Stright Lines


The Official Newsletter of the IUP Mathematics Department

Spring, 2002___________________Volume 5, Issue 1

Welcome to another issue of Stright Lines. For any of you receiving this as a first issue and thinking that the IUP Mathematics Faculty can't spell "straight", I remind you that the Mathematics Department is located in Stright Hall.

We are sad to report the death of Dr. Rebecca Stoudt, an IUP Mathematics Faculty member who died recently of cancer at the age of 41. Readers might recall she wrote about the Spiral Project in our last newsletter.

Two issues back Joe Kirchner recalled several humorous stories from his days at IUP. We hoped to get some more stories from alumni or retired faculty. Joe thought "it might be a little tough getting funny stories from a bunch of math majors" and he initially seemed to have been right. But in this issue we have some good memories from alumni and we continue to invite yours.

Jerry Buriok is in his last semester as Chairperson of the Mathematics Department and has written an article on recent retirees. This newsletter also includes some comments by Gary Stoudt as the Chair elect as well as another installment of his history of the IUP Mathematics Curriculum. The issue closes with some thoughts from Maher Shawer as he nears retirement.

Jim Reber, Editor.

Funny Story

I enjoy getting the Stright Lines newsletter. In your last issue you asked for funny stories. There was one incident that sticks out in my mind that still causes me to smile every time I think of it. I graduated in Applied Math in 1982 (my maiden name was Slack). It was during the final exams in the spring of '82 and although I can't remember the name of the course I know that Dr. Buriok taught it. About a half an hour into the exam a guy came running into the class panting breathlessly and wearing only his robe and slippers! He had been pulling an all-nighter studying for the exam, fell asleep, and woke up to see that the exam had started without him. Everyone in the room burst out into laughter when he ran into the classroom - you really had to be there to appreciate it. Dr. Buriok told the guy that he could have at least put on a pair of pants and shoes! Great person that he is, Dr.

Buriok let the guy stay after the regular dismissal time so that he could finish the test.

It's been almost 19 years since I've graduated and I'm still working for the same company that I went to after graduation (IIT Research Institute) - although I went part-time about 5 years ago (kids). I am currently working in the area of modeling and simulation for call center optimization. I have very fond memories of my days at IUP.

Katherine S. Miller, IIT Research Institute


Alumni notes

I got my M Ed. in Instruction from UVA in 1996, and have been teaching 8th grade Pre-algebra, Algebra I, and Geometry for Roanoke City Schools in Roanoke, VA since 1993. IUP did a WONDERFUL job preparing me to be a teacher. Dr. Buriok, Dr. Massey, Dr. Morgan, and Dr. Duncan--you all were awesome! Someday, I will read Flatland with my 8th grade geometry students. I also still remember Dr. Frank telling us in History of Math that Newton died a virgin. ??

If any pre-service teachers need a survey done or any other help, please give them my email address. THANKS!

Tara Quinlan Mutchler;

Secondary Ed--Math - May 1993

I am now teaching at Roosevelt Junior High School in Altoona, PA. I have four applied Algebra classes and one academic Algebra class. I am using cognitive algebra tutor from Carnegie Mellon this year in my academic class. Each student works two days a week, self paced on a wireless laptop. The other three days focus on cooperative problem solving and group presentations. I enjoy it here and think often about Dr. Woodard and Dr. Shepler. Thank you for the newsletter. I enjoy reading it.

Lisa Sendzik , class of 88 (

Humorous Memories

Dear Dr. Reber:

In response to your request for humorous stories for Stright Lines from our student days at IUP, I have a few to share. You may not wish to use them all, but here they are.

One of my favorite memories of my days at IUP is from a Calculus 2 class in the spring of 1973 with Dr. Merle Stilwell as the professor. We had Calc 2 at 8 am 4 days each week, so by Thursday mornings, after getting up all week for this class, my classmates and I were not exactly exuding energy as we arrived for our lesson. On the other hand, Merle was always energetic, and especially in the morning, no matter what day it was. In his typical manner, on this particular Thursday, he bounded into the room and soon had the walls reverberating with his calculus wisdom, but, we were not responding with appropriate enthusiasm. Undaunted, Merle announced, "I ought to make you people do calisthenics!" "Oh, no!" I thought. "He might be serious." Obviously we still seemed too exhausted, for he proceeded to proclaim, "When I get out of bed in the morning and my feet hit the floor, I sing! My wife hates me, my son hates me, and my daughter hates me, but I sing!" He did not sing for us (although you who remember the delightful singing of Dr. Stillwell's quartet, "The Sprucemen," will agree that a song would have definitely been better than calisthenics!), so I guess we finally showed some sign of life. But I still carry this mental image of Merle stepping out of bed and singing his household awake every morning. Maybe that's where he got all that energy.

