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Department of Mathematics earns perfect score

External evaluator Dr. Jack Heidl of the University of Nebraska-Omaha recently awarded the Department of Mathematics a perfect score of 100% based on criteria established by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, regarding the program’s curriculum, teaching quality, student engagement, and diversity.

“The faculty is highly competent and fully engaged in performing its educational mission,” said Heidl. “Examples of this type of achievement are: strong interaction with Hamilton County high schools and mathematics teachers through site visits and summer workshops; social activities for math majors and other math students which involve interaction with faculty; leadership in the development of web based homework procedures; and sponsoring a student problem competition for all students in mathematics courses.”

Dr. John Graef, head of the Department of Mathematics, says the mathematics researchers and teachers demonstrate their dedication in many ways.

“The department maintains an email list called ‘Math Friends,’ which includes all mathematics majors and minors and all mathematics education majors,” Graef said. “ In addition, any other student, regardless of their major, who is interested in mathematics can ask for their name to be added to the list; this list is updated on a continual basis.”

Graef says as each fall semester begins, students are welcomed to the new academic year with a pizza party. In the spring semester, an Honors Reception is held at the Faculty Club to present departmental awards and scholarships. Awards include:

  • the Winston Massey Award for an outstanding upperclassman
  • the Ruth Clark Perry Award for an outstanding upperclasswoman
  • the John Jayne Award for a sophomore who exhibits exceptional talent for mathematics
  • the James Ware Award for an outstanding student majoring in secondary mathematics who has completed student teaching
  • the Freshman Mathematics Award is presented to the student who earns the highest score on the Freshman Mathematics test
  • the Marjorie Watson Scholarship and the new Dorothy Dean Shelton Scholarship (available in spring 2006) are also awarded at the Honors Reception.

Mathematics students are also included in the faculty hiring process, according to Graef. “All of the candidates interviewed for tenure track positions are asked to give a short presentation to an upper division class,” Graef said. “A questionnaire is distributed to the students on which they are asked to evaluate the effectiveness of the presentation and indicate whether they are likely to take a course from this person.”

Students are also appointed to various committees in the department, such as the Student Relations Committee, the Colloquium Committee, and the Curriculum Committee.

If you have questions or comments, contact the UTC Department of Mathematics.

June 16, 2005

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