in Hartsville, with his wife, Heike. He has two grown children, a son, Mark Philip, and a daughter, Sara Erica, and two grandchildren.

Rubinstein’s lecture is free and will be followed by an informal reception in the Stein Gallery.

The remaining presentations in The Last Lecture Series this year include:

• Russell R. Hamby, Professor of Sociology – Mar. 22, 7 p.m.
Charles W. Coker Auditorium in Davidson Hall; Reception in the Drawing Room

• Deborah I. Bloodworth, Associate Professor of Theater – April 1, 3:30 p.m. (cancelled)
Watson Theater in the Elizabeth Boatwright Coker Performing Arts Center; Reception in the Stein Gallery

Patricia G. Lincoln, Provost and Dean of the Faculty, Professor of Biology – April 18, 7:30 p.m.
Watson Theater in the Elizabeth Boatwright Coker Performing Arts Center; Reception in the Stein Gallery


Coker College readies undergraduates for personal and professional success through a distinctive four-year program that emphasizes a practical application of the liberal arts as well as hands-on and discussion-based learning within and beyond the classroom. Coker is ranked among the “Best Colleges” in the South by U.S. News & World Report as well as The Princeton Review. Located in Hartsville, S.C., Coker is within two hours of the cultural, financial and recreational resources of Charlotte, Columbia, Charleston and Myrtle Beach.

Apply Online Now




Visit Coker College


Campus Visit

Open House


For Open House information or to visit the campus of your choice please contact Elaine Hodges (843) 857-4194 or

Request More Information



Contact Information

Office of Admissions (DAY)
Phone: 843.383.8050
Phone (Toll Free): 1.800.950.1908
Fax: 843.383.8056

Office of Admissions (Adult Degree Program)
Elaine Hodges |
Phone: 843.383.8030

Admissions Staff

Office of Financial Aid
Phone: 843.383.8055
Phone (Toll Free): 1.800.950.1908
Fax: 843.383.8159

Financial Aid Staff

Coker College
300 East College Ave.
Hartsville, SC 29550