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Department Newsletters

April 17, 2012

Dear Friends and Alumni of the Department of Mathematics,

Plan on getting together with our Mathematics faculty and students from 5 to 7PM on May 4.  Please email william.trentham@armstrong.edu to tell us you are coming or phone him at 912-344-3058 so we have an accurate head count.   We will be asking for a few dollars at the door to defray the heavy hors d'ouevres cost.  It is indoors again this year in the old cafeteria in MCC -- so no sand gnats!  Expected festivities include Pi Mu Epsilon inductions and scholarship awards to some of our current mathematics students. We have one good-bye to MaryAnn Barbieri who started with us part-time in 2003 and has been full-time since 2004 teaching critical courses mainly for economics and education majors.  A small bye to me now as I step back to regular faculty and hand over the reins to an internal (as yet unannounced) interim head.  Speaking of retirees, we hear on occasion from Dale Kilhefner, Dick Munson, Anne and Sigmund Hudson, John Findeis, John Hansen, Jane Barnard and  Carolyn (Gigi) Smith and hope they might join us on May 4.  
 
We see some of our retirees at the bi-weekly Hudson Colloquium that is still going strong.  In Spring, 2011 Selwyn Hollis directed it and in Fall, 2011 one of our newest faculty Tricia Brown stepped up to the task. We had a wide range of topics presented with speakers from our department and also visitors from USC, GaSouthern, Western Carolina U. and NDSU. Our own Travis Trentham talked on Purgatory Domains, Michael Tiemeyer on Cycle Frames in Multipartite Graphs (also presenting at a conference in Boca Raton in March), Jim Brawner on Folding Graphs into Polyhedra, I spoke on Best Estimates in Broken-line Regression (joint work with Greg Knofczynski) and Sungkon Chang who coached the Putnam team this year presented some solved problems from the test.  His dedication and innovation over the past six years here at Armstrong earned him tenure and promotion to associate professor this year.  Congratulations, Sungkon!  Others having to do faculty review portfolios included Selwyn Hollis and Tim McMillan who were kept busy much of January assembling their post-tenure review portfolios (a task required every 5 years to insure that we are keeping current and vital as educators).    If you are near enough to Armstrong to stop for a mathematics lecture and on occasion a homemade lunch (for a $2 donation) or at least dessert then check it out on special Wednesdays.  Other encounters with “old” friends occur during our hosting of the 28th Middle School Bowl (held on October 29 and directed by Jim Brawner) and the 33rd High School Competition (held on March 5 and directed by Paul Hadavas) when some of our graduates who teach at the local high schools come to coach their own teams.  The HS fun ended with an interesting twist on the relay race having runners tear from room to room with their partial answers.  Of our 29 faculty in the Armstrong Mathematics department, most full-timers and many part-timers took active roles grading and monitoring in order to create successful events.

Despite budget cuts that make us endure University Hall boiler breakdowns, long time delays getting new printers and the like, we all overlook these inconveniences and fully engaged in quality student instruction.  Ebonee Jarrett continues in her role as university supervisor of our B.S. in mathematics and our post-bac students who seek T4 secondary teaching credentials.  We graduated a total of 17 mathematics major (an all-time high) of which 4 were certified.  We also shepherded 5 postbacs through their certification process.  Jamie Newman and MaryAnn Barbieri’s attention to proper content and pedagogy helped our students pass the GACE exam and get that T4.   The research groups organized and funded last year by Sabrina Hessinger (the grant director for PRISM Phase II) have produced 10 peer-reviewed papers pertaining to "best practices" for teaching mathematics and science with some of her joint work being discussed at a conference in Washington, DC.  This fall a new calculus study begins.   Presently, Jared Schlieper is involved in an evaluation of online homework for calculus.  Sean Eastman served this year as a regional and state Science bowl moderator.   Tim Ellis’ role as the Math Tutor Center director has again expanded since Armstrong has included Computer Science tutors along with Mathematics, Chemistry and Biology tutors. Travis Trentham and Josh Lambert have started a new tradition here with the Math-In (an all-day tutor-fest on reading days right before finals – a well attended event!)  Jim Brawner again leads the faculty-student problem solving team with their most recent published solution in the January, 2012 College Mathematics Journal. 

We still conduct research, with many of us including undergraduates in our activities.  Josh Lambert has mentored several students, two of whom made presentations – one at a regional AMS meeting in North Carolina and the other at the national AMS meeting in Boston.  Josh also published with others of our graduate math majors in the journal INTEGERS this year, plus is sole author on an accepted article in Ars Combinatorica.  Tricia Brown has worked with students in the STEP NSF grant program and continues to speak at AMS meetings about her work which appeared this year in the Journal of Combinatorics.  Also, this year Michael Tiemeyer’s work was published in The Australasian Journal of Combinatorics.  Sean Eastman and co-authors (some of our own Armstrong graduates) also published in Acta Universitatis Apulensis.    Sabrina Hessinger accepted an invitation from NSF to review grant proposals for TUES (Transforming Undergraduate Education in Science and Math) leading her into applying (along with Jared Schlieper) for their own grant funding.  Many of us continue to receive citations to our previously published journal articles with Selwyn leading the way having an amazing 120 citations to one of his 1987 articles. Statistics show that a mathematics article usually receives only 1 citation (Amin, M. and Mabe, M. (2000) Impact factor: use and abuse, Perspectives in Publishing,1, 1?6) .

