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Indiana Section of the Mathematical Association of America
Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics

Citation to

Ken Luther

The Indiana Section Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics annually recognizes the accomplishments and contributions of Section members who have been identified as extraordinarily successful teachers in the mathematical sciences and whose teaching effectiveness has been shown to have had influence beyond their own institutions.

This year's recipient is an excellent teacher who has consistently received student evaluations well above his department's average - not just in the overall quality of instruction question, but also in each individual question on the survey. This remarkable success in the classroom stems from his rapport with students, use of a variety of teaching tools, and thorough preparation. His students routinely say that he is "really helpful, enthusiastic in lecture, and available when needed" and his course is "one of the best courses that I've taken."


He brings a wide range of teaching tools to his classrooms: as circumstances warrant, he can lecture from PowerPoint or LaTeX slides and at the chalk board, use small group work, computer labs, worksheet exercises, projects, and regular quizzes. All of these tools are used effectively and all to his students' benefit. The advanced preparation that he puts into course materials (outlines, notes, problem solutions) is noted and appreciated by his students - especially as these materials are always made accessible on-line.


Our awardee's teaching extends outside the department. His Ph.D. is actually in Environmental Science and his research area is in constructing mathematical models for groundwater flow. Aside from his applied mathematics background, he was hired for the expertise that he would bring to a fledgling environmental science program. He eventually became chair of the environmental science committee and guided program revisions that have improved its focus and appeal to students. He has taught a course called "Water Resources Science and Management," is active in student recruitment for the major, and is a faculty mentor to student environmental groups on campus.


Finally, this recipient's impact on teaching goes beyond his institution through his work with students in an REU program, presentations at assessment workshops, and presentations on teaching at section meetings.

This year's recipient is an exemplar of the kind of teacher all of us concerned about our students and the future of mathematics would like to become!

It is my privilege to present this award to Ken Luther, of Valparaiso University .

Patricia Oakley, Chair
Indiana Section of the Mathematical Association of America
March 28, 2008  


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