Document Type



Mathematics (Pomona)

Publication Date



education, teaching, mathematics


Mathematics faculty are trained as mathematicians, first and foremost. If we did not experience the soul-expanding possibilities of liberal education during our own undergraduate years, we may hesitate to bridge disciplinary divides when pursuing our core human need to inquire and understand. Although most mathematicians I know are amazing teachers, communicators, and mentors, many still teach the same material that their professors and their professors’ professors taught. This time-tested approach can be powerful, fascinating, and even quite entertaining. But it can also seem far removed from the world we inhabit. Yes, we teach “real world applications” of mathematical concepts. Yet our students rarely feel the need to take math outside of the classroom, live with it, and incorporate it into their understanding of life.

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