In the service arena, committee work seems to have tripled since last year!  With Jared Schlieper on the Gamble Hall renovation team (for his educational technology expertise), Tim McMillan handling more and more students at the Navigate orientations (an influx of Atlantans are now a prominent demographic in our student population), SACS accreditation has caused more work (certainly for our new secretary Ross Jorgenson, who joined us at the end of May).  Ross is an Armstrong mathematics graduate and does a great job answering student advising-type questions, along with the other tasks required to keep the department running smoothly.  Also there was a faculty search committee that hired Travis Trentham onto a tenure-earning line (from temporary) this year and also placed Stacy Trentham into a temporary full-time instructor role.  Plus there is the work of the search committee looking for my replacement.  This task will resume in early Fall.   Lately we all have been commanded to spend an inordinate amount of time on committee and search-team work.  Work by our current faculty senators Sungkon Chang and myself (with Jared Schlieper often attending in my stead) has led to major resolutions including total transparency regarding summer tuition and its allocation.  Summer teaching continues to be an important revenue source for faculty since raises have been low and infrequent.  A visit by President Bleicken to our department just last week did not bring any good news on this front. 

There is continued pressure for mathematics classroom seats (Armstrong enrollment in Fall was fairly level at around 7500).  Administration has given mathematics some more permanent lines (we have grown from 12 tenured or tenure-track lines to 14 since I arrived in 2004; 15 if counting the open head position), but nearly one-third of our credit hours are handled by a very competent group of part-timers.  Donna Saye is now retired from Georgia Southern and is teaching for us along with other continuing part-timers: Sharon Corder (our last graduate of our M.Ed. in Secondary Mathematics program – discontinued a few years back); Leonard Hoke (full-time middle grades teacher in Chatham county), Lauren Rotella (who came to us via East Carolina University), Daniel Harden (his M.Ed. was earned at Armstrong  in 1998), Elizabeth Ewbank (who earned her M.Ed. here in 2002), Joyce Finn (retired industry executive), Harry (Hap) Boyd (a retired engineer), and Frances Rowland (current assistant principal at Savannah Christian Prep) and another area retired school teacher, Ken Brown (teaching for us at the Liberty Center).  

We expect next year to be somewhat of a transition year as we look for a new mathematics head, and the open dean position in our College of Science and Technology gets filled, and the new provost Dr. Carey Adams arrives on campus on July 1 from Missouri State.  Please come to the May 4th get-together this year to partake and celebrate.  Remember that if you would like to donate to our efforts, simply mail a check to the department written to the Armstrong Foundation earmarking it to either fund 196 (General) or fund 195 (Mathematics Scholarships).

Sincerely,      Lorrie Hoffman, Ph.D., Professor and Head
 

April 19, 2011


Dear Friends and Alumni of the Department of Mathematics, 

Plan on getting together with our Mathematics faculty and students from 5 to 7PM on May 6.  Please return the attached reservation sheet.  It is indoors this year in the old cafeteria in MCC -- so no sand gnats!  Expected festivities include Pi Mu Epsilon inductions of and scholarship awards to some of our current mathematics students. We have no good-byes to faculty this year since no one retired and no one was lured away by a seemingly more lucrative job offer (although in these times of furloughs and budget stretching in Georgia this is a plausible reality).  Some news on those who did go away in past years: we see John Findeis, John Hansen and Jane Barnard who have stopped by and have heard from Gigi Smith. Mark Budden came to our SERMON number theory conference this month that was organized by current faculty Josh Lambert and Sungkon Chang (who secured NSF funding in order to pay for several esteemed keynote speakers’ travel).  Dale Kilhefner, Anne and Sigmund Hudson often attend the bi-weekly Hudson Colloquium that is still going strong, mainly under Selwyn Hollis’ direction.  We had a wide range of topics presented at this venue. Travis Trentham (who was temporary full-time this year and just now accepted our offer of a tenure track position) earned his Ph.D. from North Dakota State University and he talked on Krull dimension.  Tricia Brown spoke on how to strategically place queens on an n x n chessboard.  She also traveled to several national conferences (as a Project NExT fellow) this year to present on this topic, including the Joint Math Meetings in New Orleans in January.  Sungkon Chang told us how algebra can be used to explain particle theory in physics.  Paul Hadavas reminded us of “The Power of Proofs.”  Selwyn Hollis revealed the new features in Mathematica8.  Several student and faculty presenters including Tim McMillan solved problems from the 70th annual Putnam competition during one of our Wednesday at noon events.   Josh Lambert investigated the chessboard-coloring problem via graph theory.  He also gave an invited talk at Western Carolina University on this.  Sabrina Hessinger presented research in the area of differential Galois theory.  Michael Tiemeyer (our newly hired assistant professor in the 2010-2011 year) spoke on bipartite graphs.  If you are near enough to Armstrong to stop for a mathematics lecture and homemade lunch (for a $2 donation) check it out on special Wednesdays.  On occasion some of our student alumni come by for colloquium. Several of our alumni teaching high school here in Savannah came to Armstrong on Saturday, March 5, when we hosted our 33rd Annual High School Mathematics Tournament for some 150 area students. Paul Hadavas did all of the oversight this year, introducing some changes like the relay race in place of the paper airplane contest, and it all went smoothly.  Of our 29 faculty in the AASU Mathematics department, nearly all full-timers and many part-timers took active roles grading and monitoring in order to create another successful event.   

