The Official Newsletter of the IUP Mathematics Department
May, 1999___________________Volume 2, Issue 2
Welcome to another issue of Stright Lines. One highlight is a column of letters from graduates. We hope to hear from more of you and I hope this column will continue to fill much of each issue. A second highlight is a column of thoughts from another retiring faculty member, Bill Rettig. Since the last issue included a list of recently hired faculty, this one includes a list of faculty who have retired. This issue also includes the first in a continuing series by Gary Stoudt on IUP's curriculum through the years.
Jim Reber, Editor.
by Bill Rettig
When Jim Reber asked me to write some musings for a newsletter about my time at IUP, I had not had any thoughts about doing any such thing. However, I agreed to write some and I hope you are able to make some sense of my rambling. When my family and I moved to Indiana in 1968 we had in mind that we would be here for five to seven years and then we would move to another area of the country. Needless to say I found a home and we stayed. Even now as I contemplate retirement Leslie and I plan to stay in the Indiana area.
Times have changed since I taught my first classes in 1968. For my first semester I taught three algebra and trigonometry classes and each of these were five credit hours. That is correct, we met every day of the semester and the semester was eighteen weeks long. So we were able to spend more time on a particular topic if the students had trouble with it and we had time to do more topics because of the number of meetings per week and the number of weeks in the semester. I remember the semester when the chairman, Dr. Woodard, indicated that he was going to assign me to teach a probability and statistics class the next term. He assured me things would be fine even though I had never had any formal courses in this area. I am not sure how much the students learned those first few times I taught that course but I know I learned a lot.
I consider myself very lucky to have been paid for doing something I very much enjoyed. My best memories as a teacher are tied to students who were in class to learn. Fortunately, there have been many such students. When a class contains a group of students who are working with you they pull everyone along with them. Sometimes this phenomenon did not occur until several weeks into a semester. There were rare cases when it never happened. Those were the times when I had to remind myself that I was being paid to go to class to teach and I had to try to get myself enthused.
I especially remember a student in one of my calculus courses remarking after the first exam "you actually expect us to learn this material." That student failed the first exam, but by the time the course was over he had a pretty good understanding of the ideas we were considering and he earned a grade of B for the course. Just this term in a probability and statistics class I had a student who had not done very well on the first exam but she continued to work and shortly after that she started responding to my questions in class and was quite pleased that she was following what we were doing. So was I!!
There are many memories tied to happenings like that in particular courses as well as with working with colleagues as we taught different sections of the same course. Planning those courses together and testing the students with common exams were great learning experiences for me. Strange as it may seem there are good memories associated with committee work as well. The Evaluation and Tenure Committee, Promotion Committee, and Service Course Committee are the three that stand out in my mind since I spent several semesters as a member of each of them as well as chair of them at various times.
Another time that stands out is serving as assistant chair of the department. When John Broughton asked me to serve I was reluctant even though I considered it an honor to be asked. I was not sure I was the person to take on that role. Since John was very astute in knowing what kind of things to delegate to me I think we worked well as a team.
You might wonder if I had any "bad" memories of being at IUP. Yes, but the "good" ones far outweigh them. So that the scale remains in this direction, I believe it will soon be time to leave. This has been a great place to spend 31 years and I sincerely thank my students and my colleagues for the pleasure.
We Get Letters
I received my first issue of Stright Lines yesterday. As you can see from my email address, I am still working for Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield in Pittsburgh, PA. I recently passed my third Actuarial Exam, Exam 140: The Theory of Interest. I am currently studying for Exam 150: Actuarial Mathematics, which is one of the more difficult math exams in the actuarial exam curriculum. It deals with life insurance, life annuities, retirement benefits, & pension plans etc. The mathematics involved is not that difficult (mostly a combination of algebra, calculus, & statistics). I receive study time at work, about an hour a day, and I spend between 1 & 3 hours a night studying during the work week. I also spend 1 - 2 hours on the weekends studying. Why take these rigorous exams? The opportunity to move up quickly in the actuarial field and also a very rewarding salary increase for each passed exam. For each exam I also have the opportunity to attend a seminar in various cities to prepare for the exam. In April I am going to New York for a 5 - day preparatory seminar for Exam 150.
The actuarial field is booming again. Students must pass one of the first two exams (Calculus or Statistics) to have a chance at getting a job. A summer internship & good grades helps out a lot as well. Starting salaries are on the rise due to the demand for entry-level actuaries.
Although I miss college life, I am happy where I am at right now. I don't know if I will ever further my education. IUP and especially the IUP Mathematics Department did a great job in preparing me for a great career. If I decide to leave the Actuarial profession then I may consider returning to school to obtain a masters. I am not even considering that at the moment.