Does anyone besides myself, and my nameless classmate, remember that Dr. Stilwell exempted a student from the calculus final because the young man had fallen while playing basketball and had broken both wrists? Said Merle to us, "If the same thing happens to any one else in class, I'll exempt you from the test too!" Needless to say, none of us took him up on it.

Another humorous memory about Merle come from a day during my freshman year when I had come to ask him for some advice about a conflict I was having with another professor. Mr. Wally Morrell, Merle's office mate, showed up just as I was explaining the more difficult details of the situation, so Merle asked Wally as he entered the room, "Please close the door there. Cathy is having a problem that we need to keep private." As he closed the door, Wally blurted out, "You're not pregnant, are you? We can deal with anything else here, but not that!" Fortunately that was not my problem, we had a good laugh, and Wally's joking helped to break the tension of dealing with a tough situation - but I still wonder what would have happened if I had said, "That's it - I'm pregnant!"

Dr. Joe Angelo was a fun guy to have for Calc 3 in the fall of 1973. He always tried to help us understand tough concepts in an easy way. For example, one day I was having trouble picturing a "normal vector," so Joe stood very straight with his arms stiffly at his side and said, "I am a normal vector!" But even better was when we were studying the "saddle curve," and Joe felt obliged to show us how to draw this 3-D figure. We all knew this was going to be tough, but he kept promising he was practicing and he set a special date on which he would do the demonstration. Finally the day arrived and we were ready - and Joe came to class with a cast on his hand! Fortunately the "injury" was all a hoax. The funny thing to me now is that I don't even remember if Joe ever drew the curve - just that he played a good joke on us and we had a great time laughing about it.

I remember many other humorous moments, bits and pieces from various professors and their classes. Who could ever forget Dr. Stillwell's favorite and unique phrases, "Shoot the breeze" and "You dirty bird"? What about Miss Arms' famous start to a proof: "Take a P in any field"? Did anyone know where Dr. Hoyt got that huge macaroni box? Did Mr. Busovicki, with his great enthusiasm and amazing old and rare coins, convince some students to take up coin collecting (or another passion of his, playing the lottery)? Does anyone besides me recall Dr. Ron McBride as being the first person you can remember who called a proof "pretty"? (Some of us took longer than others to catch on to that particular kind of beauty.) How about the directions on Charlie Bertness' Abstract Algebra final: If true, prove true. If false, give a counter example"?

I feel very lucky to have studied with the people I did at IUP. We had a terrific group of teachers and students. I don't know where it would have been likely to go better. Thanks for many special memories. I hope you can use some of the stories.

Cathy Gump Schloemer (BS Ed '76, M Ed '79)

Write to Us

Send us your comments and suggestions on the newsletter or let us know what you are doing. You can write us at: Department of Mathematics,

Indiana University of Pennsylvania,

233 Stright Hall, Indiana, PA 15705-1072

You can visit our web page at

and send email to us at: or

Alumni Notes

Thanks for the nice write up in Stright Lines. A few readers might remember me by my maiden name.

As a mathematics major, I was fortunate to have Dr. Mahachek for my first year of math classes. After that year, it was decided that I would become her secretary since I was familiar with the terminology. I remained her secretary for 2 * years. So many math alums would keep in touch with her that we would send out a newsletter once or twice a year. This was a major pain since it was necessary to cut stencils, and I was not the swiftest typist. We persevered for she knew the alumni were anxious to hear from her. In those days, the math department was a close-knit group. She sponsored the Math Club, which organized the annual Fall Outing at the college lodge and a Spring Banquet. All the math students would attend these events and they were wonderful opportunities to get to know each other. She also required each junior math major to research and present a paper on some new and interesting math topic. These papers were presented each month for the underclassmen. She was not only the Mathematics Department Chair, but also the Chair of the Secondary Education Division. This was quite a bit of additional responsibility for her, but we worked as a team and managed to keep the division running smoothly.

Dr. Mahachek was nationally known and respected as a mathematics educator. She was always invited to present workshops throughout the country. She would keep all of her handout materials on a big table in her office and use two large suitcases to carry these handouts to the conferences. However, she had the suitcases there for another reason. Whenever any of the big names in mathematics education would visit with her, it was my job to quickly pack all those handouts into the suitcases and hide them in a closet. Thus, the visitor came to a very neat and tidy office. Not only was I her secretary, but she considered me a friend and colleague; therefore, I was the first person to meet these people. She always had me stay and listen to their conversations. They were always interested in her opinions about this so-called "New Math".