 

Many of our faculty continue to provide exceptional learning environments by way of student instruction, enrichment and guidance, evidenced by Ebonee Jarrett’s mentoring role as university supervisor of our B.S. in mathematics and our post-bac students who seek T4 secondary teaching credentials.  She makes school visits at Groves, Beach, Windsor Forest and other high schools across the region.  Jamie Newman and MaryAnn Barbieri’s class room techniques and one-on-one tutoring help individuals who are pursuing a T4. This translates into success for those sitting for the GACE licensure exams.  All of our superior work that we were able to document in these areas helped Armstrong become recertified this year by NCATE (National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education), good into 2017.  Sabrina Hessinger (the grant director for PRISM Phase II) has allocated small grant sums to groups across the county and has them headed by our own mathematics and science faculty.  These groups are conducting impact studies using structured assessment tools in order to determine what constitutes “best practice” in classrooms. Jim Brawner, Tim McMillan, Greg Knofczynski, Jared Schlieper and Tricia Brown are involved. Sean Eastman served this year as a regional and state Science bowl moderator.   He also published a journal article in Mathematics and Computer Education covering issues related to teaching Numerical Analysis.  Tim Ellis’ role as the Math Tutor Center director has expanded now that Armstrong has included Chemistry and Biology tutors.  He continues to do all the hiring, scheduling and budget reporting for the Center which is open 53 hours per week and averages 100 students seeking help. Jim Brawner again leads the faculty-student problem solving team and they published one solution in the College Mathematics Journal and received acknowledgements for 16 others.

 

We still find time to do research in our own sub-disciplines.  Amazingly, between all of us we received 15 citations to our previously published journal articles.  Statistics show that a group with our profile should expect around 7 per year, so this year we were doubly good, i.e. famous or at least notable for having other authors interested in our work. Paul Hadavas collaborated with faculty at Clemson to publish “Concise RLT Forms of Binary Programs: A Computational Study of the Quadratic Knapsack Problem” in the highly regarded journal Naval Logistics. Tricia Brown had an article included in the book Mathematics and Sports. Sungkon Chang’s article on elliptic curves appeared in yet another highly regarded number theory journal called Acta Arithmetica. Greg Knofczynski and I culminated more than three years of work (that spawned independent study projects for three recent Armstrong students: Jaree Hudson, Heather King and Alfreda Rogers) with an accepted paper in the Web of Knowledge cited journal Communications in Statistics.  Josh Lambert collaborated with Mark Budden of Western Carolina University for work in number theory and in graph theory.  These endeavors involved three senior mathematics majors (Nathan Hack, Nicole Caulkins and Kimberly Thompson) who all went to New Orleans and presented their research at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in January.

 

In the service arena, keeping Armstrong functioning is really a full time task. Lately we all have been commanded to spend an inordinate amount of time on committee and search-team work.  The department has been without a secretary since last February when Kattie left for her dream federal job.  We have had two failed secretary searches.  The newest search team has identified some terrific candidates and we are about to do interviews.  Our department is truly grateful to have Sean Eastman, Sungkon Chang and myself working to maintain equitable treatment of all personnel across the university by actively initiating and instituting policies via the faculty senate.   Several major resolutions have been created and approved by President Bleicken.  One major change implemented was to alter the “infinite forgiveness” grading policy.  Each student starting in 2012 can receive only one W (withdrawal) per course and all grades will count in the GPA.  This should increase homogeneity in the classroom and graduation rates from Armstrong, ultimately making for a more productive classroom experience.  We graduated 12 majors last year (2009-10). One has gone onto medical school, another to pharmacy school, we know of two who entered graduate school.  Recent graduates are pursuing advanced degrees at University of Georgia, University of Florida, Georgia Southern and Georgia State.  A number of our graduates selected teaching positions at area high schools. If you are one of our past students and have news about yourself or know a student who would be interested in our program here, we want to hear from you -- so drop us a line or email!

 

Our escalating demands on classroom seats (Armstrong enrollment in Fall was around 7500, primarily due to new dorms) and some loss in the part-timer ranks, led to hiring two new part-timers recently.  Stacy Trentham just earned her Ph.D. at North Dakota State University and came to join her husband Travis here in Savannah and at Armstrong.  Donna Saye is a full-timer at Georgia Southern and is teaching some of our Mathematics courses for our secondary teaching certification track.  Our continuing part-timers are Sharon Corder (our last graduate of our M.Ed. in Secondary Mathematics program – discontinued a few years back); Leonard Hoke (full-time at Windsor Forest High), Lauren Rotella (formerly Oppenheimer, who came to us via East Carolina University), Daniel Harden (his M.Ed. was earned at AASU in 1998), Elizabeth Ewbank (who earned her M.Ed. here in 2002), Joyce Finn (retired industry executive), Harry (Hap) Boyd (a retired engineer), and another area retired school teacher, Ken Brown (teaching for us at the Liberty Center).  With our dissolution of the relationship with College of Coastal Georgia in Brunswick, we said good-bye to Beth Oberg and Anne Miller-Gay who taught the sequence in mathematics for Early Childhood teacher candidates there.   

 

We expect next year to be equally exhausting (oops, I mean, productive).  As you can see I am back as department head and as busy as usual.  Please come to the May 6th Barbeque this year to partake and celebrate.  Remember that if you would like to donate to our efforts, simply mail a check to the department written to the AASU Foundation earmarking it to either fund 196 (General) or fund 195 (Mathematics Scholarships).  