Nice to communicate with you again!
Justin DeCroo ('98 graduate)
I am responding to the Stright Lines Newsletter. I graduated in Spring of '96, with a degree in math sec ed. I was in Dr. Buriok's Calc II class.
Well, here is some of what I have been doing after IUP. After graduation I was a substitute teacher in the Pittsburgh Public School District. I also worked with the same school district as a wilderness instructor. We would take inner city elementary age students to the wilderness to try to build teamwork skills. It was very rewarding. If I was rich, I would do that for the rest of my life. After 6 months of doing this, I landed a teaching position at Schenely High School, which is also a Pittsburgh Public School. 9th grade Algebra! I had fun. I also realized that teaching was not for me.
I am now programming computers. I lived in Florida for 1 year. I plan on moving around for a while before I am ready to settle down. I do not think it will be any time soon. Besides my career, I have been enjoying rock climbing, windsurfing, etc... Whatever I can get my hands on. I actually went skydiving, bungy jumping, and was learning how to sail until I landed a good job back here in Pittsburgh. I had to put sailing on hold. I intend on getting back into it. I am really enjoying life. I am in no hurry.
Well thank you for the newsletter, have a good year, and hope everything is good at IUP.
Dear Dr. Reber,
My husband and I are both alumni of the math department (BS '88 Applied Math). We were happy to receive your newsletter and sad to hear of Dr. Angelo's departure from the department. He was one of the best!
My husband and I both work for Penn State's College of Medicine in Hershey, PA. We both went on to get Master's degrees in statistics after leaving IUP, and we work as biostatisticians for PSU. I work primarily on large, multi-center, asthma clinical trials. A major component of these trials has to do with managing the abundance of data that come in on a daily basis. We have a data management group that performs these functions and are currently trying to hire two individuals to fill open, entry-level slots in that group. We have had our best success with hiring mathematics/statistics grads into these positions, as they require a high degree of organization and logic, and some programming background. These positions are also communication intensive, requiring daily interactions with clinical personnel and other department team members. This is an excellent opportunity for a new grad to gain exposure to the arena of clinical trials and medical research.
Susan (Jack) Kunselman
husband: Allen Kunselman
I am a '79 (BS) and '82 (MS) mathematics graduate. I taught at Indiana Area Junior High School from 1979-1982. I then left for a commission in the United States Navy. I am still in the Navy and currently serving as the F/A-18E/F Program Integrator at Northrop Grumman in Los Angeles, CA. My math degrees enabled me to become an Aerospace Maintenance Officer, and I am currently working on a Systems Engineering Certification at CALTECH. I have also received a Masters degree from the Naval War College in International Relations and Strategic Planning.
LCDR Cindy L Jaynes ("CJ")
I just received your Dept. of Mathematics newsletter and enjoyed reading it. I am writing in response to your request on hearing what graduates are doing. My name at the time I attended IUP was Lorraine K. Henry. I graduated with a BS degree in Math Education in 1977. Because teaching jobs in Pennsylvania were scarce when I was at IUP, I was pleased that a computer science course in Fortran was required. I also took courses in Accounting just to be safe.
Upon graduation, I was offered a permanent teaching position in Maryland. It was a rough experience as the school was located just outside Washington, DC and most of the faculty were older teachers counting the years until retirement who battled the new and much younger administration. After two years, I left and became a programmer with a defense contractor. My math background was very useful in this position and my teaching background enabled me to do some work in software training and course development. I attended graduate school at Johns Hopkins for a couple of years, but had to abandon that effort due to time constraints as a project leader. After 9 years, I left the workforce to stay home with my 3-year-old son. I eventually began working on PCs and again drew on my education experience to perform software training in a business environment.
Now, with 2 school-age boys, I have a part-time business in my home performing computer services such as desk-top publishing and database management as well as software training. This gives me the flexibility to be involved in their school activities, be with them when they're ill, etc. I also perform a lot of volunteer work at my church, much of it computer related, including helping to maintain our website (my next area of learning).
I believe I was one of only 29 Math graduates in 1977--this allowed me to get to know the faculty well (Dr. Hartman was a particular favorite of mine and served me well as a mentor). I have always felt that my education at IUP prepared me well for all the paths that my career has taken. I was also fortunate to participate in an excellent women's athletic program at IUP. From what I read, IUP still offers that same excellent education experience today. (One of my favorite quotes from my supervisor when I was hired as a programmer was "we can teach programming on the job, but we can't teach the math".)
Thank you for your interest in IUP's math graduates!
