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University of Iowa News Release

 

Nov. 7, 2008

UI Department of Mathematics receives national 2008 Exemplary Program Award

The University of Iowa Department of Mathematics in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) has been awarded the 2008 Exemplary Program Award by the American Mathematical Society (AMS) for its work in recruiting, mentoring and preparing doctoral students from underrepresented U.S. minorities.

In a Thursday, Nov. 6, ceremony and reception in the Senate Chambers of the Old Capitol, Department of Mathematics administrators and university officials, including UI President Sally Mason and CLAS Dean Linda Maxson, celebrated the achievement.

Yi Li, chair of the Department of mathematics, said that the award is well earned by many faculty, staff and students within the department who contribute, in particular, to the mentoring program.

"At Iowa, student success is the top priority. Having seen the impact and having seen what a broad change it brought to our program, I am a firm believer in mentoring early and in time," Li said.

Juan A. Gatica, professor of mathematics and chair of the Minority Student Recruitment and Development Committee, noted that the AMS award is the latest recognition for a program that has long been honored as one of the best of its kind in the nation.

"This award follows the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring that the President of the United States presented it in May 2005," Gatica said.

Indeed, the UI Department of Mathematics, earned recognition in 2005 when it received a 2004 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM) presented at the White House in Washington, D.C.

Supported and administered by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the award was the only one of its kind presented to an academic department in 2005 and included a $10,000 grant for continued mentoring work and a Presidential commemorative certificate. The department won the award for its work with U.S. minority graduate students. The award cited the UI, in part, for its "substantial support from external grants and new and continuing collaborations with minority faculty elsewhere" and noted that "currently, the department has 21 percent underrepresented minority graduate students."

The PAESMEM program honors individuals and institutions that have enhanced the participation of underrepresented groups -- such as women, minorities and people with disabilities -- in science, mathematics and engineering education at all levels.

In addition, in 2006, Philip Kutzko, UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Collegiate Fellow and professor in the Department of Mathematics, honored the UI department when he received the prestigious "Faculty Mentor of the Year" Award for 2006 from AGEP's Southern Regional Education Board. In 2007 Juan A. Gatica received the Marion L. Huit Award, given by Omicron Delta Kappa and Mortar Board Honor Societies for his work in mentoring graduate students.

UI Department of Mathematics administrators said that faculty and students are committed to their diversity efforts in bringing more underrepresented minority students and women into graduate study programs.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACT: Gary Galluzzo, 319-384-0009, gary-galluzzo@uiowa.edu