 

Sincerely,      Lorrie Hoffman, Ph.D., Professor and Head

 





April 5, 2010

Dear Friends and Alumni of the AASU Mathematics Department:

As the buds of spring burst into beautiful blossom, and the days get a little warmer after our unusually cold winter, you may be thinking that our annual spring cookout must be right around the corner. And you would be right! It is, in fact, on Friday, April 16, beginning at 5 p.m. in the Shearouse plaza (behind the student center, near the bookstore). We hope you will be able to join us, greet some familiar faces from the math department, perhaps meet some new faces, and look at some of the changes around campus. Please help us bid farewell to Carolyn “Gigi” Smith (an Armstrong alumna herself), who is retiring after thirty years of dedicated service to Armstrong, and Dr. Mark Budden, who is moving on to Western Carolina University after seven very productive years in the math department here. We will miss them both very much. Earlier this spring we said “au revoir” to Kattie Tisdale, our departmental secretary, who has also been an integral part (no pun intended) of our group over the past seven years.

This year we were delighted to welcome two new faculty members, Drs. Tricia Brown and Josh Lambert, who arrived in Savannah after finishing up their Ph.D.’s at the University of Kentucky, and North Dakota State University, respectively. They have both hit the ground running! Tricia has helped teach some classes for our pre-service teachers and serves locally on a learning community with area science and math teachers, and nationally as a Project NExT fellow. Not only has Josh gotten his students excited about the math he’s teaching in his courses, he has also interested several students in working with him on research projects in graph theory. This year we were also pleased to have MaryAnn Barbieri and Jamie Newman join us as permanent instructors, after doing a terrific job teaching for us over the past five years as temporary instructors. This year Dr. Lorrie Hoffman has been on administrative leave from her duties as department head (at least when I haven’t been pestering her with questions about how to do this or that), and has been able to focus on her research, giving several conference talks and submitting a number of papers for publication.

Last summer two of our faculty members, Drs. Mark Budden and Sungkon Chang, worked on research with undergraduate students, thanks to summer research grants made possible by Dr. George Shields, now completing his second year as the dean of our newly formed College of Science and Technology. At the MAA MathFest in Portland, Oregon last August, undergraduate student Nathan Hack won an award for outstanding presentation of his work with Dr. Chang. Drs. Budden and Chang also helped organize and host the tenth meeting of the Palmetto Area Number Theory Series (PANTS X) conference, which was held here at Armstrong in September. Plenary speakers from universities across the country spoke to a crowd of over thirty faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students. Dr. Chang also coached our Putnam team last fall, and is a key participant, along with Drs. Tim McMillan, Jared Schlieper, Professor Tim Ellis, myself, and a number of students, in our problem solving group kown as the Armstrong Problem Solvers. Last year we had a total of 23 problems published or acknowledged in mathematical journals ranging from the American Mathematical Monthly to the Pi Mu Epsilon Journal. Dr. Sean Eastman and Dr. Budden once again coached a team of math majors for the Math Jeopardy competition at the Southeastern MAA sectional meeting in Nashville last spring. Dr. Greg Knofczynski has co-written an e-textbook for statistics with former colleague Dr. Christopher Pretz, and Dr. Selwyn Hollis continues to be our Mathematica guru. Dr. Sabrina Hessinger continues to manage NSF grants focusing on improving K12 mathematics and science education, as she makes a gradual transition back to the mathematics classroom. Several department members, including Drs. Tricia Brown, Tim McMillan, Jared Schlieper, and myself, are working with learning communities related to those grants. Professor Ebonee Jarrett is nearing completion on her doctorate in education from Georgia Southern University; we are looking forward to having her back with us full-time this fall.

We were pleased to see a number of AASU alumni at our two annual math competitions, the 26th Annual Middle School Math Bowl in November, and the 32nd Annual High School Mathematics Tournament in January, coordinated by myself and Dr. Paul Hadavas, respectively, with a tremendous amount of help from many of our faculty, staff, and students. We are also delighted to see many AASU math friends at the biweekly Hudson Mathematics Colloquium series, where you can hear an invigorating talk about mathematics and a delicious light lunch for only $2 (the best deal in town!) If you would like to be on the Hudson Colloquium mailing list to be notified about upcoming talks, send an e-mail to Professor Tim Ellis (Timothy.Ellis@armstrong.edu), who in addition to handling publicity for colloquium talks, also coordinates our tutorial lab, which now includes tutors for biology, chemistry, and other sciences, as well as for mathematics.

Most of all, we hope that you will join us for our annual Math Department Spring Cookout, (once again, on Friday, April 16, beginning at 5 p.m. in the Shearouse Plaza by the bookstore). We will honor our mathematics students past and present for their achievements, and will reward a few of them with scholarships made possible by the generosity of families and individuals who recognize the importance of encouraging our mathematics scholars. Remember that if you would like to join in this effort, you may send a donation to the AASU Foundation, to either Fund 196 (Mathematics General Fund) or 195 (Mathematics Scholarship Fund). Thanks very much!

Sincerely,

Jim Brawner
Professor and Interim Head

March 5, 2009

Dear Friends and Alumni of the AASU Mathematics Department:

You really should come to the barbeque this year to say “good-bye” to Dr. Dale Kilhefner who started teaching for Armstrong in 1973.  We cannot believe we will not see him teaching.  He has been on phased retirement last year and this year, but now he will go on full retirement. We also must bid “adieu” to Professor Jane Barnard (who has just announced her retirement and has been with the department since 1980).  And come say “hello” to our new hire this year Dr. Jared Schlieper (Ph.D. from University of Missouri).  He was initially interviewed at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in San Diego by our new hire from 2007 Professor Elizabeth Scott-Janda who served as part of the search team.  Dr. Schlieper has done a quick ramp-up! He has already mastered our distance learning tools such as WebVista and the videoconferencing classroom setting, and is introducing Sage (an open-source mathematics software similar to Maple) into his lectures.  We did see some of you -- our alumni teaching high school here in Savannah -- on Saturday, January 31, when we hosted our 31st Annual High School Mathematics Tournament.  About 150 students participated.  Dr. Paul Hadavas did all of the oversight this year and it went smoothly. Take a look at the pictures at http://www.math.armstrong.edu/tournaments/hsbowl09.pdf.  Of our 30 faculty in the AASU Mathematics department, all full-timers and many part-timers and our front office staff (especially, Mrs. Kattie Tisdale) pitched in to create another successful event.   
 
