Regents Professor of Mathematics and Director of Mathworks
Office: ASB South 110
The reason that I teach is because of the joy that comes from seeing my students realize that they each have the ability to contribute to society in so many ways.
I especially enjoy teaching Number Theory each year to students ranging from high school students in summer math camps to undergraduate music majors to graduate students in mathematics. Number theory is ideally suited for students with different math backgrounds since the concepts are developed based on simple examples. The key is to not take things for granted, to be clear about what we assume, and to encourage the students to become active participants in every class. In this setting, I have found that all students are capable of amazing accomplishments; the challenge is to inspire students to realize how much they can do for themselves.
My problem sets reflect this basic philosophy including problems to "Prove or Disprove and Salvage if Possible". Numerical problems and examples lead to patterns that encourage studetns to make conjectures and question why things work. The students see that not all of our conjectures are true and they develop the ability to make new discoveries for themselves. Math class is not just a time for me to lecture the students, but a time when students can discuss their proofs and learn from one another by working together. In mathematics, there arre often multiple ways to do a problem and discussing mathematics with others enables students to understand the subtle, simple ideas that can lead to new discoveries. The best way to learn an ideaas is to explain what you are doing to someone else. The process of having students explain their proofs in class helps all students learn more.
Teaching mathematics involves much more than numbers and facts; it involves building character, instilling confidence, and nurturing a student's creativity and imagination. Students develop a foundation that will enable them to analyze problems critically in any area with a passion for learning and a deep understanding of how working together they can solve problems that alone may have seemed insurmountable.