I always thought of her as my mentor, and she was that for so many other students. She was a kind and considerate woman. We kept in touch throughout her life. She encouraged me to continue my education and complete my studies for both my masters and doctorate. I am sure that there are many others who were touched by her love and concern for them.

Dorothy Simpson Mullin

Dr. Buriok,

It's been quite some time since I've been in contact with Dr. Morgan, and after reading Stright Lines this past month, I thought I'd drop a quick note to let you know what I've been doing. I graduated in 1993 with my BS in Applied Math and started a short-lived career as a property and casualty actuary. After several attempts to pass exams without success and a little soul searching, I decided that the actuarial profession was not for me and I switched gears completely in the summer of 1996. I took a statistical programmer position at IMS Health, a global market research company providing information and consulting services primarily to the pharmaceutical industry and I've been here ever since. At that time, my job was to provide SAS programming solutions for various research and development projects that were underway. I also enrolled in Villanova University's Masters program in Applied Statistics, where coincidentally, I met another IUP alum - Tracie Moreland. I graduated in May 2000.

During my tenure here at IMS, I've moved into the more statistical roles and am currently Manager of Sales Force Analytics in the consulting group of about 50 statisticians and programmers, providing statistical analytics to the organization. My job primarily focuses on using our data to advise the pharmaceutical companies which prescribers their sales forces should call on and with what frequency. We also provide sales force territory alignment definitions. One of the exciting projects I've just begun to participate in is using Exhaustive CHAID to segment prescribers into targeting categories based not only on their retail prescription activity, but also with some attitudinal survey information we've collected.

Glad to hear that all is well with the department and I look forward to the next edition! Have a great summer and please send my regards to Drs. Morgan, Bertness, Maderer and the Stoudts.

Sue Luning, Manager, Sales Management Analytics

IMS HEALTH Statistical Services

Using History of Mathematics?

If you are a teacher and are using the history of mathematics in your teaching (in any manner) or would like to use history to enhance your lessons, please contact Gary Stoudt at 724-357-2608 or by e-mail He is interested in your reports "from the field" and/or can help you with ideas for your classroom.

Math Department Retirees

by Jerry Buriok

How do you summarize in a few paragraphs the contributions a person has made in over thirty years of teaching? This is the dilemma I faced last summer when five mathematics faculty members submitted letters of retirement. Charles Bertness, Arlo Davis, Charles Maderer, Ann Massey, and Jack Shepler finished their careers at IUP and one of my responsibilities, as chairperson was to write a letter to each retiree in which some reference was made to highlights of his/her career. There was a feeling of nostalgia as I went through records making notes on items that deserved mention, and there were many such items for each of these people. What did not appear in the records were the many small interactions day after day with students that had a lasting effect on students' careers and personal lives. But that was probably the most rewarding part of being a professor of mathematics at IUP, and the thing that kept these newly retired faculty members in this profession for so many years.

Dr. Bertness arrived at IUP in 1971 as a theoretical mathematician. He used sabbatical leaves in 1983-84 at Claremont College in California and 1989-90 at the University of Washington to convert himself into an applied statistician. Dr. Bertness took advantage of travel opportunities at IUP, spending the 1994-95 academic year on exchange at Deakin University in Geelong, Australia, and the 1998-99 academic year on exchange at the University of West England in Bristol, England. He attended professional meetings in Costa Rica and China. Dr. Bertness was an active member of the Mathematical Association of America and the American Statistical Association.

Dr. Davis was valued for his versatility. He taught courses ranging from the introductory liberal studies course MATH 101 to dual level courses such as topology and advanced calculus. He was active in service to the University, and his service as member and chairperson of the General Education Task Force in 1985-86 is particularly notable. In the years just prior to his retirement, he was a member and chairperson of the University-wide Promotion Committee. He was also active in Phi Delta Kappa and APSCUF.

Everyone who worked with Charles Maderer was aware of his love of mathematics as a discipline and the teaching of mathematics. He had extensive knowledge of a range of topics in mathematics and routinely volunteered to teach new courses, often in areas where few other faculty members were willing. Mr. Maderer's favorite activity in the Mathematics Department was the annual Mathematics Contest for high school students, and his favorite activity in his free time was playing chess. For a number of years, he served as advisor to the IUP Chess club.

During the decade of the nineties, Dr. Massey was the keystone of IUP's Secondary Mathematics Education program. She presented numerous in-service workshops at high schools in the region and served on several state level teams of professionals, developing and disseminating information on mathematics curricula and standards. Dr. Massey was active in a number of professional organizations, including the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the Pennsylvania Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and the Mathematics Council of Western Pennsylvania. She was a frequent organizer and presenter at meetings of these organizations.