Many of our faculty continue to make momentous contributions in the area of student instruction, enrichment and guidance and the research for its enhancement, evidenced by the 2008 John Neff Award from the Georgia Council of Teachers of Mathematics that Professor Barnardreceived.  Since our NSF PRISM (Partnership for Reform in Science and Mathematics) grant was in its final year, Dr. Sabrina Hessinger (the grant director) penned a new one called “Phase II: Research on Key PRISM Strategies” that was funded by NSF’s Division of Undergraduate Education and as Principal Investigator she secured for the University System of Georgia a total of more than 2 million dollars over the next three years.  Dr. Jim Brawner and Dr. Tim McMillan and Professor Carolyn Smith are involved this year in interface activities such as AP Calculus workshops with the region’s teachers.  Dr. Greg Knofczynski has found a publisher for his own ebook “Introduction to Statistics: An Interactive Approach” and is using it in his classroom.  This year, Professor Ebonee Jarrett has taken on the role of student teacher mentor and is visiting our secondary mathematics education candidates in high schools in the greater Savannah area.  Dr. Sean Eastman, Dr. Mark Budden and myself organized a trip to the 87th Annual MAA meetings at the Citadel in Charleston in order for a team of our majors to participate in the Jeopardy competition.  We were defeated by University of Alabama, Montgomery.  Dr. Budden and Dr. Eastman also spoke on their research there.  The Putnam team continues to do well.  It is now under the direction of Dr. Sungkon Chang who coached senior Jaree Hudson into the 75th percentile of competitors! When more than half score zero on this challenging set of tests, this is a real accomplishment! Dr. Brawner led the faculty-student problem solving team again and they published solutions in the College Journal of Mathematics in Spring and in Pi Mu Epsilon Journal in Fall.  Professor Tim Ellis, president of the Georgia Tutoring Association this year, spoke on the impact of our tutor center on college algebra grades.
 
Spurred by the enthusiasm for research of our new dean Dr. George Shields, the Mathematics faculty continue to emphasize setting aside time to present and get grant funding for their research. Drs. Budden, Hadavas and myself published an algorithm for finding valid positive definite correlation matrices in Applied Mathematics Electronic Notes.   Dr. Hadavas co-authored a paper that appeared in Discrete Applied Mathematics.  Dr. Selwyn Hollis while on Advanced Academic Research Leave in Spring revised his CalcLabs for Mathematica now in its 4th edition.  Dr. Budden was awarded NSF funds through a Brigham Young University grant via their Center for Undergraduate Research in Mathematics allowing him course releases, travel funds, and time to mentor two of our seniors in the area of Number Theory, in particular, of the Rational Residuacity of Primes. 
TheSigmund and Anne Hudson Mathematics Colloquium has changed to an every-other-week schedule this Fall. Dr. Hollis spoke on three separate occasions each time integrating into his talks the impressive capabilities of the software package Mathematica 6. Dr. Chang spoke on his new findings related to elliptic curves.  Professor Barnard shared information about the TI-Inspire calculator. Dr. Brawner spoke on “Playing with Polyhedra.” Dr. Hadavas employed catchy examples such as brewing beer, electing a president, and spending $700 billion in the most efficient way to illustrate algorithms used in Operations Research.   We had two outside speakers: Dr. Bruce McLean from Georgia Southern and Dr. Tina Straley, Executive Director of the Mathematical Association of America.   Please come spend a Wednesday lunch hour with us to keep cobwebs out of your math mind and eat the most economical meal in town (since we serve a buffet lunch, still only $2!)  Go to  http://www.math.armstrong.eduto watch for colloquium announcements and other items and sign the guestbook at http://www.math.armstrong.edu/alumni.html.
 
In the service arena, keeping AASU running can be a full time task where we all might be lured into spending too much time on committee work.  This year our department is deeply indebted to Dr. Knofczynski and Dr. Eastman for stepping up to represent us during the inaugural year of the faculty senate.   We generated all the proper paperwork and the students navigated all the appropriate courses in order to graduate 9 Mathematics majors last year (2007-8).  Our mathematics graduates secure good jobs and get accepted at top-notch universities.  Recent graduates are pursuing advanced degrees at University of Oregon, University of Florida, Clemson, and Georgia Southern.  A number of our graduates selected teaching positions at area high schools such as Beach. Also, in part due to the good preparation of the Early Childhood and Middle Grades students (who take a sequence of four math courses), our department’s Professors Jamie Newman and Maryann Barbieri have helped increase the pass rate for teaching certification.  Although numbers of graduates remain small, an increase from 80 to 120 K-8 teacher graduates has occurred over the past four years.   If you are one of our past students and have news about yourself or know a student who would be interested in our program here, we want to hear from you -- so drop us a line or email!
 
