All posts by jemeyers


Beth Reed Named Distinguished Teacher

1495653731Beth Reed, a senior lecturer in the Mathematical Sciences Department of Michigan Technological University, is the recipient of the 2017 Distinguished Teaching Award in the Assistant Professor/Lecturer/Professor of Practice category.

Reed, who is also assistant to the department chair, has been teaching mathematical sciences at Tech since 1985 and has been recognized at the departmental level multiple times for both her teaching and her service. This year she was named to the Deans’ Teaching Showcase.

Reed began her academic career in forestry, earning a master’s in forest biometrics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 1982. She joined Michigan Tech’s School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science in January of 1983 as a research associate working on four different research projects before moving to the Department of Mathematical Sciences in 1985.

Reed says the secret to her success lies, in part, in her effort to “personalize” her classroom. Though many of her classes have almost 60 students, she learns every student’s name.

“I expect and actually get interaction from almost everyone. It really helps that I can call on each person by name. and if they don’t know the answer, I can turn to their neighbor and ask them to help out.”

Read the full story.


In Print

Screen Shot 2017-05-25 at 9.27.05 AMIosif Pinelis contributed two chapters, “On the nonuniform Berry—Esseen bound” and “On the Berry—Esseen bound for the Student statistic,” to the book “Inequalities and Extremal Problems in Probability and Statistics: Selected Topics,” just published by Elsevier’s imprint Academic Press. Pinelis is also the editor of the book.

The other contributing authors are V. de la Peña (Columbia University), R. Ibragimov (Imperial College London), A. Osȩkowski (University of Warsaw, Poland) and I. Shevtsova (Moscow University, Russia).

The Google preview of the book is available online through Google Books and Elsevier.

Also, Pinelis published the paper, “(Quasi)additivity Properties of the Legendre—Fenchel Transform and its Inverse, with Applications in Probability“, in the Journal of Convex Analysis 24 (2017), No. 3, online first.


Dean’s Teaching Showcase: Beth Reed

Math09232013021Bruce Seely, Dean of the College of Sciences and Arts, has chosen to recognize Beth Reed, senior lecturer and assistant to the chair in mathematical sciences as our first Spring 2017 Dean’s Teaching Showcase member.

Seely’s nomination was influenced by Brent Baltus, a senior on the hockey team, who singled Reed at the Faculty Appreciation event during a game on December 2nd.

Baltus, a senior major in Finance who started this year with a 3.73 GPA, named Reed as “the best professor he had encountered” at Michigan Tech. Baltus had taken a couple of classes from her during his first two years in statistics and math and added she was “an unbelievable professor.”

Seely asked Reed what she does that would lead a good student (and athlete) like Brent to value her efforts. She answered with several points from the recently submitted students teaching evaluations for Fall 2016 and offered several points. Reed knows every student’s name, signaling that they are individuals to her. This makes her approachable and shows she cares about them as people. She prepares a handout for every class session containing the concepts, problems, formulas and so on covered that day. This allows students to actually listen in class rather than struggling to write everything down. Her handout adds structure to the notes taken by the students while eliminating transcription errors. Reed dedicates some class periods to worksheet days, devoted to working problems while she walks around and answers questions from students.

Finally, she asks a lot of questions of the students during class sessions. Students report this makes them pay attention (especially at 8 a.m.). When a student offers an incorrect answer, she talks them through the process until they get to the correct answer. Seely also asked Reed if there was something she did that specifically helps student athletes, who must miss classes due to travel.

In addition to her willingness to meet with them outside of class, she noted the most important thing was to ask them to introduce themselves on the first day of class. That allows her to work with them and their schedules. From this initial discussion, it is much easier to ensure Reed has a heads-up when an assignment and/or exam might conflict with games and travel. Such communication allows her and the student to work around any conflicts.

These are the kinds of effort — small steps in some respects, but large in the aggregate — that make a difference in how well students do. While a student-athlete recognized Reed’s efforts, the more important fact is that she makes these attempts for any student.

Reed will be recognized at an end-of-term luncheon with 11 other showcase members, and is now eligible for one of three new teaching awards to be given by the William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning this summer recognizing introductory or large class teaching, innovative teaching methods or work in curriculum and assessment.


Mathematical Sciences research ranked in the top 100 nationwide

In the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) latest rankings of universities by total research expenditures, Michigan Tech ranked 116th in the nation among public institutions and Tech’s atmospheric science and oceanography research ranked first in Michigan.

Nationally, atmospheric science research at Michigan Tech ranked 39th in research expenditures and oceanography ranked 53rd. Environmental science also ranked 53rd. Tech’s mechanical engineering research ranked 23rd in the nation, the highest ranking of all research fields at the University.

“Michigan Tech has been growing our capabilities in environmental science through our faculty hiring processes like the strategic faculty hiring initiative, our facility development efforts like the Great Lakes Research Center and in our equipment investments such as the cloud chamber in the Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences Institute,” said Dave Reed, vice president for research. “NSF’s report reflects the impact of those investments and the significant research role that Michigan Tech is playing both nationally and within Michigan.”

The NSF report covered fiscal year 2015.

Other research areas at Tech that ranked in the top 100 nationwide include:

  • Biomedical engineering, 96th
  • Chemical engineering, 98th
  • Civil engineering, 92nd
  • Electrical engineering, 55th
  • Mechanical engineering, 23rd
  • Materials science and engineering, 61st
  • Mathematical sciences, 75th
  • Business and management, 73rd
  • Humanities, 98th
  • Visual and performing arts, 85th

The NSF report showed that research expenditures at Michigan Tech totaled $69.6 million for fiscal year 2015.


In Print

Professor Iosif Pinelis published the paper “Convex Cones of Generalized Multiply Monotone Functions and the Dual Cones” in Banach Journal of Mathematical Analysis, Volume 10, Number 4 (2016), 864–897. The abstract is available online.

Pinelis also published a paper, “Contrast Between Populations Versus Spread within Populations,” in Statistics and Probability Letters 121 (2017) 99–100. It is available until December 22, 2016 here.




David Olson this weeks Props for Profs Winner

image39658-persOur final Jackson CTL Props for Profs Winner for Spring 2016 is David Olson—senior lecturer in Mathematical Sciences.

Olson’s nominator emphasized that he not only makes class “fun and informative,” but that he leaves “real, helpful notes on your work.”

The nominator also found Olson’s connection to students exceptional, allowing him to “really notice when you need help.”

Perhaps most importantly, the nominator felt that Olson did an exceptional job of maintaining this strong connection well beyond when students leave his classroom.

Olson and his nominator will each receive a $5 gift certificate to purchase a snack or beverage at the Library Café or several other locations on campus.

by Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning


Johnathon Aho receives Outstanding Young Alumni Award

Alumni Association Announces 2016 Awards

image136114-pers Michigan Tech’s Alumni Association has named its 2016 award winners. Each year, members of the Michigan Tech Alumni Association Board of Directors review dozens of nominations of outstanding alumni and friends to determine award recipients.

One of the winners is a Mathematical Sciences alum, Johnathon Aho ’08 Mathematical Sciences/Biological Sciences, Rochester, Minnesota, who received the Outstanding Young Alumni Award.  This award is presented to alumni under the age of 35 who have distinguished themselves in their careers. The award recognizes the achievement of a position or some distinction noteworthy for one so recently graduated.