Tag Archives: Mathematics

SBU mathematics professor presents at regional conference

Dr. Kevin Hopkins

Dr. Kevin Hopkins

Southwest Baptist University faculty member Dr. Kevin Hopkins, professor and chair of the department of mathematics, presented at the 25th annual Kansas City Regional Mathematics Technology Expo held at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Oct. 2-3.

Hopkins’ talk, “Precalculus Animations with GeoGebra,” highlighted GeoGebra, a free web-based software that does dynamic graphing, allowing for animations that illustrate topics in precalculus. He discussed animations and instructed listeners how to create animations, as well as demonstrated how to find materials in GeoGebraTube, a material sharing platform.

The Kansas City Regional Mathematics Technology Expo is a forum for mathematics instructors at both the college and secondary levels to demonstrate how they use technology successfully in their teaching, to learn about new mathematics technology, and to discuss the philosophy and future of technology in the mathematics classroom.

For more information, contact Hopkins at (417) 328-1675 or khopkins@SBUniv.edu.

SBU students attend undergraduate mathematics conference 

Five Southwest Baptist University students attended the 32nd consecutive Rose-Hulman Undergraduate Mathematics Conference, held April 24-25 at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Ind.

Sponsored by groups such as the Mathematical Association of America and the American Statistical Association, the conference features the work of undergraduate mathematicians and statisticians and is largely presented by undergraduate students. Students heard talks about various mathematics topics based on research the presenters had done as undergraduate students.

This year’s conference featured the theme “Statistics: From Big Data to Big Decisions” and hosted speakers from different professions such as Nick Lockwood, senior director of brand marketing analytics at Catalina Marketing, who discussed how to use shopper history data to assist in doing targeted marketing campaigns. Also featured was Amanda Cox, a graphics editor at the New York Times, who discussed lessons she’d learned about data visualization from working with news graphics.

SBU students in attendance included junior Andon Crisp, a chemistry and physics major and mathematics minor; junior Blaise Onyiaike, a computer science and mathematics major; junior Brady Kornrumpf, a computer science and mathematics major; freshman Brittany Porter, a mathematics major and philosophy minor; and junior Spencer Smith, a computer science and mathematics major. The students were accompanied by Dr. Stephen Bowling, professor of mathematics.

SBU professor presents at Missouri Section of the Mathematics Association of America

Dr. Kevin Hopkins, professor and chair of the department of mathematics at Southwest Baptist University, presented at the spring 2015 meeting of the Missouri Section of the Mathematics Association of America (MAA), the largest professional society focusing on mathematics accessible at the undergraduate level. The meeting was held March 27-28 in Rolla, Mo., at Missouri University of Science and Technology.

Dr. Kevin Hopkins, professor and chair of the department of mathematics at Southwest Baptist University

Dr. Kevin Hopkins, professor and chair of the department of mathematics at Southwest Baptist University

Hopkins’ presentation, “Calculus Animations with GeoGebra,” focused on GeoGebra, a free, web-based software that does dynamic geometry and graphing. The dynamic feature of the software allows for animations that can illustrate a variety of topics in Calculus, enabling students to make better sense of problems. Hopkins demonstrated some of the animations that he has utilized in a range of courses, from Calculus I through Advanced Calculus, as well as provided suggestions for locating similar animations prepared by other educators.

For more information about the presentation and the SBU Department of Mathematics, please contact Hopkins at (417) 328-1675 or khopkins@SBUniv.edu.

SBU students present at MAKO Undergraduate Math Research Conference

Three Southwest Baptist University students presented at the 10th annual MAKO Undergraduate Math Research Conference held Saturday, Nov. 8, at Missouri State University in Springfield. The conference featured presentations made by students from Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas and Oklahoma regarding undergraduate mathematics research they had accomplished. The conference was co-hosted by area universities including Missouri State University, Southwest Baptist University, College of the Ozarks, Drury University and Evangel University. The conference was funded by an NSF grand through the MAA Regional Undergraduate Mathematics Conferences Program.

Abraham Pascoe, a junior mathematics major from Branson, Mo., presented “Fun with Bases: All about that Base,” which discussed multiplication and division in different bases and included information about why multiplication and division can be easy for computers to do in base 2.