Dr. Shepler's initial appointment at IUP was half time in the Mathematics Department and half time in the Graduate School's Applied Research Lab. After a few years, he moved to full-time teaching in the Mathematics Department, where he developed an excellent reputation as a teacher. In 1992, Dr. Shepler headed a group of faculty members who received an Eisenhower grant through the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Titled "A Statistical Education for Quantitative Literacy (SEQuaL)", this grant was renewed several times and helped numerous elementary and secondary teachers prepare to teach statistics in mathematics classes in their schools.

All of these faculty members exemplify the qualities that make the IUP Mathematics Department strong. We wish them well in their retirements.

From the Chair Elect: Gary Stoudt

Did you know that 41% (12 of 29) of the current tenured or tenure track faculty in the Department of Mathematics have known only one department chairperson? Dr. Gerald Buriok has been leading the department since 1990. His twelve years of service matches that of Franklin Roosevelt in the White House, although their terms were not concurrent. Roosevelt led despite his illness; Jerry led despite his graying hair (check out the picture on his web page). Roosevelt led us through a great war; Jerry led us through the Mathematica wars. Above all, both men were extremely popular leaders. I think we were all comforted to know Jerry was in charge. Things went smoothly; there were many things that no one ever worried aboutthey were always taken care of. We all owe him a great deal and I hope before the Spring semester is over we shall all try to give him our thanks.

(continued on page 5)

(From the Chair Elect, continued from page 4)

So, what happens after May 1, 2002? To stretch another presidential metaphor, do not ask what I can do for you, but rather what you can do for me. To the alumni and former faculty, I want to hear from you. With e-mail so prevalent these days, it shouldn't be that hard to drop me a line. If you do not know me, send an e-mail to someone in the department you do know. Specifically, I am interested in what we have always been interested in: "What did we do right?" and "What did we do wrong?" More recent alumni, I especially want to hear from you on these subjects. I am not a "that's the way we have always done it" type of person, but I am interested in history and tradition. "Less recent" alumni and former faculty, I want to know of departmental traditions. Can any of these traditions be revived? Was there more student-faculty interaction then?

To the current faculty, I hope that I can help you in pursuing your interests. There are plenty of restrictions on a chairperson's power, but within those limitations, I hope that I can help faculty members to grow, to try new things, and to experiment a little. However, I hope that your interests can serve the department. I think that interest in departmental work has waned as our outside activities have grown. While you are writing that article or getting that grant, someone else is schlepping through committee, curriculum, and department work. Both kinds of activities need to be rewarded, and department service is something I will be looking at carefully.

We are a rare department in the sense that our faculty encompasses primary, secondary, and tertiary mathematics education. If you read American Mathematical Society and Mathematical Association of America publications over the past year or so you saw that there has been increased activity by university mathematicians in the area of mathematics education, both elementary and secondary. Because of our unique position, is there something we can do? The (lack of) mathematical preparation of teachers is such a hot topic these days, so we can perhaps make a name for ourselves here with school visits, seminars, in-service activities.

Most important to all of our welfare are the current students. So to you I say, we will do our best to take care of you. We will not coddle you, however. Let's face it; learning mathematics takes a lot of work. You need to realize that and do the work. We in turn need to realize that you do work hard and we do not need to make it any harder by being unfriendly, uncaring, or unreasonable. If you have a big "Proofs" test (Algebraic Structures for "less recent" alumni) it is not hard for me to postpone my assignment's due date for a few days. On the other hand, you need to cut back on the procrastination so that you do not have five things due within a few days of each other. Sometimes these things are unavoidable, and we must realize that as well. I think if we all get to know each other better as people this will take care of itself.

That should do it for now. You can reach me at or, after May 1, in Jerry's office. I think it will be known by that name for some time; I have no problem with that. Thanks for reading.

We Get Letters

This letter is intended to address students and faculty advisors. I graduated in 1994 after student teaching in nearby Derry. I eventually established residence in Virginia. Two years after having a child, I decided to return to work. I found the substitute teacher's salaries in my area were below my childcare expenses. Therefore, I decided to accept a position as an industrial engineer at The Lane Company, the maker of Lane Cedar Chests.

Throughout my education I believed it was my "destiny" to teach. I was sure no other career choice could ever satisfy me. However, I soon found myself thrilled by my new career. Since then, I've worked in other manufacturing facilities. I'm now the World Class Manufacturing Leader at a company called APW in Erie, Pennsylvania. Although I may teach again, someday, I couldn't be any happier or more fulfilled in my present career.

However, looking back at my education, I have a few regrets. From those I offer you the following advice.

1. Take a language. English may be the "official" language in the US. However, it certainly isn't the only one. I recently began to pay a college student to teach me Spanish. I find that my 5-year old son's pronunciation is far better than mine. At this late stage I certainly have some catching up to do.

