2008 Ohio Section Award for
Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics

Judy Holdener
Kenyon College


Tom Dence presents Judy Holdener with the 2008 Ohio Section Teaching Award

Judy Holdener of Kenyon College is the 2008 recipient of the Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics given by the Ohio Section. Teaching Award Committee member Tom Dence presented the award to Judy at the Spring 2008 Meeting of the Ohio Section. Judy has a distinguished record of teaching and scholarship.   She supervises high school teachers who teach Calculus, and also holds the Distinguished Teaching Chair position at Kenyon.  It is her responsibility to organize campus activities that promote the discussion of excellent teaching among the university faculty.   Judy is a national Project NExT Fellow, and has served the Ohio Section by being a member of both CONSTUM and CONSACT. Judy’s students and colleagues wrote these comments in the application for the award:

“One day early this semester, Professor Holdener sat down and went through a list of 50 graduate programs with me.  We spent a total of two hours discussing each school individually, until I had pared down the list to seven schools. Since then I have gone to her office several times worried about graduate school, and she has always been there to help.  Professor Holdener has been open, accessible, and always helpful.  I know without a doubt that she has changed my life for the better.”

“Judy is the single most gifted teacher with whom I’ve ever had the pleasure to serve.  She is a complete natural, but is also meticulous and thorough in
preparation for class.  She is also a master of designing engaging and instructive projects.  She challenges the students, but they enjoy the process so much it doesn’t feel like they are being pushed.  This connection with students – combined with her prodigious mathematical insight – has made Judy the most sought after research advisor in our department.  Within the past few years Judy has worked with students on projects as diverse as computer models of the
gut of a worm, visualization of binary sequences as fractals, and the distribution of perfect numbers.”

“I have said that Judy is unusually successful at getting students immersed in the mathematics, so that what they do (not what she does) is the engine that drives her classes.  Papers, projects, computer visualization and simulation, student presentations, independent research, design of web pages and scientific posters are all present in Judy’s teaching.  She brings to the classroom the same intelligence and care and fire as the students have, but in her classes, it is the students who give the great performances.  It  changes them forever.”

(Adapted by the Editor from the teaching award citation written by Tom Dence on behalf of the Teaching Award Committee.)