Jacob Jones, a senior mathematics and mathematics education major from Bolivar, Mo., gave a talk titled “Fun with Bases Part II – Getting to the Root of the Problem.” Jones focused his discussion on different methods for finding or approximating the square root of a number in base 10 and base 2, and discussed and compared their efficiencies.

David Gillie, a junior computer science and mathematics major from Fenton, Mo., also presented at the conference with a talk entitled, “The Power of Roots.” Gillie discussed one method for approximating square roots known as the Babylonian Method. He also discussed possible extensions of this method or other methods for finding square roots to the finding of other roots or powers.

Andon Crisp, a junior chemistry major from Mountain Grove, Mo., and Brady Kornrumpf, a junior computer science and mathematics major from Jefferson City, Mo., also attended the conference.

Dr. Stephen Bowling, professor of mathematics, supervised these students’ research in preparation for the conference and attended the conference with the students.

For more information about the SBU department of mathematics, please contact Dr. Kevin Hopkins, department chair, at (417) 328-1675 or khopkins@SBUniv.edu.

Two SBU professors present at MCTM annual conference

Two Southwest Baptist University mathematics professors presented at the Missouri Council of Teachers of Mathematics (MCTM) annual conference held in Columbia, Mo., Dec. 5-6.

Dr. Kevin Hopkins, professor and chair of the department of mathematics, presented a session on GeoGebra, a free, web-based software that does dynamic geometry and graphing. His session focused on a discussion about how to find and modify activities on GeoGebraTube, intermediate instruction on GeoGebra, and the sharing of ideas on how to use GeoGebra’s dynamic illustrations and activities in the classroom.

Hopkins also gave an additional presentation titled, “Learning from Mistakes on the MCTM Middle School Math Contest.”

Dr. Robert Glasgow, professor of mathematics, also presented at the conference. His session was the conclusion of a professional development program for teachers of grades K-12, which was funded by MCTM and supported by the Missouri Association of School Administrators. Two-day workshops were conducted in five sites across the state during the summer with this concluding session at the MCTM conference. The goal of the session was to help teachers learn new ways to teach the mathematical content of the common core standards for their particular grade bands. Glasgow specifically focused on proportional reasoning and worked with teachers of sixth, seventh and eighth grades.

Glasgow also assisted with presenting probability material in two pre-service teacher sessions held at the conference.

For more information about the SBU Department of Mathematics, please contact Hopkins at (417) 328-1675 or khopkins@SBUniv.edu.

SBU student is PBL national champion in cyber security; three other students claim top-10 national spots

Five students from Southwest Baptist University competed in the 2014 Phi Beta Lambda (PBL) National Collegiate Conference in Nashville, Tenn. Justin Stout, a senior computer science and mathematics major from Gardner, Kan., was named the 2014 national champion in cyber security. Stout is SBU’s fifth PBL national champion since 2005.

(from l to r) Justin Stout, Bobby Sterling, Jarrett Munton, and Steven Harris competed in the 2014 PBL National Conference. Stout became SBU’s fifth national champion since 2005.

(from l to r) Justin Stout, Bobby Sterling, Jarrett Munton, and Steven Harris competed in the 2014 PBL National Conference. Stout became SBU’s fifth national champion since 2005.

Bobby Sterling, junior computer information science major from Buffalo, Mo., placed third nationally in information management. Maura Sturgess, sophomore accounting and information assurance major from Chillicothe, Mo., claimed third place in parliamentary procedures. Jarrett Munton, junior computer science major from O’Fallon, Ill., finished in seventh place in statistical analysis. Steven Harris, junior computer science and mathematics major from Bolivar, Mo., also competed at the national competition.

The team was coached by Meilani Conley, instructor of computer and information science.

“The students did an excellent job of representing SBU at the national level,” Conley said. “There were students from all over the nation and from every size of school. It was incredible hearing our name called from a national stage. I feel very blessed to work with these students.”

More than 1,800 students from across the country attended the event. Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda, Inc. is a nonprofit education association with the mission to bring business and education together in a positive working relationship through innovative leadership and career development programs.