2. Strive to become an all-around person, not just a straight-A student. During a lay-off, I was forced to choose subordinates to retain from those to dismiss. Folks employed the longest had several things in common. They had good social skills (could easily work with peers and superiors). Retained employees were motivated to do a good job and could shift gears quickly. They could manage their own emotions while showing empathy for others. Finally, they also had excellent communication skills.

3. Take non-major classes that interest you. Please don't feel that these courses merely waste your time. They help you become a well-rounded person! (continued on page 6)

(Letter continued from page 5)

The liberal science curriculum helped me enroll in classes that I would not have chosen under the General Education requirements.

4. Become versatile in using a variety of computer software. Consider them useful tools for any job. As a result of my inadequacy in software training, I was forced to compensate while on the job. For example, during work today alone, I used PowerPoint, Access, Excel, Word & AutoCAD. I took a class in only one of the programs mentioned. The rest I learned on my own and through friends. Employers rarely have the time or patience to do a great deal of training anymore.

5. Be proud of your IUP education. IUP did a wonderful job preparing me for the "real-world." I'm sure you will discover the same. Good luck!

Nicole Sloane

SEQuaL: the Next Chapter

by Larry Feldman, SEQuaL Director

We were recently informed that SEQuaL has tentatively been funded for the 2002/2003 year. This will be our fifth distinct Eisenhower grant and our 11th consecutive year of workshops. By 2003 we will have had close to 1000 Pennsylvania K-12 teachers go through SEQuaL workshops.

SEQuaL began with concurrent K-6 and 7-12 probability and statistics workshops in 1992. Teachers went through a warm-up day in the spring, an intensive week in the summer, and follow-up days the next fall and spring. At the spring final session, teachers presented to their colleagues what they have accomplished with their K-12 students. This format has remained unchanged over the years.

In 2002/2003, we will run two types of workshops - the real data (data-driven) workshops and an 11th / 12th grade statistics workshop. 2002/2003 will be the first year since 1992 that we will not run the probability and statistics workshops. Another big change is that 2002/2003 will be the first year without two of our founders - Jack Shepler and Ann Massey. Jack was the founder of SEQuaL and our director up until 2000. He is currently site director for the first 11th and 12th grade statistics workshop that will have its final session in a few weeks. Ann Massey has been part of SEQuaL from its beginnings and helped to create the probability and statistics workshops for K-6 and our multidisciplinary workshops for non-math teachers. She has taught these workshops all across the state. We wish both Jack and Ann all the best in their retirements.

Replacing our probability and statistics workshops for grades K-12 will be our real data (also known as data-driven) workshops. For 2002/2003, they will be held at IUP, at Edinboro U., and at Manheim Township (near Lancaster). Our goal is now to use the collection and analysis of data to teach all mathematical subjects, not just probability and statistics. Thus, in first grade, students can do a study of the number of pets the children had and use that data to learn about place value, addition of two-digit numbers, inequalities, and the underlying concepts of division. Sixth graders can measure the circumference (C) and diameter (D) of all kinds of circles (hula hoops, dimes, and anything in between) to discover that there is something special about C/D (pi). Senior high students can make best-fit lines from real data collected by the class and use these lines to motivate the often-tedious study of linear equations.

We have used nationally developed materials for some of our secondary grades data driven activities but SEQuaL will be creating K-6 materials on our own. In April, we will have a two-day conference to develop materials for the K-6 data driven workshops.

Fred Morgan, another of the original SEQuaL founders will be site director for the second year 11th and 12th grade statistics workshop, to be held this summer at IUP. This workshop is designed both for teachers who will teach a significant stats unit and for those teaching AP Statistics. IUP math professor Francisco Alarcon, our Assistant Director, and Lynnan Mocek, our Program Coordinator, are new to SEQuaL since our last Stright Lines article.

In addition, we continue to have several IUP Math alumni as workshop teachers, including Mary Lou Metz (Rockwood High School), Anita Smith (Homer Center High School), and John Uccellini and Mark Zilinskas (Indiana Area High School).

From 3:30-6 on February 21, we will have a presentation on gender equity in mathematics by Margaret Stempien. On April 10, my students in probability and statistics for elementary and middle school teachers will present their ideas for statistics studies. Both of these events are open to everyone as part of the Mathematics Academic Alliance for Quantitative Literacy.

We would love to hear from you if you would like information about any of our workshops. My email is or you can contact Lynnan at 724-357-6239.