Greetings from Chuck Breindel, Ph.D., an alumnus of '70 BS, and '71 MS. I was delighted to get the copy of "Stright Lines." Would love to see some news of alumni there too. Although it has been years since my time there, my heart has never left. I returned in summer 1995 to receive a distinguished alumnus award from IUP, and did not find anyone I knew to speak with there. But I have since found the e-mail address of Mel Woodard. Would love to find Merle Stilwell, Ida Arms, and Bill Smith too. I understand from the newsletter that Joe Angelo is there yet; he would be the only one I know, I guess.
I retired from university administration and as a professor in 1996 to begin another career. I am completing theological studies at Catholic University of America, in DC and hope to be ordained as a Catholic priest of the Diocese of Richmond, VA in spring 2000.
Is Kappa Mu Epsilon there still? (Yes, it is! Editor) I was president in 1969-70.
Best wishes to all there.
401 Michigan Avenue NE
Washington, DC 20017-1557
Hi, I am now teaching at the Kittanning Middle School. I have two Math 7 classes, two Math 8 classes, and an Algebra class. In Algebra, we are doing reports on Mathematicians. My book from Dr. Stoudt's history class is becoming very handy. I will be teaching until the end of the year, but nothing permanent yet!
I hope everything is well with you!
Erin Rush ('98 graduate)
I received the Stright Lines Newsletter the other day in the mail and decided to drop you a quick line, to quickly fill you in on my adventures since graduating from IUP in 1993 with a BS in math.
May 1995: Obtained a Master's degree in Mathematics from Syracuse University. While going to school at SU, I did summer internships at Coopers & Lybrand and Bristol Myers Squibb in Syracuse, NY.
In 1996, I took a temporary position with Bristol Myers Squibb in their East Brunswick site in NJ. The position was in their Quality Control department, testing and documenting legacy computer systems.
In 1997, I took a permanent position with a company called The Copeland Companies (a subsidiary of Citigroup) in their Quality Assurance Department. Copeland is a financial services company and personal retirement specialist. My functions include testing financial based software programs, documentation, analysis and research, training the business areas on how to use the software programs, and providing reports to senior management.
In the fall of 1998, while still working at Copeland, I decide to pursue another master's degree at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ. The master's degree is in Information Systems with a concentration in Information Management. The program consists of taking 2 classes on Saturday mornings. The program is set up on a tri-semester plan, so the students can finish the program in 2 years.
At this time I would like to mention, that if there are students who are looking for employment after graduating, my company is hiring for entry level position in both the business areas and in the information systems division. To learn more about my company (The Copeland Companies), their web site is www.copeland.com.
Mark D. Rayha
IUP Foundation Accounts
When the IUP Foundation asks you for a contribution, you may direct your gift to a particular area in which you have a special interest. Here is a list of accounts in the Foundation that are related to the Mathematics Department.
Mahachek/Mathematics Department (#5130). This account is named for a former department Chair, Dr. Joy E. Mahachek, and is designed to provide funds for the Mathematics Department, in addition to those available through the budget process, and not restricted by the requirement of the budget process. Funds from this account are used to purchase supplies and equipment for the Mathematics Department which cannot be purchased from budgeted funds and to support students attending professional meetings. The Mathematics Department Steering Committee may authorize expenditures for any reasons which support Mathematics Department Activity and is encouraged to support innovative projects.
Mathematics Clinic (#4050). Funds from this account are used to purchase curriculum materials to stock the Curriculum Laboratory in Elementary Mathematics, including items used in a course in diagnostic/prescriptive teaching for children who need extra help in math.
Mathematics Contest (#4060). Funds from this account are used to support the annual high school mathematics contest sponsored by the IUP Mathematics Department.
Art Morrell Memorial Scholarship Fund (#0142)
Dr. Willard Henneman Memorial Scholarship Fund for Students in Elementary Mathematics (#0203)
Mildred Reigh Memorial Scholarship Fund (#0218)
Ida Arms /KME Scholarship Fund (#5020). Mathematics Graduate Scholarship Fund (#5139).
These funds are used to provide scholarships for students in Mathematics or Mathematics Education attending IUP.
Through the Years
by Gary Stoudt
"You think you had it rough? In my day we had to take …." What courses did a mathematics or mathematics education major take at IUP (or its earlier incarnations) through the years? In the last issue of Stright Lines we saw how the teaching of geometry and calculus has changed. In this and subsequent issues we will take a look at how the mathematics curriculum has changed since the founding of the State Normal School of the Ninth District, in Indiana, Pennsylvania in 1875.
