History of The Department
The history of the Mathematics program parallels that of the institution. In 1894, when Joseph Collins became the first mathematics professor, the normal school’s only mission was to educate and train future teachers. When the teacher's college hired Matthew Liu, the oldest emeritus member of our department, in 1961, the mathematics faculty grew to five members. Today the unit has about 25 faculty members.
Much credit for this amazing growth begins with Kenneth Boylan, who chaired the department through the unprecedented hiring activity of the 1960’s. As a unit within a comprehensive university, the mathematics program provided mathematics instruction to students from a variety of programs. Meeting this additional responsibility while maintaining the existing teacher preparation program required a greater number of faculty with broader mathematical expertise. Continuing under Charles Johnson, the mathematics program expanded the career options of mathematics majors by providing instruction in mathematics related to actuarial science. This modest beginning culminated in the Mathematics with Actuarial Emphasis degree being added to our program offerings in 1992. It was also during this time period that the unit began offering courses, and eventually a minor, in Computer Science. This evolved into the major of the current Computer Information Systems program, reviewed in a separate report, that coexists with the Mathematics program in the Department of Mathematics and Computing. The Mathematics program became Department of Mathematical Sciences in 2007.
Under Howard Thoyre’s direction the mathematics program expanded its service to the secondary schools of Northcentral Wisconsin. The first Central Wisconsin Math League competition, held in 1970, included approximately 240 students from 20 schools. This has grown to approximately 600 students from 50 schools.
The Mathematics program currently offers three majors. The Mathematics Major, the Mathematics Major with Actuarial Emphasis, and the Mathematics Major for Teacher Certification all require the calculus sequence (Math 120, 121, 222) and linear algebra (Math 213) as a core of courses. The only admission requirements enforced are those for entrance into the Professional Education Program, necessary for the Mathematics Major for Teacher Certification. To have a major in mathematics approved for graduation, a student must have a minimum grade point average of 2.00 (2.75 to student teach) in the mathematics courses they select to satisfy the requirements of the major. In addition, a grade of C or better must be achieved in at least 15 of the credits in required courses numbered 300 or above. The Mathematics program currently offers four minors. The Mathematics Minor and the Applied Mathematics Minor include the same core of courses as the major, however the Applied Mathematics Minor specifies which 300-level courses must be taken. The Mathematics Minor for Teacher Certification has similar core courses and the same requirements for student teaching as the major. The Mathematics Minor for Elementary Education Majors requires extensive training in Mathematics Education methods as well as some additional Mathematics content.