Areas of Concentration: Mathematics/Science Education (Cont.)

The mathematics faculty has a history of working cooperatively to enhance the curriculum in Claremont, has demonstrated creativity and excellence in teaching, and has shown dedication to supporting outreach activities to our community. For example, Professor Milton offered the new course The Modeling of Toys and Games for the first time in the Spring of 2008. Cross-department collaboration in teaching, especially in the upper-division courses, has been the norm in Claremont for a very long time (click here to see a listing of the subject areas and the associated planning committees). Consequently, the range of offerings is extensive and comparable to the course offerings of a single large university.

 Students and faculty collaborate on many projects that are later presented at professional conferences and in peer-reviewed journals and they have been honored with distinguished national awards. In 2006, HMC received the first-ever American Mathematical Society Award for an Exemplary Program or Achievement in a Mathematics Department (click here). In 1998, HMC received the NSF’s prestigious Award for the Integration of Research and Education.  Individual faculty have been honored locally and nationally for their teaching and for their expository writing.  For example, Judy Grabiner (PIT), Francis Su (HMC), Asuman Aksoy (CMC), Art Benjamin (HMC), Mario Martelli (CMC), Shahriar Shahriari (POM), and Lesley  Ward (HMC) have won regional and national awards for their teaching and/or expository writing.  Robert Borrelli and Courtney Coleman  (HMC) won the 1993 EDUCOM Award for the Best Mathematical Curriculum Innovation for the “Differential Equations Laboratory Workbook” (click here), and the 1998 New Media Invision Award of Excellence for the software solver “ODE Architect” (click here).

Individual departments have hosted workshops aimed at curricular and pedagogical advancement, in which faculty from other institutions were invited to participate and learn.  These include the workshops sponsored by the Mellon Foundation (Teaching Mathematical Modeling, Pomona College, October, 2004, and the Art of Teaching Mathematics, June, 2007, HMC), as well as outreach and courses for High School Teachers (Shahriar Shahriari's Problem Solving Course, and Harvey Mudd's  Imagine Math Day (click here), and Art Benjamin’s Joy of Mathematics course produced by The Teaching Company (click here)). The Claremont mathematics faculty also contributes to curricular innovation by introducing new courses and by speaking about them at national meetings.  For example, courses in mathematical biology (HMC), mathematical modeling (POM), and the Mathematical Biology major (HMC) have been featured in the National Science Foundation's publication MathBio2010.  Courses in industrial mathematics (called the Mathematics Clinic) were created in Claremont in the early 70’s and have been disseminated widely, both nationally and internationally.

The Center will promote the bond between the CGU School of Education and the mathematics faculty interested in the improvement of science and mathematics teaching at all levels.  Currently, Darryl Yong (Math, HMC) and David Drew (School of Education, CGU) are co-PIs on a  4-year $460K NSF grant, headquartered at the CGU School of Education, which establishes Robert Noyce Scholarships (click here) at CGU to encourage science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) graduates to become mathematics and science teachers in high-need areas.

In 2007, CGU, HMC and USC  joined  Math for America to create Math for America Los Angeles (MfA LA). The Math for America program (click here) is designed for students interested in becoming high school math teachers after they have completed their undergraduate education. If selected, MfA LA Fellows will commit to a 5-year program that includes one year of full-time graduate study and four years of teaching in a secondary school.  HMC has a Professional Development and Outreach (PDO) Group, which provides development opportunities to math teachers in the Los Angeles region. The PDO Group will manage the development of MfA LA Fellows by partnering with the Secondary School Teacher Program of the Institute of Advanced Studies/Park City Mathematics Institute (PCMI). PCMI is designed for mathematics educators at the secondary and post-secondary levels, as well as mathematics researchers and students at the post-secondary level. MfA LA Fellows will receive a full tuition scholarship to attend CGU’s Teacher Education Program, which offers Fellows a master’s degree in education and a preliminary teaching credential in just over one year. In addition, MfA Fellows will receive annual stipends totaling $87K during all five years of the fellowship. Lisa Loop, CGU’s School of Education Advancement Director, will be one of the 3 co-Directors of the MfA LA.  MfA LA will begin recruiting 10 Fellows each year and gradually increase to a total of 60 Fellows per year.

Since the 70’s Harvey Mudd College has been a leader in redesigning the introductory Ordinary Differential Equations course, a course that is required for all science, engineering and mathematics majors. Today, that course emphasizes the modeling of  phenomena with differential equations and the visualization of the solutions of those equations with software solvers (click here). The textbook Differential Equations: A Modeling Perspective authored by Professors Robert Borrelli and Courtney Coleman (Math, HMC Emeriti) was published by John Wiley & Sons in 2004 makes use of modeling and visualization in a fundamental way. The textbook includes a CD-ROM with  ODE Architect,  a differential equations software solver designed under an NSF/DUE grant which was headquartered at Harvey Mudd College.