IUP's Mathematics Curriculum Through the Years, Part 4

Gary Stoudt

In previous issues we had made it to the opening in 1875 of the State Normal School of the Ninth District, in Indiana, Pennsylvania. You will recall that the mathematics requirement (for all students, regardless of program) consisted of two terms of Algebra, two terms of Geometry, one term of Trigonometry, one term of Conic Sections and one term of Analytical Geometry and Calculus. Notice that calculus was now a requirement. The Olney series of texts was used. This series was used at many colleges at the time. Edward Olney was Professor of Mathematics at the University of Michigan. It is also striking how closely this follows much of what is currently in the core of the liberal studies requirements at many universities, including IUP: writing, literature, history of the modern era, philosophy or religion, art, and natural science. The Classical Course naturally had more courses in the Latin and Greek languages. The Elementary Course was by far the most popular course, with 218 out of 221 students.

The mathematics faculty at the time consisted of David M. Sensenig, M.S., who also served as principal, and also taught Mental and Moral Philosophy and the Science and Art of Teaching; Silas C. Delap, M.S., who taught Natural Sciences and Mathematics; and Mrs. Anna M. Sensenig, who also taught English. Unfortunately, we do not know the schools associated with their degrees. Of note is the fact that there is a husband and wife team teaching, as there was in the Seminary and Normal School.

By 1878, David Sensenig was still principal but he was no longer teaching mathematics; he was replaced by R. Willis Fair, B.S., who graduated from the Scientific Course of the Normal School in 1877. This will be a feature of the faculty for many years to come, as promising graduates stayed on at the school to become faculty members. Delay was gone, so mathematics was handled by Fair and Mrs. Sensenig, and one year later, when the Sensenigs left, by Fair alone. By 1879, Fair was listed in catalogs as having an M.S. degree, but the school is unknown. It is surmised that his degree was from the Normal School itself. The Classical Course was gone, a victim of no enrollment. The Elementary and Scientific Courses remained and were essentially the same as in 1875, although enrollments were still very low in the Scientific course, with only two students in the 1878-79 academic year. The mathematics in the Elementary Course consisted of Arithmetic, Algebra, and Geometry. The textbooks used were Brooks' Union Arithmetic, Brooks' Elementary Algebra, and Brooks' Elementary Geometry. Brooks refers to Edward Brooks (1831-1912), who was at various times Professor of Grammar and Rhetoric, Professor of Mathematics, and Principal at the State Normal School at Millersville, PA from 1855-83. He went on to become Superintendent of Public Schools of Philadelphia.

In the Scientific Course one studied University Algebra, Solid Geometry, Trigonometry and Surveying, Analytical Geometry and Differential Calculus, Integral Calculus, Astronomy, and Natural Philosophy. Note however that "lady pupils may be permitted to substitute for Trigonometry, Analytical Geometry, Calculus, the Mathematical parts of Natural Philosophy and Astronomy, and the latter third of Higher Algebra--an equivalent amount of Latin, French, or German" [1, 1876-77]. The texts in the scientific course were Olney's Universal Algebra, Loomis' Geometry (Elias Loomis 1811-1889), Olney's Elements of Trigonometry, Davies' Trigonometry (Charles Davies 1798-1876) and Surveying, Loomis' Analytical Geometry and Calculus, Olmsted's Natural Philosophy (Dennison Olmsted 1791-1859), and Loomis' Astronomy. These seem to be standard texts for the era, used in many colleges in Pennsylvania, and presumably elsewhere.

By 1879 the mathematics curriculum in the Scientific Course was different in titles only: Advanced Algebra (instead of University Algebra), Solid Geometry, Plane and Spherical Trigonometry, Surveying, Analytical Geometry, Differential and Integral Calculus, Physics (instead of Natural Philosophy), and Astronomy.

The Normal Schools in the State at the time were governed by the Normal School Law. In this law, the Principals of the Normal Schools met annually in the state capital (Harrisburg) to determine a general course of study for all the Normal Schools. In 1880 the curriculum was modified, but the mathematics portion remained the same, with one interesting change. Women were able to "opt out of" most of the mathematics courses by taking an equivalent amount of foreign languages. By the 1880 curriculum change this option was now open to "all pupils." Equal opportunity, indeed. As a side note, the Classical Course returned, and a new Commercial Course was offered for the first time. Fair had three new assistants in 1880: Mrs. Margaretta A. Fair, B.E., (Bachelor of the Elements [of Teaching], later M.E.) for algebra; Jacob M. Berkey, M.E., for Arithmetic, and Edward P. Johnson, B.E., for mathematics. Mrs. Fair received her position through nepotism, and Berkey and Johnson were Normal School graduates, from 1878 and 1879, respectively. The enrollment did increase slightly, from 211 in the previous year to 271 in 1880. (continued on page 8)

(IUP Curriculum, continued from page 7)

Berkey was gone the next year, while Johnson remained until 1882, when he was replaced by Anson J. Dill, M.E. for two years. Assistants would come and go like this for years. Mrs. Fair later became Superintendent of the Home Department. Fair anchored the mathematics department until 1890, when he left to become the Principal at Kiskiminetas Springs College Preparatory School (later the Kiski School).

