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2009 Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics

Tom Dick, Oregon State University

Congratulations to Thomas P. Dick, Oregon State University, on his selection as the 2009 Pacific Northwest Section winner of the MAA Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics. Professor Dick has been extremely influential in the use of technology in mathematics teaching, especially calculus, and has profoundly affected students and mathematics teachers through his leadership in the OSU Math Excel program, OSU Calculus Connections program, Oregon Collaborative for Excellence in the Preparation of Teachers, and the Oregon Mathematics Leadership Institute. In 1994, Tom and his collaborator, Dick Patton, were among the first to exploit the potential of graphing calculators in improving calculus instruction. As one of three Senior Math Consultants for the Texas Instruments calculator division, Tom remains a national leader in promoting effective use of technology at all levels of mathematics instruction. He directed a major NSF calculus reform curriculum development project and was instrumental in the Advanced Placement Calculus program, including serving as chair of the AP Calculus Development Committee.

Founded by Professor Dick in 1998, the OSU Math Excel programâ€”based on the Treisman Emerging Scholars modelâ€” has significantly impacted students. For the last ten years, this program has provided students in college algebra, precalculus, differential, integral, and multivariable calculus the opportunity to work collaboratively with other students on challenging problems related to their mathematics coursework. Tom continues to serves as the Faculty Director for the Math Excel Program in addition to Coordinator of Collegiate Mathematics Education and Faculty Director of the OSU Mathematics Learning Center. Tom is currently the PI or Co-PI of two major NSF projects, both of which are focused on mathematics education. The Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory studies a mathematical problem solving professional development program. The Oregon Mathematics Leadership Institute Partnership project (OMLI) is building school-based leadership teams of teachers in over 80 schools in ten Oregon school districts. Hundreds of Oregon in-service teachers have participated in the OMLI summer program and been profoundly affected. One participant said of Tom, "Although he is a brilliant mathematician, he has the knack of explaining mathematics in a language that makes sense, whether talking with a first grade teacher or a fellow mathematics professor." His deep understanding of mathematics and his humble manner have made him highly respected in the mathematics community at every level.

Tom is the only full professor in the College of Science at Oregon State University to have won all three of the College's major awards for teaching and advising. He is the most recent recipient of the University-wide Elizabeth P. Ritchie Distinguished Professor Award, and in 2008 he was named to the Oregon Mathematics Education Hall of Fame. The Pacific Northwest Section is proud to honor Thomas Dick for his distinguished contributions in teaching at Oregon State University and beyond.