Morrow Teaching Award
A Message From the Chair
Undergraduate education is a central element of the mission of the Math Department. In addition to teaching of courses, we are constantly engaged in curriculum development, consultations with client departments, and a variety of special programs for our students. This newsletter contains articles on some of these programs, as well as reports on our activities in graduate education, research, and other areas. Some of our long-term efforts in undergraduate education gained recognition during the last twelve months; I would like to share with you some thoughts on how these efforts have come together.
We have carried out an extensive revision of our curriculum, including all of our precalculus and calculus courses. The final piece of the reform, a multi-year project that focuses on our calculus sequence for science and engineering students, Math 124/5/6, is nearing completion. We have also revised our degree programs. We developed Math 310, Introduction to Mathematical Reasoning, to help students make the transition to the rigors of senior-level mathematics courses. We introduced Math 381, Discrete Mathematical Modeling, and a three-quarter sequence in topology and geometry that complements our senior-level analysis and algebra sequences. We entered into a partnership with the other mathematical science departments on campus in the Applied and Computational Mathematical Sciences (ACMS) degree program. The Mathematics and ACMS Bachelor's programs are both thriving; at the end of spring quarter there were 396 majors in the two programs, representing an increase of 50% since 1996. The economy is partly responsible for the increased demand, but I believe that the revisions have also played a large role: Students are happy with our entry-level courses, so more of them continue to take math courses. As this happens, the opportunities we have provided for transition to advanced mathematics attract students, including some of the best, into our majors.
Jim Morrow excels in bringing the excitement of mathematics to students. For his many contributions, Jim won the UW Distinguished Teaching Award in 2003. This is our department's third Distinguished Teaching Award in five years!
Speaking of attracting some of the best, Jeff Giansiracusa won the Dean's medal in the Sciences, and we had two teams among the outstanding winners of the Mathematical Contest in Modeling. In addition, one of the teams was awarded the MAA prize, and the other was awarded the INFORMS prize. One of our teams was similarly honored last year, but to have two teams win in the same year is unprecedented. The six students, three on each team, were featured in several UW publications, appeared on local radio and television, and were even the subject of a Seattle Times editorial. We received messages of support and congratulations from many alumni and friends. It is great to hear of your support for the work we do. With your support, we will continue to attract the brightest students and maintain the high standards we have set.