Mathematics is everywhere. Mathematics is for everyone. One of the best predictors of success is numeracy coupled with confidence. We are building a department that facilitates even access to the opportunities that come with a higher education, and we are doing it through mathematics education.
Currently, UTSA is undergoing a profound and positive transformation. The most evident change is the expected designation as an R1 institution by 2021. The growth the university is experiencing in all aspects (number of students and faculty, financials, endowment, research, academic quality, etc.) supports the idea that The University of Texas at San Antonio is the university of the future. The Department of Mathematics is at the center of it.
UTSA is unique in its diversity and how it reflects the society it serves. This is what attracted me to UTSA. My professional mission is to have the face of success match the face of the nation, and San Antonio is the place to do it. Access to and achievement in STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) is not evenly distributed among all members of the US society. The US National Science Foundation keeps reliable annual statistics in this subject (available here). UTSA will provide a template to the nation for closing achievement gaps.
Mathematics is the alphabet that builds the vocabulary for all sciences. Therefore, improvements in this area will have an impact in all STEM education at UTSA. I recognize this opportunity, thus my instructional leadership is geared toward excellence in teaching using innovative pedagogical approaches such as adaptive learning, course coordination, student data analytics, personalized interventions for students at risk, and machine learning to optimize the use of instructional resources.
We will leave no students behind. Our society pays a tragic human cost when students drop out from UTSA and never finish a degree, or end up in different destination majors that do not match their passion and greatest contribution potential. In many cases, mathematics is the greatest obstacle. Our mathematics community is strategically transforming the Department of Mathematics so that all our students succeed.
I am passionate about mathematics in general, and specifically about mathermatical biology in my own research. I envision research in quantitative biology as a constant exchange of ideas between experts in quantitative fields (i.e. computer science, engineering, mathematics, physics, statistics) and experts in biological sciences. This conversation enriches biology with the insight provided by quantitiative methods, and it enriches quantitiative fields with the demands of complex problems originated in biology. Joel Cohen put it succinctly and brilliantly: “mathematics is biology’s next microscope, only better; biology is mathematics’ next physics, only better“.