In 1890 J. C. McMichael, A.M. was listed as Professor of Mathematics, with W. H. Sproull, M.S. as Associate Professor. McMichael lasted exactly one year, and Sproull was in his place the next year, with McClellan C. Gordon, M.S. as Assistant in Mathematics. In the 1890-91 Normal School Catalog, the mathematics curriculum in both the Elementary and Scientific Courses remained the same, but the syllabi for some of the courses were given in more detail. In the Elementary Course the three Arithmetic courses consisted of the following: factoring, GCD, LCM, common and decimal fractions, denominate numbers and measurements, percentage, profit and loss, commission, simple interest, partial payments, discount, square and cube root and their application. The texts used are Appleton's Numbers Applied (published in 1881 by D. Appleton and Company, New York) and Brooks' The Normal Union Arithmetic (1877). The Elementary Algebra courses covered "all topics as far as Theory of Indices, Theory of Indices, Radicals, Quadratics, Ratio, Proportion, and Series" [1, 1890-91]. The Geometry course covered all of Wentworth's Plane Geometry. The courses in the Scientific Course were not spelled out in detail except to say that conic sections were included in the course of Solid Geometry. The texts in use were Olney's Algebra, Wentworth's Geometry, Wentworth's Trigonometry and Surveying, and Olney's Analytical Geometry and Calculus. George A. Wentworth (1835-1906) was an 1858 graduate of Harvard and long-time professor of mathematics at Phillips Exeter Academy.

By 1894 Sproull was gone, with Gordon still Assistant in Mathematics. By 1896 he was listed as Associate Professor of Mathematics. The Normal School curriculum was upgraded on December 11, 1894. The two options of study were now the Regular Normal Course, which consisted of three years of study, and the Scientific course, which was the Regular Normal Course with one extra year of study. The mathematics studied in the Regular Normal Course was Arithmetic (2 terms), Elementary Algebra (3 terms), Plane Geometry (2 terms), Solid Geometry (1 term), Plane and Analytical Trigonometry (1 term), and Surveying (1 term). The Scientific Course added Higher Algebra, Spherical Trigonometry and Surveying, Analytical Geometry, and Differential and Integral Calculus. By 1900, however, the Scientific Course was gone, with only the Regular Course remaining. Throughout the 1890's there were only two or three graduates per year in the Scientific Course.

The year 1898 saw the arrival of the first holder of a Ph.D. degree in the department of mathematics, Walter Mitchell. Mitchell was an 1878 graduate of the Pennsylvania State Normal School in California. He received the A.M. degree from Mount Union College in Ohio in 1889 and a Ph.D. from Allegheny College (PA) in 1894. Most importantly to link him to the emerging mathematical community of the time, he was a graduate student at the University of Chicago during 1896-97 and again in 1899. His colleague as Associate Professor, M. C. Gordon, received his degrees at Indiana, but pursued further graduate study at the University of Pennsylvania in 1894. It is clear that the mathematics faculty, while still provincial in many ways, was at least aware of the then current state of mathematical research in the United States. The mathematics faculty of this time consisted of Mitchell (Professor) and Gordon (Associate) and some assistants. These two would remain the heart of the department until 1908 when Mitchell left and was replaced by another Chicago graduate. [As an aside, M.C. Gordon's salary at the time was $750 dollars per year and an apartment on campus.] There was some further discussion of the mathematics courses in the catalogs of the time.

In Algebra thoroughness is demanded at each step. Students are required to discuss topics, to state principles and definitions in good language, and to demonstrate the most important propositions. The entire course aims not only at training in methods of operation but also at the development of the reasoning powers. [In Geometry] a substantial part of the class consists in demonstrating original exercises. Special attention is given to accuracy of statement in demonstrations. The aim is to develop clear and rigorous reasoning [1, 1900-01].

Starting in 1900, a graduate of the school did not receive a degree. After passing a battery of tests mandated by the state, the student received a State Normal Certificate allowing him or her to teach for two years in the state. After two years of teaching the student received a State Normal Diploma. After one additional year of study, consisting of courses in education and teaching methods, a student received the degree of Bachelor of Pedagogics, Pd.B. After two years of further study and two years of teaching, a student received the Master of Pedagogics degree, Pd.M. By 1907 the enrollment reached 1000 students.