In fact, the story starts even earlier, with the Indiana Seminary and Normal School in 1858-59. John Sutton was the Secretary of the Trustees, and the faculty consisted of six men and women: R. T. Cornwell, Professor of Mathematics, Natural Science, and the Theory and Practice of Teaching (he was also the co-Principal); J. Willis Westlake, A.M. Professor of Languages, Mental and Moral Science, and Vocal Music (also co-Principal); Mrs. L. A. Cornwell, Teacher of English Branches and Drawing; Mrs. Ada A. Westlake, Teacher of Music on the Piano and Melodeon; Rev. A. M'Elwaine, A. M., Instructor in Greek; and Rev. W. S. Emery, A. M., Instructor in German. A list of the faculty alone should give you a feel for the curriculum. We will look at the course of study for all students, because at the time everyone studied just about the same thing. In what follows, all quotes are from "Second Annual Catalog and Circular of Indiana Seminary and Normal School, 1859-60".
First, it is interesting to note a few things about the School. The location of the school was quite important at the time. For those who wonder why a university was started in Indiana in the first place, the following should be of interest.
Probably there is not in Pennsylvania a more desirable location for a Seminary than the Borough of Indiana. It is the Capital of Indiana County, distinguished for its healthfulness, and pervaded by a high moral influence.
It is moreover easy of access, being the terminus of the Indiana Branch of the Pennsylvania Rail Road, and the converging point of the best wagon roads of the country.
Students of the School had to maintain the moral character that was so desirable in Indiana.
The Teachers will endeavor to combine mildness with firmness, kindness with justice. Strict regard will also be had to the language, the manners, the whole deportment of the pupils, in the school room and out of it, so as to secure, if possible, not only that they may become good scholars, but also good men and women. Students who will not refrain from drunkenness and other vicious indulgences, will be promptly dismissed, as dangerous to the morals of the school, and unworthy of a place in it or any other.
So, you think you had it rough! What would John Sutton think of his school now? Do not think these rules only apply because of the Seminary. We will see more of the same later when discussing the Normal School.
What about the costs? A student paid per course, and there were a few other fees.
Common English Branches, per quarter of eleven weeks: $5.00
Higher English Branches, per quarter of eleven weeks: $6.00
Ancient or Modern Languages, each, per quarter of eleven weeks: $1.00
Drawing, per quarter of eleven weeks: gratis
Music on the Piano or Melodeon, per quarter of eleven weeks: $8.00
Use of Instrument, per quarter of eleven weeks: $2.00
Vocal Music, daily lessons: gratis
It is also noted that "Good board, with furnished rooms and fuel, can be had near the Seminary at about $2.00 per week."
The course of study at Indiana Seminary and Normal School was quite classical, but with some "modern" changes. The course of study was divided into two parts, the Preparatory Course and the Graduating Course. The graduating course was a three year program, divided into the Junior Class, the Middle Class, and the Senior Class. The academic year was divided into two terms. In order to enter the Graduating Course, a student had to complete the Preparatory Course (or its equivalent elsewhere) and pass an examination on the material. A student who completed the Graduating Course had to pass a "rigid examination in all its studies" in order to receive a diploma. It would seem that this diploma was not equivalent to a college degree, for the catalog states that "students preparing for College may omit some of the scientific studies, and perhaps vary the linguistic studies somewhat, according to the requirements of the college they wish to enter." So while the school was training teachers, it was also a "prep school" to get into college!
What did these courses entail? The Preparatory Course covers "all those studies required to be taught in Common Schools."
(continued on page 6)
(Curriculum, continued from page 5)
These are: Orthography (that is, spelling), Reading, Writing, Mental Arithmetic, Written Arithmetic, Descriptive Geography (including Map Drawing), Physical Geography, History of the United States, English Grammar (including Syntactical Analysis), Physiology, Book-Keeping, Vocal Music, and also, for those who intend to pursue a classical course, Latin Grammar and Latin Reader, or French Grammar. Remember, this was prerequisite to entering the Graduating Course.
In the Graduating Course, there was a small amount of flexibility, "so as to accommodate both Ladies and Gentlemen; the Ladies being allowed to take French and German instead of Latin and Greek, and Drawing and Music instead of some of the higher Mathematics." Remember, this is 1860! You will notice that each time a Latin work is listed a French or German alternative is given and whenever a mathematics course is listed an alternative for the ladies is also given. The studies included the following.
Junior Class, First Term: Caesar's Commentaries or Fasquelle's French Reader; Greek Grammar and Reader or German Grammar; Ray's Algebra, Part 1st; English Literature.
Fasquelle's French Reader and Ray's Algebra refer to the authors of the texts used at the school. I do not know exactly what was studied in Algebra; further research may turn up something. It is unfortunate that IUP does not have copies of the texts used at the time.
