University of Evansville

Math

UE's Department of Mathematics prepares students to explore a wide variety of career paths.

News

UE Professors Awarded Grant for Science, Math Scholarships

Posted: September 23, 2013

University of Evansville faculty members Joyce Stamm, associate professor of biology, and Adam Salminen, associate professor of mathematics, have secured a five-year, $610,600 grant through the National Science Foundation’s S-STEM (Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) program to assist students in science and mathematics. The grant is one of about 90 awarded from the 436 proposals submitted to the S-STEM program, and is the largest faculty grant in school history.

The award provides funds for financial, academic, and professional support for students majoring in the sciences and mathematics. The majority of the grant, around $528,000, will fund the new UE Science and Math Scholarship (SAMS), which will provide four-year scholarships to approximately 34 academically talented students with financial need who are majoring in biochemistry, biology, chemistry, environmental science, mathematics, or physics.

The grant also provides funds for new support services for science and mathematics majors at UE. These services include an introductory summer course for incoming students, a semester-long course on study skills and time management, monthly career colloquiums, and a science and math-themed living-learning community in a campus residence hall. These activities will be available to all math and science students at UE and will continue after the grant ends in 2018.

“This grant not only represents an incredible opportunity to transform the lives of future students at the University of Evansville, but the National Science Foundation’s decision to fund the proposal also demonstrates the University’s outstanding track record of preparing students to succeed in math and science careers and graduate programs,” said John Mosbo, UE senior vice president for academic affairs. “At UE, students receive a personalized education that equips them to make an impact on the national shortfall of qualified STEM professionals. Dr. Salminen and Dr. Stamm’s successful grant application affirms that commitment to teaching.”

“Thanks to this grant, we’ll be able to help an even greater number of high-achieving students pursue an education at the University of Evansville,” said Salminen. “We expect that the SAMS scholarship will increase enrollment of students majoring in math and the sciences.”

“The new student success initiatives will also help ease students’ transitions from high school to college, and from college to graduate school or the workforce,” Stamm added. “We believe this level of personal support will increase retention of students in math and science majors, and ultimately increase the number of qualified professionals in the STEM workforce.”

SAMS scholarships will be available starting with UE’s entering freshman class of 2014. For selection criteria and application details, interested students may visit the program website.

UE Names 2013 Berger Award Winners

Posted: August 20, 2013

David Dwyer, Mark Gruenwald, and Jean Beckman have been named the winners of the 2013 Sydney and Sadelle Berger Awards, presented each year to members of the University of Evansville faculty who demonstrate exceptional scholarly activity and service.

Dwyer, chair of the Department of Mathematics and a professor of mathematics, and Gruenwald, also a professor of mathematics, jointly received the award for scholarship. Beckman, a professor of chemistry, earned the award for service. UE President Tom Kazee presented both awards today at the University’s annual Fall Conference for faculty and administrators.

As a team, Dwyer and Gruenwald have made a profound impact on their academic discipline nationwide. They recently received a highly competitive $600,000 grant from the National Science Foundation that will allow them to broaden and continue their Resequencing Calculus project, which builds on work funded by a previous NSF grant in 2009. 

For this project, Dwyer and Gruenwald revised the standard three-semester calculus sequence to better meet the needs of students in a variety of STEM disciplines. They also wrote a 700-page textbook to support the first two semesters of this sequence, piloted the sequence at UE, and identified supporters of the redesigned sequence at other institutions.

Dwyer and Gruenwald, both of whom have won the Dean’s Teaching Award for UE’s College of Arts and Sciences, have also sold more than 30,000 copies of five commercially published mathematics textbooks.

Beckman, who won the award for service, came to the University of Evansville 35 years ago. Since then, she has become widely respected on campus for her fairness, her selfless dedication to the University, and her passion and commitment to teaching.

Beckman chaired the Department of Chemistry from 1989 to 2003. Although her first love is teaching, she has also served the University in numerous administrative roles over the years, including terms as dean and interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and interim vice president for academic affairs.

Beckman has served on countless University committees: search committees, numerous Faculty Senate committees, the General Education Revision Subcommittee, the Writing Subcommittee, the Honorary Degree Committee, and the UE United Way Campaign Committee, just to name a few. 

The Berger Awards are presented annually in memory of Sadelle and Sydney Berger. Sadelle was a UE graduate and lifelong member of the Academy of Arts and Sciences at UE, while Sydney was a well-known local attorney. Both dedicated their lives to public service. The Berger family established the endowment to give recognition to faculty at the University of Evansville.

UE Math Professors Awarded $600,000 National Science Foundation Grant

Posted: October 10, 2012

Dave Dwyer and Mark Gruenwald, professors of mathematics at the University of Evansville, have been awarded a three-year, $600,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.

The grant is one of 30 awarded out of over 400 proposals submitted to the NSF’s TUES program (Transforming Undergraduate Education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) for extending and broadening the work of successful pilot projects related to undergraduate STEM education. It is one of only two such grants awarded for projects related to mathematics.

“This grant is not just a tremendous honor for Dr. Dwyer, Dr. Gruenwald, and the Department of Mathematics, but it is also a wonderful example of the quality of the faculty at the University of Evansville,” said UE President Thomas A. Kazee. “Their project has the potential to revolutionize the way calculus is taught across the nation. By funding this grant, the National Science Foundation affirms the remarkable commitment Professor Dwyer and Professor Gruenwald have made to scholarship and teaching.”

The grant supports the second phase of Dwyer and Gruenwald’s Resequencing Calculus project, which builds on work that was funded by a $150,000 NSF grant awarded in 2009. Under the first grant, Dwyer and Gruenwald revised the standard three-semester calculus sequence to better meet the emerging needs of students in a variety of STEM disciplines, wrote a 700-page textbook to support the first two semesters of this sequence, piloted the sequence at UE, and identified supporters of the redesigned sequence at other institutions.

Phase 2 of the project entails completing the three-semester textbook, testing and assessing the textbook and the sequence at four other universities (Valparaiso University, Millikin University, the University of Central Missouri, and the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota), and campaigning for broad and sustained adoption of the revised sequence.

“A close look at the order and choice of topics in the mainstream calculus sequence is long overdue, especially in light of the ever-increasing role of mathematical and statistical modeling in fields such as chemistry, biology, and economics,” said Dwyer. “For too many students and at too many institutions, mainstream calculus sequences as they exist now are a poor fit.”

According to biochemist Kristy Miller, chair of UE’s Department of Chemistry, “Students in chemistry and the life sciences would benefit from exposure to certain topics that are usually not covered until the third semester of calculus, but most of these students do not have room in their schedules for a full three-semester sequence.”

“One of the goals of the Resequencing Calculus project is to rearrange the ordering and choice of topics in the mainstream calculus sequence to better fit the needs of today’s students,” Gruenwald added. “Our approach more closely connects calculus instruction with its application in STEM fields, and it facilitates deeper and earlier exposure to both upper-level math courses and upper-level courses in STEM disciplines where calculus is applied.”

A number of UE faculty members will serve in an advisory capacity to the project, including Mohammad Azarian, Erin Davis, Clark Kimberling, and Adam Salminen in the Department of Mathematics; Jeff Braun in the Department of Physics; and David Unger in the Department of Mechanical and Civil Engineering. Brian Ernsting, assistant dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, will serve as an internal assessment advisor. Teams of undergraduate math majors at UE will contribute to the development of the text and related materials.

Dwyer and Gruenwald will also be assisted by faculty and students at each of the pilot institutions, an external professional assessment team, and an advisory board consisting of national leaders in various STEM professional organizations.

To learn more about this project, please visit the Resequencing Calculus website.