Our growing needs and some loss in the part-timer ranks, led to hiring two new part-timers this year.  Tim Hogenboom had taught at Savannah Country Day, and Sharon Corder is our last graduate of our M.Ed. (in Secondary Mathematics) program, since it has morphed into a masters degree in Curriculum & Instruction with oversight by the College of Education.  Both of these additions to our faculty are awesome teachers!  Our continuing part-timers are: Professor Leonard Hoke (full-time at Windsor Forest High), Professor Lauren Oppenheimer (who came to us via East Carolina University), Dr. Daniel Harden (his M.Ed. was earned at AASU in 1998), Professor Elizabeth Ewbank (who earned her M.Ed. here in 2002), Professor Joyce Finn (retired industry executive), Professor Harry (Hap) Boyd (a retired engineer), and other area school teachers, Professor Ken Brown (teaching for us at the Liberty Center) and Beth Oberg (teaching at Brunswick) and Dr. Anne Miller-Gay (whose full-time job is as a middle school teacher in Camden county).  
 
We expect next year to be equally productive and we are currently doing recruiting in order to search for great faculty members to join those of us who are not retiring!  My own plans for next year include giving myself an administrative sabbatical, returning to teaching and research tasks for 2009-2010.  So, someone else will apprise you of our activities in March, 2009.  
 
Please come to the April Barbeque this year to partake and celebrate. Again, this year, we have Professor Smith to thank for organizing this “food event.”  It is on campus by the main cafeteria (in the Shearouse Plaza) so you can easily visit your favorite AASU places. At this dinner we acknowledge our mathematics students (past and present) for their achievements in this challenging discipline.  In addition, we reward a few with scholarships made available through the generosity of individuals and families. Remember that if you would like to donate to our efforts, simply mail a check to the department written to the AASU Foundation earmarking it to either fund 196 (General) or fund 195 (Mathematics Scholarships).  
 
Sincerely,
 
 
Lorrie Hoffman, Ph.D.
Professor and Head 
 

March 5, 2008

Dear Friends and Alumni of the AASU Mathematics Department:

On Saturday, February 16, we hosted our 30th Annual High School Mathematics Tournament. More than 300 students participated! Dr. Paul Hadavas has assumed the coordination responsibilities from Dr. Dale Kilhefner (who is now on a 49% workload prior to full retirement). Of our 27 faculty in the AASU Mathematics department, all full-timers and many part-timers and our front office staff (especially, Mrs. Kattie Tisdale) pitched in. We introduced our newest faculty member Professor Elizabeth Scott-Janda (who is about to finish her thesis at Colorado State University on finite projective planes of Lenz-Barlotti class I.3) to the job of quiz bowl ciphering monitor. Check out the questions at http://www.math.armstrong.edu/tournaments/jvcipher.pdf

Many of our faculty continue to do innovative instructional activities and in an exceptional manner. A testament to this fact is Dr. Jim Brawner earning the all-university 2007 H. Dean Probst Award for outstanding teaching, advisement, counseling, and student support. This year, Professors Ebonee Jarrett-Brown and Dr. Brawner are utilizing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) grant money to involve a “peer mentor” in their College Algebra (Math1111) classes. Research that Dr. Brawner, Professor Tim Ellis and I have completed and have presented at two conferences this month has shown that these kinds of resources are beneficial to our students. Our current peer mentor is a recent mathematics graduate. She attends classes and is a dedicated tutor to her classmates, presumably with special insights since she has identical in-class experiences to share with her cohorts. Professor Ellis also taught a class that was linked to a Learning Community (where the students are grouped and take two or more classes together in order to create better opportunities for study groups and team work). That group of students participated in a field trip to Ossabaw Island. Our Web-based Math2200 (Elementary Statistics) course continues to draw high enrollments, because it serves a niche demographic. Dr. Paul Hadavas (who was just awarded tenure and promotion to Associate Professor) extended his experiments with online homework and testing modes for College Algebra and found funding through an NSF PRISM (Partnership Reform in Science and Mathematics) grant. Several faculty contributed this year to the PRISM grant objectives collaborating with many P-12 regional school system teacher groups: Professor Carolyn Smith was a science fair judge at Bartow Elementary; PRISM funding aided Dr. Jane Barnard in organizing the national T^3 Technology conference held here in May; Dr. Tim McMillan is a PRISM consultant to Southwest Elementary. Dr. Sabrina Hessinger is still the director for the PRISM grant. We expect her to return to her usual duties in Spring, 2009. Our math content courses for Early Childhood and Middle Grades education majors were enhanced this year with the introduction of Math2008 (Foundations of Numbers and Operations), a course that emphasizes problem solving with multiple strategies including manipulatives. Professors Jamie Newman, Jarrett-Brown and Barnard teach most of these courses and receive high marks from their students on their teaching evaluations. Many of our courses are designed as service to other disciplines and our instructors garner great reviews from students on their ability to “make math relevant.” Our Economics majors rave about Professor Maryann Barbieri’s explanations in Math1950 (Applied Math) and Professor Donna Bryant’s nursing students enjoy her delivery of statistics information.

Many of the faculty are making time to present some of their research findings, either orally or via formal publications. Drs. Greg Knofczynski, Hadavas and myself published findings on the use of projects in elementary statistics courses in Mathematical Sciences & Mathematics Education. Dr. Sean Eastman published some results from his thesis work in the highly regarded journal Applicable Analysis. Dr. Mark Budden wrote “A Generalization of Scholz's Reciprocity Law,” with his students R.J. Eisenmenger and J. Kish. It appears in Journal de Theorie des Nombres de Bordeaux. Dr. Selwyn Hollis, who is “away” on Advanced Academic Research Leave (one of only two AASU faculty earning this award in 2007), published “Some First Impressions of Mathematica 6” in Mathematica in Education and Research.

