2004 Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Aeard for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics
Andrew Chang-Fung Liu, University of Alberta

At the national meeting in Phoenix, in January 2004, Andy Liu received the national MAA Debbie Haimo Teaching Award. Here is the citation.

Andrew Liu’s popularity as a teacher reflects the enormous energy he expends on teaching, his ability to make mathematics fun, his uncanny sense fo good problems, and his personal interest in his students. His outstanding reputation as consummate mathematics educator is documented by two teaching awards from his own University of Alberta, two Canadian national teaching awards, a 3M Teaching Fellowship, and the David Hilbert International award for promotion of mathematics learning from the World Federation of Mathematics Competitions.

At Alberta, he designed a unique course in discrete mathematics in which students must solve puzzles from D. Shasha’ The Puzzling Adventures of Dr. Ecco, supplemented by Liu’s own Professor Scarlet’s Notebook. Once they understand a puzzle solution, the mathematics that underlies the solution is developed. This challenging course has grown from a single class of 20 to two sections topping 110 students. He maintains close ties with colleagues in the Faculty of Education (he holds a certificate in elementary teaching as well as a Ph.D. in mathematics), and designed their course required for all students majoring in elementary education.

Andy’s desire to excite students about mathematics takes many forms. In Edmonton, he is a popular speaker in schools, has organized math fairs, and directed summer mathematics camps. For years he has drawn groups of enthusiastic junior high students to his free weekly Saturday Math Club. He lures them with tantalizing problems (many original and unsolved) and encourages their own ingenuity in solving them. Locally, nationally, and internationally, he is a devoted supporter of mathematics competitions, serving as coach and leader for Putnam and IMO teams, chair of the Problem Section of the IMO, and vice-president of the international Mathematics Tournament of the Towns.

Andy gladly shares his ideas in teaching, his problems, and interesting student solutions (which are frequently published in journals). He maintains informal mailing lists, has served as editor for two volumes of articles prepared for teachers of gifted high school students, and has collected 16 published articles by his young Saturday Math Club students in the S.M.A.R.T. “Analogy” to share with teachers.

For his remarkable teaching on so many fronts, it is a great pleasure to award Andy Liu the Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics.

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