Junior Class, Second Term: Cicero's Orations or Telemaque; Greek Reader finished and Anabasis commenced (Xenophon’s account of the Younger Cyrus’ expedition into central Asia) or Woodbury's German Reader; Ray's Algebra, 2d Part, commenced; Geometry, Five Books.
Seeing "Geometry, Five Books" listed brought a grin to my face, as I assumed that students were studying out of Euclid, which at the time, was possible. What else could it refer to? I was later disappointed to find out that the text used was Davies' "Geometry". So it seems that Euclid was never used as a geometry text at IUP or its predecessors.
Middle Class, First Term: Virgil's Aeneid or Henriade and Corinne (which I assume is a German epic); Anabasis, finished or Schiller's Wilhelm Tell; Ray's Algebra, Part 2d, finished; Geometry, finished.
Middle Class, Second Term: Odes of Horace or Racine; Homer's Iliad or Marie Stewart and Klopstock; Chemistry; Trigonometry and Surveying or Botany and Music or Drawing.
Senior Class, First Term: Mental Science (roughly speaking, psychology); Conic Sections and Analytical Geometry or Music or Painting; Rhetoric; General History.
Senior Class, Second Term: Moral Science (roughly speaking, philosophy); Natural Philosophy; Astronomy; Geology.
In this list it should be noted that Natural Philosophy is the study of the physical universe, that is, physics. Recall that Isaac Newton’s famous work, the "Principia," carries the full title of "Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica", or "Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy."
Also included in the list of course work are the following comments.
Exercises in English Composition will be continued throughout both Courses. Classical students will somewhere in the Course study Latin Prose Composition and the rules of Hexameter verse; and all will be required to write frequently exercises in Latin or Greek, or in French and German. Students may study Differential and Integral Calculus, and thus complete their mathematical studies, if they have time and inclination to do so.
Daily Lessons are given in the elements of Vocal Music, with appropriate practice. For these lessons no extra charge will at present be made. Besides this there is a daily exercise in Singing, engaged in by the whole school.
The School is provided with a fine rosewood Steinway PIANO and an excellent MELODEON. Those wishing to become correct and tasteful performers on these instruments will here find excellent opportunities. The Music Classes are open to all, whether they attend the other classes or not.
This is the course of study for all students. The mathematics requirement consists of three semesters of Algebra, two semesters of Geometry, one semester of Trigonometry and Surveying, and one semester of Conic Sections and Analytical Geometry. Calculus was not required, but could be taken by those students with the "time and inclination to do so." I wonder who those students were, and who those students would be if that was the situation today? Latin and Greek are still very much in the curriculum. Remember, completion gets you a diploma, but you still have to go to college after this for a degree.
What about education? Content is the order of the day. The only mention of teacher education is the following from the catalog.
(continued on page 7)
(Curriculum, continued from page 6)
That the teacher needs special training to enable him to discharge the duties that devolve upon him in the school room, is, it is presumed, no longer a question among the teachers of Indiana County.
The Principals, having formerly taught in an Institution devoted almost exclusively to the preparation of teachers for the school room, feel justified in assuming that they are theoretically and practically qualified for their work.
The Normal Department will combine the advantages of the Normal Institute with those of the Academy or High School; thus qualifying the teacher to labor in the school room systematically and with rigid accuracy.
No mention is made of how this will be accomplished. As you can imagine, this will change in the future, and that change begins in 1875 with the opening of the State Normal School of the Ninth District, in Indiana, Pennsylvania.
Thanks to Phillip Zorich, Special Collections Librarian, and Ms. Eileen Mountjoy Cooper, Historical Collections Specialist, in the Special Collections and Archives Department of the IUP Libraries.
Do you want to be involved? Send (via email, FAX or U.S. Mail) what mathematics/education courses you took, the professors’ names, what textbooks you used, and when to:
Department of Mathematics
Indiana University of PA
Indiana, PA 15705
FAX (724) 357-7908
Rest assured, this story will eventually get to your time!
A Comparison Between Teaching at IUP and UWE
(University of the West of England)
by Les Oakshott
How do English Universities compare with IUP? How do the students compare? Are English students more able academically? More motivated? How do the teaching methods compare? These are a few of the questions I have been asked during my year here.
