Welcome from the Chair

Dr. Luis Casian

Dear Alumni and Friends of Ohio State University’s Department of Mathematics,

I am pleased to introduce you to our first online publication. We have so many success stories and so much great news to share, that this is just the first of many. Our hope is to provide online news twice each year that will keep you informed and engaged with the life of your department.

For those of you who do not know me, I first became chair of the department in 2010. I was renewed for a second term in 2014.

Over the years the Department of Mathematics has become more outward looking, interdisciplinary and collaborative, in terms of its research, its teaching and its service missions. I want to offer a few examples of this departmental movement towards collaborations and partnerships.

First of all, research collaborations with faculty from the Departments of Statistics; and Computer Science and Engineering departments, have led to large NSF grants, such as the RTG grant in applications of topology and the TRIPODS grant in data analysis (featured in this issue). Next, the development of new collaborative networks of faculty initiated by our department, such as the STEAM factory and the Erdös Institute.

In education, a more collaborative environment is manifested through the activities of the Math Education Forum, which has been working with other departments to rethink the way instruction is delivered in many service courses. One of our faculty members, Jim Fowler, has been very successful in leading this effort; he developed a Calculus MOOC, which (according to Forbes) went viral. Additionally, we have developed a free, open source, interactive calculus textbook, with other free textbooks to follow.

We continue to lead in educational outreach. Our Ross Program for high-school students is 60 years old and recently opened up a parallel program in China: Ross/Asia.  Read about both in this issue.

At the state level, we have been active participants in the Ohio Math Initiative and developing the University System of Ohio (USO) Mathematics Chairs Network. Through this network, the math department has an impact at the state level, as well as nationally, as it has been emulated in other states. This Ohio team effort has been cited as a successful model at various national conferences.

In this issue, we can present only a few of our recent accomplishments mentioned above. This issue also features articles on our new Mathematics Advisory Board; and one of our board members, Dean Lampman, and his recent participation in a new seminar for undergraduates that aims to connect majors in math with the private sector.

Please let me know if you would like to become engaged with our department and its students through board service. We would love to have you join us.

Finally, we view this as just the first in a series of conversations with our alumni and friends about our vision, plans and progress. Please let us hear from you. We would love to know your thoughts about the job we are doing, suggestions for improvement and the kinds of news that is important to you.