Penn State Mathematics Professor to Give First Cherry Award Lecture

Oct. 5, 2007

by Katie Brooks, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

Dr. George E. Andrews, The Evan Pugh professor of mathematics at Pennsylvania State University, and one of three finalists for Baylor University's Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching, will deliver a lecture on, "Teaching as Art" at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 9, in room D.109 of the Baylor Sciences Building.

The Cherry Award for Great Teaching is designed to honor great teachers, to stimulate discussion in the academy about the value of teaching, and to encourage departments and institutions to value their own great teachers. The Cherry Award is the only higher education teaching award in the United States that invites teachers from the English-speaking world to apply. In addition, it is the only national teaching award by a college or university - with the single largest monetary reward of $200,000 - given to an individual for exceptional teaching.

The other finalists for Baylor's 2008 Cherry Award for Great Teaching are Rudy Pozzatti, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Fine Arts at the University of Indiana at Bloomington, who will present his lecture, "My University Has New Vestments," from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 16, in room 149 of the Hooper-Schaefer Fine Arts Center, and Dr. Stephen D. Davis, Distinguished Professor of Biology at Pepperdine University, who will present his lecture, "Undergraduate Research, Celebrating the Spice of Science," on Tuesday, Oct. 23, from 3:45 to 5 p.m. in room B.110 of the Baylor Sciences Building.

The award winner, who will be announced in spring 2008, will receive the $200,000 award, plus $25,000 for his home department and will teach in residence at Baylor during fall 2008 or spring 2009. Even before that, the Cherry finalists received $15,000 each, while their home departments also received $10,000 to foster the development of teaching skills.

In his lecture, "Teaching as Art," Andrews will analyze why he believes teaching mathematics is not an activity scientific research can assist. He also will discuss the positive alternatives of concentrating on teaching as an art and not a science.

"I will conclude with an account of this art as I see it, including a look at Penn State's Mathematics Advanced Study Seminars (M.A.S.S.), a unique mathematics immersion program which has made a dramatic difference in the lives of numerous students," Andrews said.

Andrews said he is greatly honored to be a finalist, especially since the award recognizes of the importance of teaching.

Andrews said his experience with the M.A.S.S. program would help in examining ways in which Baylor's mathematics department serves the Honors College, as mathematics is crucial to the country in an age of rapidly advancing technology and science.

"I believe that my extensive experience in teaching and research could be creatively utilized in both graduate and undergraduate education at Baylor. It is clear that Baylor is committed to excellence, and I would enthusiastically join in advancing its efforts," Andrews said.

A member of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences, Andrews received his bachelor's degree from Oregon State University and his doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania. He has been a member of the Penn State faculty since 1964.

Andrews is a renowned authority on the work of the late mathematical genius Srinivasa Ramanujan and the theory of partitions combined, number theory, partitions and the calculus-reform movement. He is the author or co-author of more than 250 papers published in scholarly journals, the author of four mathematics textbooks and the editor of three books on various topics in mathematics.

Andrews was elected to the National Academy in 2003. He also is a Fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Guggenheim Fellow. Additionally, he has been awarded honorary doctorates from the University of Parma (Italy) in 1998, from the University of Florida in 2002, and from the University of Waterloo (Ontario, Canada) in 2004.

The Cherry Award was created by Robert Foster Cherry, who earned his A.B. from Baylor in 1929. He enrolled in the Baylor Law School in 1932 and passed the Texas State Bar Examination the following year. With a deep appreciation for how his life had been changed by significant teachers, he made an exceptional estate bequest to establish the Cherry Award program to recognize excellent teachers and bring them in contact with Baylor University students. The first Robert Foster Cherry Award was presented in 1991 and has since been awarded biennially.

For more information, contact Linda McGregor at (254) 710-2923 or visit www.baylor.edu/cherry_awards.

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