The weekly Sigmund and Anne Hudson Mathematics and Computing Colloquium continues! Dr. Brawner’s Putnam students presented problems from that exam. He also spoke about solutions that identify counterfeit coins by weighing. Dr. Eastman explored the Banach-Tarski paradox. Dr. Budden’s seminar was titled “The Search for Unique Factorization.” Dr. Sungkon Chang offered insight into two conjectures about elliptic curves. Dr. Kilhefner entertained and informed us about the complications of higher order problems in “Going from 2 to 3.” Dr. McMillan had the audience thinking about B-2 sequences of natural numbers where no two distinct pairs of terms have equal sums. Along with my students Heather King and Jaree Hudson, we presented a statistical application of regression to SeaWorld whale data. Please come spend a Wednesday lunch hour with us to keep your math mind active and your stomach full (since we serve a buffet lunch for $2!) Visit our department site at http://www.armstrong.edu/Science_and_Technology/mathematics/math_welcome to watch for colloquium announcements and other items and sign the guestbook at http://www.armstrong.edu/Science_and_Technology/mathematics/math_alumni.

We graduated 14 Mathematics majors last year (2006-7). The AASU Mathematics graduation percentages compare quite favorably to local and national figures at 1.8% of all B.S. degrees awarded here at AASU. We have recently taken on full administrative responsibility for the B.S. with secondary teaching certification and are one of only a few Georgia schools who continue to offer this option. Our graduates secure good jobs and get accepted at top-notch universities. Again this year, two of our seniors, Jonathan Keith Hagan and Jaree Hudson, scored a perfect 200 on the Educational Testing Service Major Field Test in Mathematics. Of the thousands sitting yearly for this exam about 1% achieve at this level. The two students who scored 200s last year both chose to attend University of Florida for their graduate work. Several of our recent graduates selected teaching positions at area high schools (Windsor Forest and in Soperton). If you are one of our past students and have news about yourself or know a student who would be interested in our program here, we want to hear from you -- so drop us a line or email!

Dr. John Hansen informed me that he is completely retiring! As I write this, he is off vacationing in Ireland. I was fortunate enough to find a very adept part-time instructor in Professor Leonard Hoke (who teaches full-time at Windsor Forest High School). Our continuing part-timers are: Professor Lauren Oppenheimer (who came to us via East Carolina University), Dr. Anne Miller-Gay (whose full-time job is as a middle school teacher in Camden), Dr. Daniel Harden (his M.Ed. was earned at AASU in 1998), Professor Elizabeth Ewbank (who earned her M.Ed. here in 2002), Professor Joyce Finn (retired industry executive), Professor Harry (Hap) Boyd (a retired engineer), and other area school teachers, Professors Frances Rowland (from Savannah Christian), Ken Brown (teaching at the Liberty Center) and Beth Oberg (teaching at Brunswick). Also, Dr. Ed Wheeler (Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences) is currently teaching one section of Pre-Calculus.

Please come to the April Barbeque this year to partake and celebrate. Again, this year, we have Professor Smith to thank for organizing this “food event.” It is on campus by the main cafeteria (in the Shearouse Plaza) so you can easily visit your favorite AASU places. At this dinner we acknowledge our mathematics students (past and present) for their achievements in this challenging discipline. In addition, we reward a few with scholarships made available through the generosity of individuals and families, and conduct Pi Mu Epsilon inductions. Remember that if you would like to donate to our efforts, simply mail a check to the department written to the AASU Foundation earmarking it to either fund 195 (General) or fund 196 (Mathematics Scholarships).

Sincerely,

Lorrie Hoffman, Ph.D.
Professor and Head

March 5, 2007

Dear Friends and Alumni of the AASU Mathematics Department:

Guiding the department continues to be a challenge, but a personally rewarding one. Twenty-seven faculty in AASU’s Mathematics department serve three campuses with courses mainly in Savannah, but also at the Brunswick and Hinesville campuses and reach more than 2000 students each semester delivering topics ranging from Quantitative Reasoning (Math1001) to Functions of Complex Variables (Math4060).

Several of our faculty are doing innovative instructional activities. Professors Mary Ann Barbieri and Donna Bryant are spearheading a small study supported through AASU’s Student Success initiative that involves a “peer mentor” in their College Algebra (Math1111) classes. Professor Tim Ellis (who, along with his teaching duties, continues as Math Tutor Lab director) conducted research on other Georgia colleges finding benefit from this type of program. The peer mentor is a math major who attends classes and is a dedicated tutor to his classmates, presumably with special insights since he has identical in-class experiences to share with his cohorts. Dr. Sean Eastman and Professor Carolyn Smith each taught a class that was linked to a Learning Community (where the students are grouped and take two or more classes together in order to create better opportunities for study groups and team work). I have developed a Web-based Elementary Statistics (Math2200) course. Dr. Paul Hadavas has been experimenting with online homework and testing modes for College Algebra. Several faculty continue on NSF PRISM (Partnership Reform in Science and Mathematics) grant funding to realize the enhancements created by collaborations with P-12 regional school system teachers. Dr.s Hadavas, Tim McMillan, Dale Kilhefner and Jim Brawner presented talks at the SE PRISM Conference at Jekyll Island. Dr. Sabrina Hessinger is still the director for the grant that will end in 2008 allowing her to return to teaching duties in our department.

Each year our department provides key instructional services by teaching math content courses to Early Childhood and Middle Grades education majors. This really is an investment in the future of the department because students must be “turned on to math” early in their lives by competent P-12 teachers. We do this well. Professor Newman received mention in the graduation program with an award from her students in the College of Education. Professor Jarrett-Brown is bringing insight about topics like the new Georgia teaching standards (PSC) to these students by acquiring current knowledge while working on her Ed.D. at Georgia Southern University.

