Celebrating the Legendary Ross Program

In 2017, the Ross Mathematics Program celebrated 60 years of instructing bright, pre-college students in the art of mathematical thinking. More importantly, it has inspired generations to discover for themselves the value of abstract ideas. First- year participants take an intensive, exploration-based course in Number Theory — the level of a college course for honors math majors.

It is an extraordinary experience that can take promising students to new levels of discovery, build confidence in their abilities and ultimately shape remarkable careers. For most participants, this is the first time they’ve been asked to consider totally new questions, develop methods never before seen, and justify every answer. The best students are invited to return as junior counselors, and later as counselors. Returning participants take advanced math courses and spend many hours coaching first-year students — in itself an exceptional learning opportunity.

Founded by Dr. Arnold Ross in 1957, the four- week program has run every summer since and has been the model to emulate. Now taught by Assistant Professor Jim Fowler, Professor Emeritus Dan Shapiro, and others in our department, its alumni include some of the world’s brightest stars in science, math, business and the arts. Read more about the Ross Program’s history and legacy: http://u.osu.edu/rossmath/

The value of a mathematics education lies not only in obtaining proficiency in computational tasks, but in building a foundation for critical thinking. Student s who have never asked why things work the way they do are not prepared to lead the way to future scientific innovation. It is precisely this independence of thought and questioning attitude that we strive to nurture. — Arnold Ross

Ross/Asia: In 2016, we founded Ross/Asia, in partnership with the private company Renascentia Hall International. This 5-week sister program has the same goals, style and courses as the classic Ross Program. Almost all first-year students are Chinese, while instructors, counselors and junior counselors are mostly Americans. All classes are in English. In 2016 Ross/Asia was held near Nanjing; in 2017, in Huangshan City; and are exploring locations near Beijing for 2018.

The department allocates substantial support for the Ross Program. That support, together with student fees, is enough to fund salaries of counselors and instructors. Additional donations from institutions and individuals allow us to provide more student scholarships and limit increases in student fees.