For more information, please contact Conley at (417) 328-1759 or mconley@SBUniv.edu, or contact Dr. Tim DeClue, chair of the department of computer and information sciences, at (417) 328-1704 or tdeclue@SBUniv.edu.

SBU CIS achieves 100-percent job placement

All students in the Southwest Baptist University Department of Computer and Information Sciences’ 2014 graduating class have accepted offers of employment from leading software companies less than a week after graduation ceremonies.

Students and their employers are: Luke Abbott and David Haugh, computer science/math majors, Accenture in Bolivar; Nathan Hawkins and Josh Tiffany, computer science majors, Cerner Corp. in Kansas City; Jason Jakusz, computer science and math major, and Amber King, computer information science major, O’Reilly Automotive headquarters in Springfield; Nathan Toombs, computer information science major, Jack Henry & Associates in Springfield; and Jason Williams, computer information science major, ANPAC in Springfield.

“The economy has been sluggish for several years,” said Dr. Tim DeClue, CIS Department Chair, “but our graduates are having no difficulty finding great positions with leading software and information technology companies. It is truly one of my greatest joys seeing our students utilize their God-given talents to land a great first job.”

Students graduating from SBU’s CIS department regularly record starting salaries in the $46,000-65,000 range depending on company, position accepted and geographic location.

SBU’s Department of Computer and Information Sciences houses five full-time faculty members, two faculty associates and more than 100 students majoring in computer science, information science or web systems and design. SBU’s CIS Department is home to the only accredited computer science degree program at an Evangelical Christian school within 400 miles of Springfield, Mo., and SBU is one of the leading producers of software engineers in the United States among Evangelical Christian institutions. For more information about SBU CIS, contact DeClue at (417) 328-1704 or tdeclue@SBUniv.edu.

Creating math champions: Dr. Bev Harris spent decades preparing math educators

From the 1978 SBU Mozarkian yearbook: Dr. Bev Harris, right, is pictured with John Bryant, left, and John Smashey, center, all faculty members in SBU Department of Mathematics. Bryant and Smashey were Harris’ students at SBU before returning to SBU to teach. The trio taught together for 23 years before Harris retired in 1989.

