Dr. Derek Thompson Named 2019 Recipient of the Joe Burnworth Teaching Award


The recipient of the 2019 Dr. Joe Burnworth Teaching Award joined the Taylor University faculty the fall of 2014 and almost immediately developed a reputation among his colleagues as an innovative teacher who is passionate about student learning. This recipient constantly seeks to improve learning outcomes, focusing on how and why his students learn, which is evident in his course evaluations that consistently show very high scores for “making learning stimulating and fun.”

This recipient invests significant time, thought and passion into finding ways to further motivate deeper learning. Here are just a few examples: he explicitly discusses the role of failure in the learning process; he engages classroom technologies that prompt deeper engagement; and he constantly seeks ways to expand active participation and metacognitive growth.

This recipient, like Joe Burnworth, is not only a great classroom teacher, but also seeks to connect with students holistically. Students frequently comment on how this recipient makes time for them: When a student was discouraged, he met with the student and has written notes of encouragement on students’ papers; when a student began to give up, he pointed out the learning that the student had already achieved and expressed confidence in her potential; when a strong student showed evidence of greater potential, he challenged that student in ways that motivated higher levels of commitment.

This awardee expands learning beyond the classroom by engaging his students in scholarship, modeling intellectual passion and curiosity while also teaching and mentoring significant scholarly work. He not only worked with his students on research and publication, but he also noticed that females in his major were not as engaged in scholarship so he created an opportunity for them to attend a national conference where they met with top female scholars.

This year’s Burnworth awardee not only invests in his students but also invests in helping his colleagues improve as teachers, being a frequent participant and presenter in BCTLE events and his school’s discussions on pedagogy. He truly enjoys sharing his passion for student learning through these formal venues as well as through informal hallway conversations about pedagogy and student learning, becoming a Taylor leader on engaged pedagogies and student learning.

Congrats Dr. Thompson!

Math Field Day

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Each spring, the Taylor University Math Department collaborates with Indiana Wesleyan to provide a fun and enriching field day for high school students! This year, on March 14, Indiana Wesleyan will host nearly 200 high school students from the Grant County area for Math Field Day. The activities are planned and executed by Taylor and Indiana Wesleyan math majors and faculty, particularly the pre-service secondary math teachers currently enrolled in Dr. Eggleton’s Teaching Math in Secondary Schools class. Math majors and minors always join in on the fun by volunteering to help run the activities. The Taylor University students and faculty see it as a great opportunity to serve the community by sharing a love for mathematics and challenging the students to relate mathematics to different contexts not typically covered in the classroom. This year, the featured activities include a math trail, mobius strips and other paper cutting, and Monty Hall. We’re looking forward to upholding the tradition of Math Field Day this March and in years to come!

Distinguished Taylor Math Department Alumnus Passes Away

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Dr. Melvin Moeschberger  passed away on Wednesday, January 9, 2019 at his home.  Mel was a 1962 graduate of the math department and has many family members associated with the Taylor community including son, Dr. Scott Moeschberger (’97), daughter-in-law, Jennifer Moeschberger (’96) and four grandchildren who are current students, Abbie, Josh, and Kendra Roth and Caleb Crowder .

Dr. Melvin Moeschberger was one of the Taylor Math Department’s most distinguished alumni. He was a professor of Biostatistics and Public Health at The Ohio State University for 30 years and University of Missouri for 10 years. He authored numerous articles and books in his field. Mel was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The late Dr. Bill Klinger spoke very highly of Mel in the statistics world.

A link to the obituary is below.


Our Fall 2018 MAT392 Presentations!!

Our MAT392 Math Seminar class recently finished giving their presentations of semester long research on a topic of their choosing. Listed below are our presenters along with a description of their talk.

headshot1Allie Ternet, “Modeling Cancer: The Role of Mathematics and Statistics within Oncology”

Cancer research has greatly progressed over several years, and new discoveries are being made every day. Mathematical modeling has been used help model the formation of cancer and subsequently treat the disease. Over the past fifty years, two models have been pivotal in our treatment of cancer today: the Armitage Doll model and the de Pillis model. Allie explored how these models have changed oncology today as well as the clinical trials and statistical experiments that supported these studies.

IMG_6061.JPGHannah King, “Semigroups, C* Algebras, and ZM(C)”

Hannah examined the connection between semigroups and C* algebras, looking at general definitions of these two areas in mathematics. Motivated by her research from the summer in inverse semigroup theory, she looked at the applications of the theorem we derived and applying that theorem within this context.


63A1A196853643CEBC10164C40B924FAAmish Mishra, “An Exploration of the Numerical Range of Toeplitz Matrices over Finite Fields”

In this presentation, we characterize the kth numerical range of all  Toeplitz matrices with a constant main diagonal and another single, nonzero diagonal where the matrices are all over the field  with p, a prime congruent to 3 mod 4. For k in , the kth numerical range is always equal to ­­­­­­­­­­ with the exception of the scaled identity. Similar techniques are used to discover a general connection between the 0th numerical range and the kth numerical range. Amish also investigated new directions to continue this research.

IMG_8181Drew Anderson, “Matrices of Permutations”

The study of matrices has been a staple in mathematics for years, especially the permutation matrix from Linear Algebra. However, very little research has been done on similar matrices, which Drew will call matrices of permutations. These are n by n square matrices that have each row containing some permutation of n numbers. We can find applications that have to do with systems of equations, combinatorics, math modeling, sudokus, and Latin squares. In this presentation, then, we examined all these matrices in detail and the patterns to be discovered within.

