Mission

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SERVICE TO OUR STUDENTS

The primary mission of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics is to provide high quality mathematics education to a variety of students: to mathematics majors, to students in other majors enrolled in our service courses, to students in our general education courses, and to students in developmental mathematics courses.

SERVICE TO THE COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY

Another mission of the department is to provide a mathematical perspective for our campus colleagues.  The department is committed to providing leadership in questions of mathematics and statistics curriculum across the disciplines.  We are also committed to providing the technical expertise necessary for campus programs involving mathematical and statistical modeling, simulation, and data analysis.

SERVICE TO THE COMMUNITY

In broader terms, we can say that the dissemination of mathematical knowledge is the primary mission of the department, and our audience includes not only university students, but also our colleagues in the regional K-14 mathematical community and their students.

SERVICE TO THE PROFESSION

As a community of teacher-scholars, the department has an obligation to contribute to the effort to expand the corpus of knowledge of mathematics and statistics.  Mathematical research is inevitably quite technical, highly specialized and, as such, difficult to make accessible to non-specialists.  In particular, current research topics seldom filter down to the undergraduate curriculum.  What does filter down is the experience, the attitude, and the enthusiasm of those for whom mathematics is a vital, living, and growing thing.  Like our students, researchers in mathematics and statistics are engaged in a daily struggle with the subtleties of mathematics. 

Research in mathematics education is a different, but equally important, aspect of our mission.  We cannot hope to show our students how to solve every mathematical problem they will encounter or even which mathematical method might be effective.  We can give our students a toolkit of mathematical approaches to problem solving, and we can give our students some sense of which tools are appropriate for which problems.  In broader terms, we can train our students to think mathematically and to reason analytically.  Keeping abreast of and contributing to developments in mathematics education will help us help our students and others learn mathematics.