2014 Ohio Section Award for
Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics
of the Ohio Section of the MAA

Chris Swanson
Ashland University

The recipient of the 2014 Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics of the Ohio Section of the Mathematical Association of America is Dr. Christopher Swanson of Ashland University. The award was presented to Dr. Swanson at the Ohio Section Spring Meeting at the University of Toledo on April 5, 2014.

This is not the first time Dr. Swanson has been recognized for his teaching excellence: In 2006, the MAA honored Dr. Swanson with a Henry L. Alder Award for Distinguished Teaching by a Beginning College or University Mathematics Faculty Member.

Dr. Swanson is a teacher of exceptional versatility and dedication, whose teaching style is characterized by flexibility, meticulous preparation, high expectations, and time invested in students. Displaying a contagious enthusiasm for all things mathematical, even corny jokes, he models a genuine passion for mathematics to students, whether or not they major in mathematics. Dr. Darren Wick, Chair of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at Ashland University remarks that Dr. Swanson has continually achieved extraordinary success in teaching and has built a record that is both substantial and truly impressive.” He characterizes Dr. Swanson as one of the best and most successful teachers he has ever known, whose contributions to the university and the department are irreplaceable.

Dr. Swanson’s activities extend beyond the classroom. Examples include advising the local Pi Mu Epsilon chapter and the Math Club, encouraging students to participate in the William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition and the Ohio Section’s Leo Schneider Student Mathematical Competition, and organizing the department’s “Problem of the Month” contest. In addition, he developed the department’s growing actuarial science program, and continues to advise its students and teach many of the program’s courses.

Dr. Swanson has worked with more honors students than the rest of the department faculty combined; two of the resulting theses have won awards for Best Honors Thesis of the Year. As the Director of the Honors Program at Ashland University, he continues to nurture and encourage students of all majors to pursue an honors degree.

Dr. Swanson has also made important contributions to the larger mathematical community. A national Project NExT Fellow, he has been invited to give workshops to three different cohorts of new Project NExT Fellows. In the Ohio Section, his most important contribution has been as co-director of Ohio NExT since 2004, providing support to many new faculty in the Ohio Section, both through Ohio NExT programming and through personal mentoring on how to start one’s teaching career, how to be a good colleague within one’s department and how to successfully achieve tenure

Submitted by
Wiebke Diestelkamp

Chair, Teaching Award Committee of the Ohio Section of the MAA