IMG_0605.jpgSavannah Porter “Defensive Strategies in Baseball”

Baseball’s lifelong fascination with statistics has been an ongoing study since the game began. The game involves more mathematics than what meets the eye. There are vast amounts of research done on the offense of baseball, but not as much is said about the defensive side of baseball. Savannah aims to answer why some of the key features of baseball exist, such as why there are nine players and why they are positioned on the field where they are.

45583647912_d196c9fb1f_oLuke Wilson “Tilt the Dice: A Combinatorial Game You Can Win”

Combinatorial Games are all around us. From tic tac toe to chess, some of best games out there can be fit into the category of study called combinatorial game theory. This presentation took a look at an unstudied game called “Tilt the Dice” – a variant of Nim. We explored the strategy of Nim as well as looking at how we can assure victory nearly every time with little luck involved for Tilt the Dice.

FullSizeRender-1Stevanni McCray, “The Golden Ratio and its Applications to Sunflowers and Pineapples”

The golden ratio is a numerical value equal to (1+√5)/2. Even though this astonishing number comes out to be a numerical number, this number is most known as the “most irrational number” for reasons we explained. The golden ratio appears in many places we would least expect—places such as art, architecture, nature, and more. In this research, we explored how the golden ratio appears in spirals in nature—more specifically sunflowers and pineapples.

IMG_2276Ellie Grace Moore, “Fractals: History, Formulation, and their Artistic Application”

This presentation gave a brief history of fractals as well as how they can be formed. Ellie Grace touched base on topics such as iterated function systems, Julia and Mandelbrot sets, as well as Newton’s method and complex dynamical system. Then she explained how fractals can be taken in an artistic way and how we see them in our world.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset Processed with VSCO with a6 presetDeborah Settles “The Symmetries of Dance”

Have you ever considered the mathematical concepts in dance? What about representing movement with mathematics? Contrary to what you might be thinking right now, the art of dance and field of mathematics are indeed intertwined. Symmetry can be used to describe body movement of dancers. Both frieze patterns and the Klein Four group work well to represent the repetitive foot movement and whole group movement in dances.

Caleb Holleman “Mathematical Logic and Mind: Use or Abuse?”

Perhaps the greatest accomplishment in the field of mathematical logic, Kurt Godel’s incompleteness theorems have substantially shaped our understanding of fundamental mathematics. Godel’s two, paired results––which together permanently undermine any claims of mathematics as consistent totality––have since captured the public consciousness. Inevitably, the coupling of the theorems’ profundity and popularization has led to widespread misrepresentation, not the least of which has manifested as unjustified extension of the theorems to multifarious non-mathematical questions; yet some serious scholars have advanced arguments claiming Godel’s theorems bear critically on certain outstanding questions, such as questions related to mind. Following a review of Godel’s incompleteness results, Caleb investigates the function of incompleteness theorems in argument schemes surrounding Turing machines, mechanistic theories of mind, and artificial intelligence.

MeJamie Netzley, “Maximizing Your Probability of Scoring a Penalty Kick”

While they seem so simple to a bystander watching a soccer game, penalty kicks can decide the winner of an important game. Therefore, when rewarded with a penalty kick, the player taking the kick must give himself the best chance possible of making the shot. However, to do this, there are many variables that the kicker must consider. Where is the goalkeeper standing? Where is the goalkeeper going to dive? Where do I want to aim the ball? How hard should I kick the ball? There are several factors that go into the “unstoppable” penalty kick, that is a kick that is perfectly placed so that the goalkeeper has no chance of saving it. This presentation answered the above questions and give more insight into how a player can improve his penalty kick.

IMG_9126Hannah Peters, “Circles: Relationships between Angles, Arcs, Secants, and Tangents”

Circles are everywhere and can be used in many different ways as a tool to find measurements or distances. There are connections between circles, angles, and arcs that create ways for one to find the length of an arc or an angle. These connections are made with the help of geometry and the introduction of lines such as radii, tangents, and secants. There are angles inside of the circle and outside of the circle and equations that were created to discover the corresponding lengths desired. What if you are given an angle and need to find the length of the opposite side? Or you are given the arc length and are wanting to find the angle? All of these instances are touched on in this presentation along with some conjectures on inverse of a point and tangent lines.


Students spent the entire semester researching these topics to write their paper and then present on their research in a twenty minute mathematical presentation.

Dr. Colgan recently presented at the AMATYC conference in Orlando!

Dr. Colgan traveled down to Orlando, Florida to present on his research at Disney’s Coronado Spring Resort at the 44th annual AMATYC (American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges) Conference.

Title:    Simple Ways to Begin and End Math Class that Make Learning More Fun      

Session summary:

Participants will consider simple and fun ways to begin and end a class session that help students learn effectively and build classroom community:  emailing before class, looking at websites that teach before class begins, using application starters and guessing games or community building questions, and discussing or writing about life lessons.

Meta-Teaching: A Great Tool for Methods Courses

hamteDr. Patrick Eggleton, Associate Professor of Mathematics, published the article Meta-Teaching:  A Great Tool for Methods Courses in the Fall 2018 issue of the HAMTE Crossroads.   The article highlighted a “meta-teaching” activity used by the students taking Secondary Mathematics Methods where they reflect on 25 different teaching methods demonstrated by faculty in their different classes.  Students reviewed the effectiveness of each instructional task and provided ideas of when these would best be used.  A copy of the short article is available here.

Dr. Eggleton Presents at ICTM Conference

patrickdesmos.pngDr. Patrick Eggleton, Associate Professor of Mathematics, presented “Great Desmos Math Activities” at the Indiana Council of Teachers of Mathematics (ICTM) Conference on Sunday, November 4, 2018.  The session highlighted Desmos activities Taylor University Mathematics Education majors explore in their class “Teaching Mathematics in Secondary Schools”.