During nearly four decades in the college classroom, Dr. Bev Harris championed the cause of educating math educators in Missouri, leaving behind a legacy that continues through his students, who are teaching at high schools and universities across the country, preparing future generations of math educators.
“At one time, before the state colleges really got with it as far as math education is concerned, I was the leading math educator in the state of Missouri,” he said. “I was putting more students in high schools to teach mathematics and more students in graduate schools to pursue graduate school mathematics than any college in the state.
“The thing I’m most proud of from having taught at SBU, at least from an academic standpoint, is that over 50 of my former students have at least a master’s degree in pure mathematics. That’s better than one a year. I taught 37 years at Southwest.”
Harris encouraged and inspired his students to study pure mathematics and to be educators.
“I remember when I first went into his office my freshman year,” said Dr. Bob Glasgow, professor of mathematics at SBU, who was one of Harris’ students and joined the mathematics faculty in 1989. “I had just made my decision to be a math teacher and was still very unsure of myself. By the time I left Bev’s office, I had a four-year plan and was starting to think about graduate school after graduation. That’s the way Bev advised. He was encouraging while giving you strong nudges to do more than you thought you were capable of doing.”
Even students who weren’t math majors remember his caring and helpful demeanor.
“He was very interested in the students,” said Elizabeth Pace ’59, one of his many students. “He is just generally interested in people and was always helpful.”
As an SWBC graduate, he was very familiar with the college when he was offered a job. Attending Southwest Baptist College after graduating from high school was not optional for Harris, whose family moved to Bolivar in January 1943, during the middle of World War II, because his mother wanted all of her children to attend SWBC. Harris said the family left behind a nice farm in the Kansas City area of Jackson County, Mo., to move to Bolivar so he and his siblings could live at home while attending SWBC.
He started college during the summer of 1945 but was then drafted into the U.S. Army in January 1946. He served as a Regimental Control Sergeant in the Transportation Corps for one year, being discharged according to the newly enacted college clause that limited service to one year for anyone who was drafted out of college. He returned to SWBC for the spring and summer semesters of 1947, graduating that year with an associate of arts degree. He completed a bachelor of science in education with a major in math and a minor in biology from Southwest Missouri State University in 1949.
Harris taught math and science at Humansville High School in northwestern Polk County for two years before joining the SWBC faculty in 1952 while working on his master’s degree in mathematics, which he finished in 1953 at the University of Missouri. While he was teaching at Humansville, Dr. John Dowdy, president of SWBC, told him that if he finished his master’s degree he would have a job at SWBC.
“I found out later that my junior college math professor, J.F. Hurst, had requested that I take his place,” Harris said. “I’ve never had to ask for a job in my life.”
While teaching at Humansville, he married Zodee, who was the first full-time secretary at Bolivar First Baptist Church. They had three children: Susan, Steven and Joy.
Harris completed his doctorate 10 years after completing his master’s degree, about the time SWBC was transitioning from a junior to a senior college. At that time he was one of two professors to have a doctorate, the other being Dr. Jasper Clark, a biology professor. When SWBC became a senior college, Harris was promoted straight from instructor to professor. He later received the title of “Distinguished Professor.”
“I felt like the Lord called me to teach at SBU, just like he calls ministers,” Harris said. “I felt sure after Dr. Dowdy had invited me to teach that it was God’s will for me. When I first came to SBU, I told the Lord, ‘Send me students I can help.’ Notice I didn’t say send me good students; I said send me students I can help. It’s kind of like when King Solomon prayed and he said, ‘Lord, help me to have the wisdom to guide the Israelites’ and not only did he do that, but he gave him wealth besides. So the Lord, when I asked for students I can help, as a bonus he gave me outstanding students.”
Harris hired former students John Smashey and John Bryant to teach alongside him, and the trio taught math together at SBU for 23 years until Harris’ retirement in 1989. Smashey also has since retired, while Bryant is still on the math faculty and coaches men’s and women’s tennis, a job for which he was recommended by Harris.
“As the department chair, he arranged my class schedule in the mornings so I could work with tennis,” said Bryant, who took an algebra class with Harris in 1960 and returned to teach at SBU in 1966.
Harris hired his replacement, Dr. Kevin Hopkins, who filled the department of mathematics chair position. When Hopkins sent an inquiry letter in 1987 about any possible openings, expressing an interest in teaching at a small, Christian university, Harris decided it might be time to look at early retirement. Hopkins’ resumé was impressive, and his references were solid. But there was one line in that letter that really caught Harris’ attention: “I know a big school could pay me more money, but money isn’t everything.”
“I thought, ‘BINGO!” Harris recalls. “I thought the Lord was trying to tell me something. I felt we would never have another opportunity to have a Ph.D. at the head of the department, especially from one of the top math universities in the country. I checked on his credentials, and all the teachers that I talked to said he would be an outstanding candidate not only for our university, but for any university in the U.S. because he is a top student in his class and is very much respected.”
For Harris, early retirement meant an opportunity to do more of the Lord’s work, which he already had done for many years through involvement at Southern Hills Baptist Church and First Baptist Church.
“I prayed, ‘Lord, give me something worthwhile to do,’” he said. “So he gave me Polk County Christian Social Ministries with Share Your Christmas. I was one of the leaders for 25 years.”
PCCSM was a young ministry, having just started in 1985. Bev served as treasurer for more than 20 years and organized the Share Your Christmas project that now assists more than 600 families annually with donations of food, toys and other items at Christmas.
“I enjoy helping people,” Harris told the Bolivar Herald-Free Press in 2009. “It makes tears come to your eyes sometimes when you see a needy family and you’d like to help them but there’s just no way in the world to help them. I take that work very seriously.”
Also in his retirement, Bev became an avid tennis player, ranking second in the state of Missouri in the 65-year-old age bracket. He was the center on SWBC’s basketball team in the fall of 1947, and he was a scorekeeper at SBU men’s basketball games for 34 years. Even now, when he is not able to be as active, he enjoys watching sports on TV. One of his favorite SBU memories is when he saw the men’s tennis team win a national championship in Kansas City.
“Bev was devoted to his students, to the Bolivar community and mostly, to serving our Lord,” Bryant said. “He created math champions for years.”

