The American Math Society has recognized the Department of Mathematics at Cal State Fullerton as the recipient of the 2022 Award for “Mathematics Programs That Make A Difference.” The CSUF department was selected based on “the department’s excellent record of mentoring and graduating students from underrepresented groups.”
“The early leaders of our department believed that our faculty and our students could excel through such activities as undergraduate research (long before it became the norm) and mathematics competitions,” said Alfonso Agnew, chair and professor of mathematics. “Throughout the years, a culture of excellence evolved, bringing the highest levels of mathematics achievement and opportunity to our students, a majority of whom are underrepresented and first-generation. I couldn’t be prouder of this department nor more grateful to the vision of past leaders.”
Of the more than 650 students who completed a degree in mathematics at CSUF over the past decade, about a third represented underserved communities, almost half were women, and about half were first-generation students. More than 50% were eligible to receive Pell grants.
“We meet our students where they are and take them where they want to go. That includes students who have never thought of themselves as capable of getting involved with higher-level mathematics,” said Marie Johnson, dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.
“We aspire to combine the best qualities of teaching and research where actively engaged students, faculty and staff work in close collaboration,” said Bogdan Suceavă, professor of mathematics. “Our philosophy is to enhance scholarly and creative activity. As such, we have directed a significant portion of our efforts to developing a culture of student-faculty research, and accelerating the path toward preparing new scholars to meet the upcoming challenges.”
“Our students are at the center of everything we do,” said Jessica Jaynes, associate professor of mathematics. “It is our passion to encourage them to make interdisciplinary collaborations and explore new areas motivated by real world problems. Our philosophy is to have students engaged in the task, be involved in the decision-making process, and prepare them to be efficient researchers and contributors to higher education.”