Many of the faculty are making time to present some of their research findings, either orally or via formal publications. Professor Carolyn Smith spoke at the 30th Annual USG Learning Support Conference in St. Simons. Dr.s Greg Knofczynski, Hadavas and myself presented our poster session on the investigation of in-class student projects at the AASU Teaching and Learning Symposium. Dr. Knofczynski also gave several invited talks at universities in Colorado and Wisconsin related to his thesis work on sample sizes. Dr. Brawner and his students published two problem solutions in Pi Mu Epsilon. Dr. Sungkon Chang gave invited presentations in Arkansas and at Clemson and published two papers in highly regarded journals. Dr. Mark Budden spoke at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in San Antonio on “Local Coefficient Matrices and Shimura’s Correspondence” and published a paper in the highly-cited Journal of Lie Theory. Dr.s Budden, Hadavas and Hoffman had their joint work on correlation matrices appear in Applied Mathematics E-Notes.

The weekly Sigmund and Anne Hudson Mathematics and Computing Colloquium continues! Dr. Brawner illustrated how computers check correctness of digit transmissions via a “hat trick” (the wearing of a mystery number on one’s head while viewing others’ numbered hats). Dr. Eastman informed and entertained us with facts, funnies, and some proofs related to the Fundamental Theorem of Algebra. And followed that by pairing with Dr. Chang for a second talk titled “The Equations That Couldn’t Be Solved.” I explained the estimation of parameters from samples containing missing data via a SPAM email example. Dr. Selwyn Hollis presented “Nuts and Bolts of Nonlinear Optimization.” An outcome of the AASU student collaborative grants won by Dr. Hadavas and Dr. Budden was a joint talk by their students. Let me remind you that you are all invited to come by on any Wednesday at noon to refresh and invigorate your mind (also, satiate your hunger, since we serve a buffet lunch for $2!)

We sponsor Math competitions yearly. In November we hosted the Middle School Math Bowl for about 80 students. We awarded Dr. Kilhefner a plaque during the closing ceremony to thank him for his 27 years of managing and organizing the event. In March, more than 400 high school students competed for individual and group awards. It was a great way to spend a Saturday. The Savannah Morning News announced the event in a February 21 column. We all play a role in each of these contests with our department secretary Mrs. Kattie Tisdale doing a lot of work. The website http://pictures.aol.com/galleries/llh0703/ has photos. Our department site at http://www.armstrong.edu/Science_and_Technology/mathematics/math_welcome has other items; sign the guestbook at http://www.armstrong.edu/Science_and_Technology/mathematics/math_alumni

We enrolled 55 mathematics majors (Fall, 2006) and graduated seven in the December ceremony. Our graduates continue to secure good jobs and get accepted at top-notch universities. This year for the first time ever not just one, but two, of our seniors scored a perfect 200 on the Educational Testing Service Major Field Test in Mathematics. We use this test as an exit exam from our program. More than 3,000 students nationwide take the exam and less than one percent score a perfect 200. Congratulations to Duc Van Huynh and Ross Jorgenson. One of our December graduates has been accepted at the University of Missouri. Several are teaching at area high schools and one is expecting to join the Navy where he will continue pursuing an M.S. degree. If you are one of our past students and have news about yourself or know a student who would be interested in our program here, we want to hear from you so drop us a line or email!

We did have illnesses that kept three professors out of the classroom (two for a short term and one for all year). It is nice to report that all parties are on the mend. Dr. Dick Munson (retired from our department) was kind enough to do a few weeks of “guest lecturing” to fill-in! Professor Jane Barnard was able to offer a course over summer, 2006, and we are expecting her to return full-time this Fall, 2007. The “department team” from last year, for the most part, remained intact to return this year since we were able to convert Dr. Chang’s visiting position into a tenure-earning line. Near-term exceptions to this cohesion include anticipated retirements by Dr. Kilhefner (who will be on a 50% load next year) and Professor Gwen Barber (part-time at Brunswick) who is requesting to teach less. These absences led to hiring part-timers Professor Lauren Oppenheimer (who comes to us from East Carolina University) and Dr. Anne Miller-Gay (whose full-time job is as a middle school teacher in Camden). Our very dedicated continuing part-timer group is comprised of: Dr. Daniel Harden (his M.Ed. was earned at AASU in 1998) and Professor Elizabeth Ewbank (who earned hers in 2002), Dr. John Hansen (retired from our department), Professor Joyce Finn (retired industry executive), Professor Harry (Hap) Boyd (a retired engineer), and area school teachers, namely, Professors Rex Demers (from Johnson High), Frances Rowland (from Savannah Christian), and Ken Brown (teaching at the Liberty Center) and Beth Oberg (teaching at Brunswick). Also, Dr. Ed Wheeler (Dean of CAS) taught one section of College Algebra in the Fall.

Come to the April banquet this year to partake and celebrate. We have Professor Smith to thank for organizing this dinner again this year. It is on campus in the new Armstrong Center conference building (the old Publix store) so you can easily visit your favorite AASU places. At this dinner we acknowledge our mathematics students (past and present and future) for their achievements in this challenging discipline. We also reward a few with scholarships made available through the generosity of individuals and families (mostly from the Savannah area). Remember that if you are so inclined to donate to our efforts, then please mail a check to the department written to the AASU Foundation earmarking it to either fund 195 (General) or fund 196 (Mathematics Scholarships).

Sincerely,

Lorrie Hoffman, Ph.D./Professor and Head