Professor Darryl Yong (HMC, Math) is the PI of a Phase II NSF/DUE 4-year grant to HMC entitled “Online Resources to Improve the Teaching and Learning of Differential Equations: Encouraging the Wide-Spread Use of Modeling and Computing”. Professors Robert Borrelli (Math, HMC Emeritus) and Ami Radunskaya (Math, Pomona) are co-PIs.  Awarded in August 2007, the grant is for $499,792 and involves 19 people world wide. The project involves

  • creating a digital library of resources and an online community for differential equations instructors to find, share, discuss and evaluate teaching resources.
  • completing the development of a robust, flexible platform-independent numerical solver that can be freely be distributed over the Internet and can carry out computer experiments designed to help students learn differential equations.
  • training differential equations instructors in the effective use of modeling projects and computer experiments via short courses at AMS-MAA meetings.

Within the digital resources there will be an interactive online Journal of Differential Equations which will take the place of the CODEE Newsletter which was distributed via print under the NSF/DUE Phase I grant. All of the issues of the CODEE Newsletter are available online (click here).

The Mathematics Departments of CMC, HMC, Pitzer, Pomona, and Scripps Colleges were awarded a 3-year REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) NSF grant in 2005. The PI of the grant is Prof. Jim Hoste ( Pitzer), and the Co-PI is Mario Martelli (CMC, Math). The organizers were allowed to select 30 students over the life of the grant with at most 10 coming from the Claremont Colleges. The Research Supervisors have always been mathematics faculty from the five Colleges. In summer 2008 the supervisors were Ami Radunskaya (Pomona, Math),. Lisette De Pillis (HMC, Math), Shahriar Shahriari (Pomona, Math) and Jim Hoste.  The students have always presented their results at the Undergraduate Student Poster Session organized in conjunction with the Annual Meeting of the AMS and MAA. In January 2008, two of the teams of the Claremont REU received prizes. Each year Mario Martelli has scheduled weekly talks and other activities. In summer 2008, the talks were given by Ioana Mihaila (Cal Poly Pomona), Emmanuel Candes (California Institute of Technology), Adolfo Rumbos (Pomona, Math), Prof. Asuman Aksoy (CMC, Math), Marc Chamberland (Grinnell) and Prof. Charles Lee (California State University, Fullerton). Among the additional activities the organizers have scheduled discussions on how to use symbolic manipulators, scientific writing and presentation software, how to apply to graduate school, etc.

First published in 1973, Interface is a multidisciplinary journal dedicated to the promotion and dissemination of original student research at Harvey Mudd College. In keeping with HMC’s broad educational objectives, Interface recognizes outstanding student work in science, engineering, mathematics, the humanities and social sciences, and especially in the intersection of these disciplines. The headquarters of the editorial staff is in the mathematics department, but the board of editors has members from each of the seven department at HMC: Mathematics, Computer Science, Chemistry, Engineering, Physics, Biology, and the Humanities and Social Sciences. An endowment fund at HMC pays for the cost of printing and distributing the journal to all HMC faculty, students and administrators as well as all members of the HMC Board of Trustees, and all HMC Mathematics, Engineering, Computer Science and Physics Clinics sponsors. HMC Alumni and a number of colleges and universities, both here and abroad, have subscribed to Interface. After 23 issues, Interface ceased publication in 2000 but will resume publication in 2008. All the back issues of Interface are available online at the Claremont Colleges Digital Library (click here). When resources are available, CCMS will look into extending the Interface concept to the other institutions in Claremont. One way to do that right now, however, is to note that Interface may accept for publication any article where at least one of the authors is an HMC student.
The CCMS will continue to support the type of activities described above by

  • Hosting workshops to enhance dissemination of new teaching ideas and materials, especially ones that involve software.
  • Supporting collaborative initiatives for curricular and pedagogical innovation.   Center  proposals allow larger grants with wider scope, and lend focus and structure to implementation  and dissemination efforts.
  • Providing administrative support for outreach activities to local high schools, such as Pomona College’s Mathematics Talent Search (a high school math contest), and Harvey Mudd's Imagine Math Day for high school teachers.
  • Organizing talks and colloquia on issues in mathematics education, and provide archival and dissemination support for such talks.
  • Obtaining support for new Ph Ds interested in gaining experience in Claremont's unique environment, in which both teaching and research are nurtured.  In  past  years, teaching/research post-docs were funded by grants to individual colleges from sources such as the Irvine Foundation (CMC) and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HMC and POM).  The success of these opportunities supports the enlargement of this program.
  • Supporting the Claremont MfA LA program by exposing the Fellows to special activities at the Claremont Colleges such as the Mathematics Clinic and the COMAP Mathematical Contest in Modeling (MCM) for high school students.

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