Drs. Brazas and Miller won MAA Distinguished Teaching Awards
The Department of Mathematics and Statistics made a truly distinguished appearance at the MAA Southeastern Section’s 96th Annual Meeting that was held on March 10-11, 2017, on the beautiful campus of Macon University, Macon, GA.
During the Friday afternoon plenary session of the meeting, the MAA Southeastern Section announced the recipients of its three annual awards: Distinguished Teaching Award, Distinguished Teaching Award by a Beginning Faculty, and Distinguished Service Award. And both teaching awards went to our GSU colleagues – Dr. Jeremy Brazas (beginning) and Dr. Valerie Miller.
The highly prestigious MAA Distinguished Teaching Award was instituted in 1991 and has been awarded since 1992; the Distinguished Teaching Award for Beginning Faculty was additionally established in 2009. These awards are granted annually both at the sectional and national level. For each award, each of the MAA’s sections selects a recipient of the Section Award, to be honored by the Section at its annual spring meeting; the awardees then become the official Section candidates for the national awards.
The call for nomination for both awards explicitly mentions that MAA seeks nominees whose teaching has been extraordinarily successful, who can demonstrate unusual achievements in teaching, and whose influence extends beyond the nominee’s own classroom.
The award citation for Dr. Jeremy Brazas, in particular, quoted his tremendous contributions to enrichment and enhancement of mathematics curriculum, his ability to make students feel confident about their ability to learn the material, and his commitment to the job and to the success of his students. One student was quoted as saying about their experience of being in Dr. Brazas’s class that “The euphoria I felt that day has had a lasting impression on me; it motivated me to continue to succeed in and out of my studies.”
The award citation for Dr. Valerie Miller quoted the universal praise she receives both from her colleagues and her students regarding not only her teaching, but also her service and her helping in improving student success. Students praise Dr. Miller for holding very high standards in her classes and helping her students achieve them. A former student who went on to graduate studies in mathematics, has done a considerable amount of teaching since then, and has won graduate teaching awards of her own, said that “I should point out that these awards that I won have a great deal of reflection on Dr. Miller, who influenced me to be the teacher I am.”
This year is the first time in the history of the MAA Southeastern Section that both awards landed in the same school. Now both our sectional winners automatically became candidates for the respective nationwide MAA awards. Our congratulation to Dr. Jeremy Brazas and Dr. Valerie Miller for their extraordinary and well-deserved recognition!
— Reported by Dr. Mark Grinshpon