To answer some of these questions a little historical background might be useful. Until the 1960's only about 5% of the population of England went to University. During the 60's this proportion went up slightly as "new" Universities such as Essex and York were formed and some CATS (College of Advanced Technology) such as Loughborough were created. The first large increase in this proportion occurred in the late 60's with the formation of Polytechnics. Bristol Polytechnic was formally designated in 1969 by the amalgamation of a number of smaller Bristol colleges and the building of an out of town campus just north of Bristol. The idea behind Polytechnics was to teach more vocationally oriented courses such as business studies and engineering. These Polytechnics were very successful, particularly in encouraging more non-traditional students to obtain a University education. Under the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 Bristol Polytechnic was enabled to adopt a University title and to award its own degrees. Bristol Polytechnic was renamed the University of the West of England (UWE) on October 5, 1992.
The distinction between the "old" and "new" universities has become less obvious since 1992, although in general the old universities are often better able to attract the more qualified students. These old universities also have a better track record in research and therefore take a larger share of research grants (and therefore are able to attract better-qualified staff, which leads to better research...). UWE is one of the most successful of new Universities and has some 22,000 students enrolled in its 300 degree programs. Students come from all sectors of society with a significant majority of non-traditional students. Around half are from the Bristol area.
During the last decade the proportion of young people attending University has steadily increased. The figure now stands at nearly 40%, although this proportion varies considerably between different sectors of society. The expansion of higher education in England has not been without problems. Although officially it is always denied, most people accept that the expansion has lowered standards, both from entry to Universities and in the courses offered at University. Universities are financially penalized by the funding formula used if they do not recruit or retain a fixed quota of students. The lowering of standards is certainly obvious in mathematics where students arrive at University without the basic knowledge they would have had a few years ago.
(Continued on page 8)
(Different Cultures, continued from page 7)
So are UWE students more able than those at IUP? This is a difficult question as the teaching methods at UWE and IUP are quite different. Teaching at IUP appears to be not that much different than teaching at High School with students being given regular homework, quizzes etc. At UWE we expect students to do more work on their own and the assessment is more formal and at less frequent intervals. A popular expression to summarize teaching at English Universities is "students are responsible for their own learning". As lecturers we are expected to be facilitators of this process and should encourage students to use the library and electronic sources wherever possible. We are also expected to supply students with reference material (lecturers tend to write their own notes rather than rely on text books). Staff contact time is much less than at IUP. Typically a student would attend a one-hour lecture attended by all the students on the program followed by a one-hour tutorial in a small group (about 24 students). These tutorial sessions can be used to answer student questions, to tackle computer related work, or to work on problems set by the lecturer.
Another difference between IUP and UWE is that not all students at UWE have to take a math course. This means that a student who is really weak at math would not choose a program that involved any math courses. In addition the entry qualifications to English Universities are still probably tougher than in the USA. Students need a minimum of 2 or 3 good passes at A level. These "A" levels ensure that students specialize in their chosen field at 16 and study fewer subjects at greater depth.
Although it might seem as if I prefer the English system, the stress and workload of an English lecturer (relatively few academics have the title of professor) is higher than in the USA. A lecturer in the UK does not have as much academic freedom as in the USA. For instance he/she must follow the course outline closely and must have his examination paper approved by external examiners. The conditions of service have deteriorated over the years and in many Universities academics are subject to annual appraisals and even have to seek permission to take a summer vacation! On top of this the average pay of an academic is probably less than $40,000.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my year at IUP. I have found the majority of students friendly, polite and well motivated. Seeing the students twice a week helped to create a good atmosphere and this is the first time in many years that I have actually managed to learn all my students names. Expecting students to get over 60% on the course took a bit of getting used to (at UWE the pass mark is 40%) and I did feel that I had to make the questions far easier than I would have done in England.
(I return to England in the summer but would love to hear from faculty, staff and students. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org)
Actuarial Workshop in China
John Zhang of the Math department was awarded a three year China Bridge Inter-nation (CBI) fellowship. Last summer, partially supported by CBI, John went back to China and cooperated with a colleague in Zhongshan University to conduct research in Actuarial Mathematics. In connection with their research, an international actuarial workshop was held in Guangzhou China from June 3 to June 5. Actuaries and participants from more than ten insurance companies and scholars from Beijing University, Zhongshan University, Jinan University, Boston University, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and the Society of Actuaries attended the meeting. At the meeting, participants examined the current business environment in China and studied the role, the functions, and the future directions of actuaries and actuarial science in China. Issues examined included: how to educate actuaries for the needs of future Chinese business development; the functions and structures of an actuarial academic program; the conditions for the existence of actuarial firms in China and their possible structures.
The meeting promoted communications between academia and industry in actuarial science, and provided our Chinese colleagues up-to-date information about actuarial sciences. As a result of the meeting, participants have a better understanding of how to use actuarial science in Chinese insurance companies, and a better understanding of the future of actuaries in China -- which is, perhaps, the biggest future commercial market in the world. After lengthy discussion, participants estimated that it would take from 3 to 5 years for China to have sufficient demand to support actuarial firms. Criteria considered included the enactment of laws favorable to the development of actuarial business, the privatization of the health care system, and the growth in competition for qualified personnel.