(continued on page 9)

(IUP Curriculum, continued from page 8)

At the normal school principals meeting in 1906, the majority opinion was for the schools to become strictly for the preparation of teachers. It was argued that those who were not preparing to teach not be admitted. This would avoid direct competition with the many colleges in Pennsylvania and establish the school's market. The report of the meeting stated that "providing a body of professionally trained teachers for the people's schools is our aim... we are not colleges, and we should not ape them..." [2]. For the time being, Indiana did not follow the opinion of the majority. This did not last for long, because there are troubling times ahead.


1. Catalogue of the Indiana Normal School of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA, 1875-1920

2. Ronald Juliette and Dale E. Landon, Indiana University of Pennsylvania: Our Homage and Love, The Donning Company, Virginia Beach, VA, 1991.

Many thanks to Mr. Phillip Zorich, Special Collections Librarian at IUP, for allowing me to have access to the collections.


Our department was saddened by the death of our friend and colleague, Dr. Rebecca Stoudt this past fall. Rebecca was a faculty member in the mathematics department from 1991 until her death. While at IUP, she was the recipient of the IUP Distinguished Faculty Award for Teaching in 1996, the Middleburg High School Distinguished Alumni Award in 1997, and the IUP Graduate School and Research Sponsored Program Award for Outstanding Achievement in Curriculum and Instruction in 2000.

Our sympathy to Rebecca's family, including her husband, Dr. Gary Stoudt, who is also a member of the mathematics department and Rebecca's children, Sara and Scott.

To share or read tributes to Rebecca's life, visit our website at

A scholarship in memory of Rebecca has been established through the IUP Foundation. Checks made out to the Foundation for IUP and indicating Account #0432 may be sent to: IUP Foundation, Sutton Hall 103, Indiana, PA 15705

Looking Back

by Maher Shawer

Since I am retiring at the end of this year, Dr. Reber asked me to write to the readers of Stright Lines. After asking what I should write about, he suggested writing about some of my experiences at IUP. I spent 34 years teaching at IUP, so I could easily write a book about that, but the following are my most valuable experiences.

I came to IUP in 1968 and, like many new comers, I thought I knew everything. I discovered quickly that the Ph.D. degree is a license to teach your self, and I also discovered my new colleagues in the IUP Math department had the knowledge and experiences that I could use to improve in my profession. "When you get older the other people around you get smarter", was a quote I often heard, and found to be true. I was appointed by the department chairman to head the graduate committee for Project 70. I am happy to say that we have an outstanding graduate program at IUP at the master's level. I strongly encourage you to investigate our graduate program.

In 1975, I was awarded an outside service grant to be a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto in statistics. When I returned, I developed eight courses in statistics that are now taught at IUP. It was not easy to develop these courses or go through the procedure it took to introduce these courses. But, with patience and time, good ideas take shape.

I am fortunate enough to be bilingual and this gave me a chance to represent IUP internationally. I was appointed as the International University Partnerships Research Coordinator, and represented the Pennsylvania Consortium for international education, which gave me the opportunity to travel overseas and work with professors from different universities. We were given more than a million dollars of international grants for the cooperative research program between IUP and Ain Shams University in Egypt. Last year, when I took my sabbatical, the University of Ain Sham gave me an office and the opportunity to do research in history of Mathematics.

I also represented the United States in the Mathematics Education into the 21st Century Project; which is a 20-year international project that is dedicated to the improvement of mathematics education world-wide, through the publication and dissemination of innovative ideas. If you want to get involved in the project, check the project home page at The next conference will be in Palermo, Italy.

(continued on page 10)

(Looking Back, continued from page 9)

The advantages of attending international conferences are the following:

  1. exchanging different ideas about teaching mathematics with mathematics educators from countries of the world,
  2. learning about other programs in teaching mathematics in different countries,
  3. learning where mathematics education is going and looking toward the future,
  4. creating connections with colleagues from other nations.

I encourage you to be involved in these international conferences.

Going back to my sabbatical, my research was in non-European mathematics from the 9th to the 16th century, which are very interesting topics. I plan to produce some books or articles on these topics in the future.

While working with the director of Heritage Institute in the University of Cairo, I rediscovered the Cairo Papyrus in the Museum of Cairo. This papyrus is written in "domatic" language, which is different from most mathematics papyrus currently known. This papyrus contains the Pythagorean Theorem. I am currently working with a professor from the University of Pennsylvania on a new translation and dating of this papyrus. So when I retire, I will have something to keep me busy.

For 34 years, I enjoyed teaching in the mathematics department at IUP because I love teaching. The environment helped me to always look for new challenges and I was not afraid of failure or disappointment.

Not everything was roses. I have great memories of IUP and bad ones, but the great memories out weigh the bad ones. I am grateful because I live in a great country and I was able to contribute to the education of hundreds of students and work with wonderful colleagues.