Featured Department: Mathematics

The Mathematics Department serves essentially every CBU student and is probably the biggest service department at CBU. It provides courses for Arts majors, courses for Business majors, and many courses for Engineering and Science majors. It offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics, a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics and a dual degree in Math and Computer Science. There are options in the math degree in bioinformatics with a minor in biology or chemistry, and an option in forensics with a minor in biology. Most people recognize that you can teach with a math degree, and we do have a program for teacher licensure in Math. There are lots of other career options with a Math degree.

Math for some students is a fascinating and wonderful subject. For others it is something initially feared and dreaded. This wide range in attitudes and backgrounds in mathematics provides quite a challenge for the department. To handle this challenge, the departmental faculty have tried many different teaching techniques and use a wide array of tools.

It all starts with trying to place students at the appropriate level. The initial placement is based on ACT scores, but the department offers placement tests for those who think their ACT results do not really indicate their level of skill and knowledge.

The Mathematics Department continues to explore ways to increase student success. To meet the needs of students who require a review of algebra before attempting other mathematics courses, the department has recently created two new ALG courses, ALG ALG 115 and ALG 120 for day students, and it is working to provide three new ALG courses for the professional studies program. They are designed to prepare the student for Finite Math, MATH 105. The department hired Mrs. Sandra Davis a couple years ago to help with the new ALG courses. The Math 103 course was designed as a prerequisite for those that will take Precalculus and Calculus. Both the ALG courses and the MATH 103 course use computer tutorials to supplement instruction by the professor. These tutorials allow students to spend more time concentrating on individual weaknesses.

For those students who need preparation for calculus, the department is adding a third track.  It is keeping the three hour MATH 117 Precalclulus course for the better prepared students.  It is also keeping the six hour MATH 129 Functions and Engineering Calculus for engineering students how need help in preparing for calculus but who need calculus in their first semester to stay on track in the engineering paradigm.   For those students who need more help in preparing for calculus, it is adding as a third track a pair of two credit courses, MATH 107 Functions and MATH 110 Trigonometry, that can be taken simultaneously.


Math Center in operation

Math Center in operation.

Br. Joel Baumeyer continues to serve as Director of the Math Center which offers free assistance in mathematics, physics and computer science to CBU students. Tutors are typically CBU students majoring in mathematics, engineering or the sciences. These tutors take pride in offering their services to their fellow students. Since moving into the new Math Center room in Cooper-Wilson, student visits have increased from about 1,000 per semester to above 3,700 per semester.

Last spring, Dr. Leigh Becker retired, and this spring he was named Professor Emeritus!  Dr. Becker continues to publish papers in his field of differential equations.  Congratulations to Dr. Becker!  (See the Featured Person article earlier in this newsletter.)

Dr. Raena King joined the CBU Mathematics faculty this fall.  She had previously taught as an adjunct while working on her Ph.D.  This fall she completed her degree!  Congratulations to Dr. King!

The Math Department also provides service to the university and community through the Student Section of the Mathematical Association of America which is part of our featured article on Student Groups earlier in this newsletter. In addition, Dr. Andrew Diener, Assistant Professor of Mathematics, is the CBU site director for the West Tennessee section of the Science Olympiad (see News of the Moment section earlier in this newsletter). The Math Department also provides support so that CBU can be a test site for the Tennessee Mathematics Teachers Association high school tests in the spring.