Scholarship fund to honor Dr. Bev Harris’ legacy

In recognition of Dr. Bev Harris’ contributions to mathematics education during his 37-year tenure as department chair and faculty member in SBU’s Department of Mathematics, the Dr. Bev Harris Mathematics Education Scholarship Fund has been established.
Only two people have served as chairman of SBU’s Department of Mathematics during the past 62 years. Harris served from 1952-1989, when he hired Dr. Kevin Hopkins to teach and assume the department chair position, allowing Harris to take early retirement. Hopkins is still in that position and, 25 years later, has led efforts to establish the scholarship fund in recognition of Harris’ legacy at SBU and in the Bolivar community.
“When I came to SBU, I didn’t have any experience to have ideas about how to properly honor Dr. Harris’ years of service,” Hopkins said. “My mother passed away in September 2013, and I have thought much more about legacy (her legacy and the legacy of others) during the past few months since her passing. Now, even though it is 25 years after his retirement, seems an appropriate time to establish a scholarship fund that would honor and continue to recognize Dr. Harris’ legacy of service to the math department and to the Bolivar community, which he continued to serve faithfully in his retirement until health issues prevented him from continuing that service.”
Scholarships will be awarded with priority given to junior or senior level math education majors.
Through the years, many scholarship funds have been established in honor or in memory of SBU professors. Donations can be made to any of these funds through a check mailed to SBU, Att: University Relations, 1600 University Ave., Bolivar MO 65613, or online at www.SBUniv.edu/give and click on “Give online.” To find out which professors have been honored with scholarship funds, search the list of funds in the “Give online” section of the website or call (417) 328-1804.

SBU software development team records fourth place national finish

Luke Abbott

Luke Abbott

A team of two Southwest Baptist University seniors competed in the Association for Information Technology Professionals (AITP) National Collegiate Conference April 12 in Atlanta, Ga. Luke Abbott, senior, from Roach, Mo., and Jason Jakusz, senior, from Theodosia, Mo., are both computer science and mathematics majors. Abbott and Jakusz competed in the Java Development Competition sponsored by USAA. They won fourth place out of 32 teams from across the nation, finishing behind two teams from Brigham Young University and a team from Purdue University.

Jason Jakusz

Jason Jakusz

“I am very proud of our team,” said Dr. Tim DeClue, chair of the SBU Department of Computer Information Science. “It is always exciting for me to see our students battling it out with some of the largest and most well-known schools in the nation. Their performance attests to the caliber of SBU’s program. The team’s finish is a credit to their hard work, their God-given abilities and the education they have received in the SBU CIS department over the past four years.”

AITP is the leading worldwide society of information technology business professionals and the community of knowledge for the current and next generation of leaders. The AITP National Collegiate Conference is the largest event sponsored by AITP.

For more information, contact DeClue at (417) 328-1704 or tdeclue@SBUniv.edu.

SBU mathematics professor presents at national conference

Dr. Bob Glasgow, professor of mathematics, presented at the annual meeting of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics conference on April 10 in New Orleans, La. Glasgow’s session was entitled, “Doctorates in Mathematics Education: Jobs Available in Higher Education Institutions.”

Glasgow presented alongside Dr. Robert Reys of the University of Missouri-Columbia and Dr. Christa Jackson of the University of Kentucky. The three professors discussed the shortage of doctorates in mathematics education and reported results over a decade of data collection and research on job opportunities in institutions of higher education. The presentation explored suggestions about choosing a doctoral program and discussed the challenges of K-12 classroom teachers becoming graduate students and transitioning into a career in higher education.

According to Glasgow, the annual meeting of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics is the largest gathering of mathematics teachers in the nation. The conference is usually attended by 5,000-10,000 math teachers from the elementary, middle, high school and college levels.

“Being able to attend this conference helps me stay in touch with my field and being able to present allows me to represent SBU to math teachers across the country,” Glasgow said.

For more information, please contact Glasgow at (417) 328-1597 or bglasgow@SBUniv.edu.