Department of Mathematics
The Department of Mathematics offers three challenging, yet very rewarding, degree programs: a Bachelor of Science in Actuarial Science, a Bachelor of Science in the Mathematical Sciences; and a Master of Arts in Mathematics for Teachers. A dedicated staff of 15 full-time faculty members serves the programs. This includes eleven with ranked positions (Assistant to Full Professor) each holding a doctoral degree in an area of mathematics and four special positions (Professional Educators and Director of the Mathematics Center). The faculty members are professionally active on the national and regional levels through their research and their professional affiliations—the Mathematical Association of America (MAA), the American Mathematical Society (AMS), the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). Their PhDs were received from a wide range of prestigious universities such as Johns Hopkins University, University of California at Los Angeles, University of Oregon, University of California at Berkeley, Syracuse University, University of Connecticut, Western Michigan University, University of Colorado Boulder, University of Texas at Dallas, Wesleyan University, University of North Texas, University of Rhode Island, and Boston University.
The most distinguishing and remarkable characteristic of the faculty in the department is our recognized success in our teaching. We have garnered four of the 26 University-wide Excellence in Teaching Awards given out to date. Furthermore, other members of the department had received similar awards at Trinity College (CT), Johns Hopkins University, and Towson State University prior to accepting positions within our department. It is clearly this characteristic that defines us as being a department committed to the highest level of teaching excellence.
The Actuarial Science Major prepares students to enter the actuarial profession upon graduation. The core coursework is in mathematics, specifically calculus, linear algebra, probability, statistics, stochastic processes, interest theory, mathematical finance, and actuarial modeling. Required courses in economics, accounting, and finance provide necessary knowledge of the professional environment in which actuaries work, as do courses in business writing and ethics. Actuarial Science Majors also get opportunities to hone their oral communication and independent learning skills, both of which are invaluable to their profession.
Actuaries are business professionals who use their knowledge of mathematics, statistics, economics, and finance to analyze and solve problems related to managing risk. They help set insurance rates, manage pension plans and other investments, analyze healthcare issues, and predict the impact of policy decisions. Actuaries are most commonly employed in the insurance, financial services, and healthcare industries as well as in government agencies.
The degree program in the mathematical sciences follows the professional guidelines set forth by the MAA. The program offers general training in mathematical reasoning and develops mastery of the mathematical tools needed for continuing education and lifelong careers. Considerable emphasis is placed on the theory of problem solving, specifically in abilities such as intuition, model building, and inductive and deductive reasoning. Students are made aware of the power and elegance of mathematical truth through careful analysis of axiomatic systems and mathematical theories. Throughout the program students are encouraged to formulate their own problems and conjectures, thus challenging their own ability to cope with the mathematical literature. A senior year capstone experience, called Senior Project, allows students to look back over previous course work, select particular areas of interest, and work closely throughout the year with a faculty member on a mathematical endeavor of significance.
Graduates of the program are attractive candidates for jobs in almost all fields, since the ability to reason mathematically, to think creatively, and to model and solve intricate problems will always be a valued commodity. Further, old and new interdisciplinary fields such as actuarial science, biomathematics, mathematical ecology, mathematical psychology, information theory, cryptology, and econometrics are areas that students can prepare to enter by selecting appropriate elective coursework while at the University. Past graduates have received assistantships that include tuition-free graduate study and substantial living stipends at such schools as the University of Virginia, Syracuse University, SUNY at Binghamton, University of Vermont, University of Connecticut, RPI, WPI, Indiana University, the University of William and Mary, and North Carolina State University. Presently there are approximately 30 mathematical sciences majors within the department.
The MA in Mathematics for Teachers degree program is designed primarily for middle and secondary school mathematics teachers, but is also available to all teachers with an interest in further study of mathematics, as well as to individuals (with a sufficient mathematical background) seeking a career change to teaching. The broad challenge of mathematics education at all levels is to actively engage students in mathematical thinking. Excellent teaching of mathematics occurs when the teacher has a broad-based, in-depth understanding of content coupled with an understanding of how pedagogy and technology can significantly enhance learning. The program is structured so that the “scholar-teachers” will be active participants in a learning process committed first to content, and second to pedagogy and technology.
This part-time graduate program is designed to fit teachers’ schedules and can be completed in as little as five 11-week terms by taking two courses per term. Typically courses are offered in the fall, winter, spring, and summer terms meeting two days per week, back to back, between the hours of 3:30 and 7:20 p.m. Presently there are approximately 30 students enrolled in the MA in Mathematics for Teachers program.
Click here for a list of the department faculty.
- Actuarial Science
- Mathematical Sciences Major (BS)
- Master of Arts in Mathematics for Teachers
- Math Center
Read about Mathematical Sciences major Jessica Ginepro in The Communicator (Winter 2014) magazine.
“Our faculty are distinguished mathematicians who are first and foremost educators. They thrive on the opportunity to work with young, intellectually curious students of mathematics. It is indeed their calling, and hence of significant importance to each of them. Their dedication has resulted in almost one-half of the department faculty receiving College/University-wide Teaching Excellence Awards, an unparalleled achievement for a single department on most any campus.
“In the graduate program, our professionally distinguished faculty understand the difficulties master’s candidates face in helping their students understand abstract concepts and the critical role they play in each student’s success in middle/high school and beyond. Through their many teaching awards they have proven themselves as being committed, successful educators. We cannot envision a more noble cause than assisting today’s teachers of mathematics in becoming tomorrow’s more successful teachers.”
Dennis M. Luciano, PhD, Chair, Department of Mathematics
Job Outlook for Mathematicians
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts employment of mathematicians to increase by 22 percent during the 2008–2018 decade, much faster than average for all occupations.
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