Ben Bovee graduate from IUP in 1991 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Mathematics. He is presently a Senior Software Systems Engineering Analyst and can be reached by email at email@example.com.
Thoughts from an IUP graduate
by Ben Bovee
The question we're all asked "What do you want to do when you grow up?" evolves to "What type of work would you like to perform?" when you interview with prospective employers. Having a clear direction and interest in mind can greatly help in steering your career. If work opportunities at a company don't match your desires, look elsewhere. I have been fortunate enough to have had the opportunities to--for the most part--always perform the type of work for which I was looking. We all make compromises out of necessity at times, but don't let these stop you from looking for something better while in these situations.
For what are employers looking in employees today? Abilities to analyze and communicate effectively, as well as a self-starting drive to do things like read industry trade magazines and self-teach the latest technology applications, methodologies and analytical techniques. Many organizations pay to train personnel since knowledge of, and experience in, these topics is largely lacking. Government contracting compensates a little less than commercial work and is more long-term. Commercial work generally is performed contract-to-contract, and offers a life style that requires budgeting discipline and is not for everyone. I have points of advice I offer for free to IUP students.
Identify your goals. After I first graduated, I applied for Federal government Mathematician openings, and was initially discouraged. I found a listing for a GS-5 or GS-7 position in Alaska; I did not pursue it. I knew I enjoyed solving problems and implementing solutions. I knew there were a lot of people that could write source code, and I would be bored doing the same thing every day. I pursued and have held positions facilitating communication among customers, managers, peer system engineers, human-computer interface specialists and programmers while creating highly technical specification packages. I repeatedly sought out and found work where I could diversify my day-to-day tasks and work as a professional.
What I do is not for everyone, but it is what I want to do, so the point is to identify what you want and seek it out. It is uncommon to find my combination of abilities (not to toot my own horn;
I have met others that can also do this, some whom are neither as articulate nor as effective at marketing themselves to present them self this way) but this combination is exactly companies look for and gained the beginnings of at IUP. My past positions have required serving in an analyst capacity, and this defines how companies perceive me today.
Seek out mentors and advice. While entering my last semester at IUP, I debated whether to complete a Minor in Computer Science or attend Dr. Donley's then new Supercomputing class. Ed advised me to not bother with COBOL, and attend his class since it would be more beneficial in the long run. I resisted his advice for a day or two, but decided to follow his direction while registering; this was the first of many times I have never regretting following advice of people much wiser than myself. I had the brightest man I'll probably ever met--also an IUP professor--tell me that it was a shame I was majoring in the education of math rather than the application of it. My educational experiences were ameliorated and augmented by concentrating on problem-solving for all four years while there. I can see how my past Freshman and Sophomore classmates that pursued Education would not have the enthusiasm and appreciation for mathematics that I only reached in my last year and a half. One of the main reasons I chose IUP over all the other PA State schools is the approachability of the faculty. Memories of time spent with IUP professors are among my richest.
Stay active with professional organizations. I got my first break into the information technology (IT) field due to membership in a specialty society of the IEEE, and have maintained membership since. Many of the journals help keep you current with trends, and there are a lot of positive opportunities awaiting you if you seek them.
Pick a specialty and stay with it. While in Villanova graduate school, my advisor told me that I had more math when I entered the program than most--if not all--of my classmates at the time would have by the time they completed their degree. I had a specific application of the knowledge I would gain there, and he told me that I would be disappointed (he was correct) that the Environmental Engineering industry was using a 1962 algorithm that hasn't changed, and there were no perceived needs to improve it since it served it's "engineering purposes," which I found out it means it gives an answer that can be multiplied by 2 or 3 to give a construction specification answer.
(Continued on page 10)
(Thoughts, continued from page 9)
While struggling with graduate engineering classes, I realized that the style of thinking was very (disappointingly) narrow, and was too different from my undergraduate training for me to catch up.
Actively guide your ambitions. All in all, I am glad to have a broad educational background in applied natural sciences, and now am glad I have guided my career for applying the abilities to analyze and solve problems. On average we spend more than half of our lives working, so it is worth your time and effort to analyze what you want to do during that time.
We hope the following profile will be the first in a series of profiles of graduates of the IUP Mathematics Department. If you know someone that you would like to see profiled or if you would be willing to be profiled yourself, please let us know. Thanks to Ann Massey for work on this first profile.
