2003 Distinguished Teaching Award

    Dr. Jenna Carpenter

    Dr. Jenna P. Carpenter received her B.S in mathematics at Louisiana Tech University in 1983. She received her M.S. and Ph.D. in mathematics at Louisiana State University, in 1986 and 1989, respectively.  While at Louisiana State University, she held a prestigious LSU Alumni Federation Fellowship.  She has spent the last 14 years at Louisiana Tech University, where she has served in a variety of administrative positions, including 2 years as Program Chair of Mathematics, 5 years as Academic Director for various engineering, engineering technology programs, computer science and geology, and several years as Coordinator of the Math/Stat Computer Laboratory.  She has taught a variety of mathematics courses, including college algebra, trigonometry, calculus, abstract algebra, and business calculus.

    Dr. Carpenter is recognized an effective and successful teacher and maintains an active interest in innovative ways to both teach mathematics and assist students with learning mathematics.  She works to involve students in their own learning, utilizing active and cooperative learning strategies with interdisciplinary student teams, both in and outside of class.  She incorporates strategies in each class that appeal to the spectrum of student learning styles and educates her students each term with respect to their own learning styles and how to capitalize on their personal strengths.  Dr. Carpenter works to incorporate research-supported strategies into her classes, such as mini-exercise breaks to help students refocus their attention and varying class activities to provide a more stimulating environment.  She incorporates daily student writing activities into her classes, from journals to minute papers, and provides individual feedback based on the student writing at the beginning of the next class period.  These beginning-of-class summaries are frequently cited by students as the “most helpful thing my instructor does to help me learn”.  Technology is utilized in her classes to enhance understanding and appeal to a broader spectrum of learning styles.  Detailed course websites provide not only materials, but also serve as a method for communicating with students, posting worked problems (utilizing a whiteboard capturing system), handouts, review sheets, web links, etc.  Multimedia systems (including graphing calculators, computer algebra software, web-based material and document cameras) are used, as appropriate.  Web-based tutorial software (such as ALEKS) is utilized to fill in gaps in students’ mathematical background and enhance student understanding of current course content.  Dr. Carpenter uses a variety of assessment in her courses, such as post-test assessments and mid-term assessments, as well as daily writing activities to keep tabs on student progress.

    Over the last 10 years, she has lead efforts on-campus to bring technology into the mathematics classroom.  For example, she coordinated, taught and developed labs for a multivariable calculus computer laboratory.  She has obtained funding for computer laboratories for mathematics classes, from both the Louisiana State Board of Regents and the Louisiana Tech Student Technology Fee Board.  She has also worked to set-up and coordinate the delivery of mathematics courses off-campus via compressed video.  She has also contributed to a variety of in-service teacher workshops and courses on mathematics.  She started a student MAA Chapter at Louisiana Tech and served as its first sponsor.  She is starting her third year as the faculty advisor for the Society of Women Engineers student chapter.

    For the last 6 years, she has focused her efforts on co-developing the mathematics curriculum for Louisiana Tech’s highly successful NSF-sponsored integrated engineering curriculum.  Dr. Carpenter’s contribution to the mathematics curriculum for the integrated engineering curriculum included developing a just-in-time approach to the delivery of algebra and trigonometry content within the calculus sequence.

    She is currently leading a similar interdisciplinary effort to develop and implement an NSF-funded integrated science curriculum at Louisiana Tech (for mathematics, science and science education majors), which is the first of its type in the nation.  She has also served as co-PI on an NSF CCLI-EMD grant, with responsibility for authoring a hyper-linked precalculus coursebook to be delivered in an innovative web-based format.  She has been a member of the MAA since 1988 and has served on several committees at the section level.  She was an invited participant at both the MAA Curriculum Foundations Engineering Workshop (in May of 2000) and the MAA Curriculum Foundations Conference (in November of 2001).  She is also a member of the American mathematical Society, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the American Society for Engineering Education and the Society of Women Engineers.  She has served as Division Officer, Program Chair and the Division Chair for the Mathematics Division of the American Society for Engineering Education.

    Dr. Carpenter received the 1997-1998 College of Engineering and Science Outstanding Achievement in Teaching Award at Louisiana Tech University (along with the other members of the freshman curriculum team) for her work in developing the integrated engineering curriculum at Louisiana Tech University.

    She is currently serving as Academic Director for Biomedical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Engineering at Louisiana Tech and is an Associate Professor of Mathematics.

    Comments: travis@mc.edu