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2017 Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics

Tevian Dray, Oregon State University

Tevian Dray is recognized for his record of exemplary mathematics teaching at Oregon State University and distinguished work in college mathematics curriculum development. Over the course of his career, Tevian has created a greater awareness of the need for mathematicians to look at how other fields see mathematics, and his curriculum development work has given the mathematics community a powerful tool to engage students by showing them how the mathematics they are learning will look in their major.

Tevian excels at teaching in the classroom. He loves to teach, and students love to participate and actively learn in his courses. Tevian creates a very interactive classroom and employs non-traditional and alternative teaching methods. In both large and small classroom settings, student questions and other feedback drive the coherent presentation of the subject matter, emphasizing conceptual understanding, and the relationships between different parts of the course.

Tevian’s success is documented by excellent course evaluations, where over 50% of his numerical evaluations over the past decade have been at least 5.8 on a 6.0 scale, and student testimonials. Students write that Tevian removes barriers between students through open discussions. He invites students to actively explore mathematics and they learn to work as a team to discover the beauty and depth hidden in mathematics. Colleagues write that during student presentations, Tevian has the knack for asking the right question that pushes students, whether presenting or listening, to explore the implications of their argument and to uncover an underlying theory. He has the artful skill to remain quiet and letting students lead the discussion by making mistakes and learning from each other.

Tevian has also made significant and original contributions to the teaching of mathematics, both at Oregon State and nationwide. He has played a key role in two successful long-term curriculum development projects. Tevian was the PI of the “Vector Calculus Bridge” project, that addressed the divide between how vector calculus is taught by mathematicians and how it is understood by physicists. The Bridge Project developed and classroom tested 15 small group activities and prepared an accompanying 100-page instructor's guide. Materials were presented at 10 regional and national workshops and attended by more than 170 faculty members overall. He also coauthored an online multivariable calculus textbook based on this approach. Tevian is also the co-PI of the "Paradigms in Physics" project, a 19-year NSF-funded effort by the Oregon State physics department to redesign their upper-division physics courses with a strong emphasis on pedagogical reform. Tevian designed a new course on Reference Frames and an accompanying textbook that presents a geometric approach to relativity.

Tevian has also participated extensively in teacher development for the state of Oregon. Through the Oregon Mathematics Leadership Institute (OMLI), he was part of the team that designed an OMLI course in non-Euclidean geometry that encouraged teachers to improve the quality of mathematical discourse in their own classrooms by modeling instruction on an unfamiliar but accessible mathematical topic. Tevian also served as a co-PI of the Central Oregon Consortium, a Mathematics and Science Partnership providing professional development to middle-school math teachers in rural Oregon.

The MAA recognizes the impact Tevian Dray has had on numerous student and faculty lives through his excellent teaching and curricular work, and is honored to present him with the Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics.