All posts by jemeyers

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.

Dr. Piret this weeks Props for Profs winner

image111742-persThis week’s Jackson CTL Props for Profs Winner is Cécile Piret, an assistant professor in Mathematical Sciences. Piret’s anonymous nominator praised the way she went above and beyond with “many review sessions before tests and long office hours.”

Even though Piret was teaching the class for the first time, the nominator felt that she put in “a lot of effort” and perhaps more importantly “asked for student input and used that information to try to make her class better.”

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


Michigan Tech Rises in NSF Research Expenditure Rankings

December 2, 2015—

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has released its annual research spending report, and Michigan Tech has moved up in its rankings.

Of 634 institutions that received research funding in 2014, Tech received $68.5 million, ranking 163rd overall nationwide. The University ranked 117th among public institutions.

Mechanical engineering research at Tech received $13.1 million in research funding, ranking 19th in the nation. Atmospheric science — a new interdisciplinary category — received $3.1 million and ranked 34th.

14 Disciplines in Top 100

Fourteen disciplines at Michigan Tech ranked in the top 100 for research spending.  They are atmospheric science (34th), business and management (76th), biomedical engineering (94th), chemical engineering (90th), civil engineering (89th), electrical engineering (62nd), environmental science (52nd), humanities (94th), mechanical engineering (19th), metallurgical and materials engineering (58th), mathematical sciences (88th), oceanography (56th), overall engineering (84th), and visual and performing arts (85th).

“The research funding environment is increasingly competitive, and our improvement in overall ranking, as well as the increases in last year’s funding that will impact future rankings, all indicate the exceptional efforts of our faculty, staff, and students,” said David Reed, vice president for research.

NSF ranks research activities by discipline, not by organizational structure, Reed pointed out, so the spending in some of Tech’s institutes and centers, such as the Michigan Tech Research Institute, the Keweenaw Research Center and the Great Lakes Research Center, are included with the appropriate academic departments rather than reported separately.

Michigan Technological University ( is a leading public research university developing new technologies and preparing students to create the future for a prosperous and sustainable world. Michigan Tech offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering; forest resources; computing; technology; business; economics; natural, physical and environmental sciences; arts; humanities; and social sciences.

From Tech Today