Profile: William S. Hadley
Class of 1970
Bill Hadley graduated in 1970 with a B.S. degree in Mathematics, with the plan of becoming a Ph. D. Mathematician. We asked him a few questions.
What particular memories do you have of your days at IUP and your time in the IUP Mathematics Department? I met my wife of 30 years in Doc Simmons' Differential Equations class.
What did you do immediately after graduating from IUP? I attended Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in a doctoral program, and after a year decided that being a research mathematician was not for me, and took a teaching job at Fifth Avenue Junior/Senior High School in the Pittsburgh Public Schools until I decided on what I really wanted to do with the rest of my life. Twenty-eight years later, I still believe that teaching is one of the most challenging, important, and rewarding professions.
What work have you been doing recently? For the last 7 years I have been working on a research project in collaboration with the Cognitive Psychology and Computer Science Departments at CMU to develop secondary mathematics curriculum and intelligent cognitive modeling software. These courses, formerly known as PUMP, are being commercialized by a new start-up company, Carnegie Learning, Inc.. These are the only truly integrated software and written curriculums available today. They are currently being used in 70+ schools across the United States including San Diego, New York City, Norwalk CT, Milwaukee, and Albemarle City VA, and in some DODEA schools in Europe. They have been shown to improve student engagement and achievement in urban, rural, suburban, private, and public schools as well as in middle and high schools.
In what way did the education you received at IUP prepare you for your career? I was very well prepared both for pursuing the doctorate or as a classroom teacher.
Would you select IUP again? Yes. I guess so since I have two sons attending IUP currently.
What thoughts do you have on your choice of career related to Mathematics, or, what advice might you have for students thinking about a choice of major? Mathematics and the teaching of mathematics are undergoing a revolution unlike any previous revolution. Technology is rapidly changing what mathematics is important and how it should be learned and taught. Much of the mathematics of my high school days, especially the symbol crunching, is becoming increasingly less critical and the ability to flexibly apply and use the conceptual understanding of mathematics is quickly becoming a necessity for ALL students. How mathematics' infrastructure at all levels solves this enormous challenge of universal need and access may well be the determining factor between the haves and the haves not of the next century.
IUP Faculty Retirees
1981-1985: Mildred Reigh, Halley Willison, Wallace Morrell, Edwin Smith, Ronald McCoy, Blaine Crooks, William Long
1986-1990: Carl Oakes, Raymond Gibson, Jack Westwood, Ida Arms, Willard Hennemann, JoAnne Mueller, Merle Stilwell
1991-1995: William Smith, Doyle McBride, Marlin Hartman, Joseph Peters, Richard Wolfe, Dale Shafer, Ronald McBride, Melvin Woodard
1996-1999: Donald Duncan, Elwood Speakman, Joseph Angelo
1998 Career Night
The tradition of an annual Career Night in the IUP Mathematics Department continued on November 12, 1998. The following IUP graduates made presentations and answered questions.
Mr. Ronald McGarvey received a B.S. in Applied Mathematics from IUP in 1997. He is a graduate student at Pennsylvania State University, and expects to receive an M.S. in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research in 1999. Last Summer he did an internship with the Walt Disney World Company, Industrial Engineering and Planning Department, Transportation Division. His thesis is "Determining the Optimal Location for a Central Facility in the Presence of Forbidden Regions Using the Big-Square Small-Square (BSSS) Algorithm". After obtaining his M.S. he expects to enter the work sector as an operations research analyst.
Ms. Marie DiBacco received an M.S. in Applied Mathematics from IUP in 1997. Prior to that, she received a B.S. in Secondary Education Mathematics from Pennsylvania State University and taught at Villa Maria Academy in Erie, PA. She works at Biocontrol Technology, Inc. in Indiana, PA. Biocontrol carries out research in medical device production. Ms. DiBacco works on the Diansenor 1000, a non-invasive glucose machine.
Mr. Mark Zilinskas received a B.S. in Mathematics Education from IUP in 1988. He is near completion of an M.Ed. in Mathematics Education at IUP. Prior to his Masters work he taught at Independence High School in Columbus, OH. and Muskingum College in New Concord, OH. He has taught mathematics, including AP calculus and statistics, at Indiana High School for eight years. He has also served as the assistant football and track coach, and is active in the Student Assistance Program.
Mr. David Busovicki received a B.S. in Applied Mathematics with a Minor in Computer Science from IUP in 1988. He is a Software Engineer for the National Drug Intelligence Center located in Johnstown, PA. He has supported various Department of Defense and Law Enforcement contracts. Several of his computer systems are in use by military personnel in the Pentagon, and his database application Real-time Analytical Intelligence Database (RAID) is used by the FBI, DEA, and the CIA to track organized crime.
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