Written by Sarah Richards, Oracle Student Newspaper Staff Writer, April 2012
One of Henderson’s professors, David Gardner, was awarded the Distinguished College or University Teacher of Mathematics Award.
The 74th annual meeting was held March 29-31 at Henderson by the Mathematical Association of America (MAA). Each year one person from either Oklahoma or Arkansas is awarded the mathematics award. The ceremony was held on March 30.
“It was a shock to me, obviously an honor,” David Gardner, associate professor of mathematics, said. “I feel like someone else deserved it more than I.”
The entire math department at Henderson knew about Gardner winning the award, but they kept the secret from him for over a month. Luckily, Gardner was immersed in preparing for a faculty workshop designed for the MAA meeting at the time. During the ceremony, Gardner’s daughter and grandkids slipped into the banquet room in order to surprise him.
“David’s influence on students and other teachers of mathematics has been and continues to be immeasurable,” Carolyn Eoff, chair of mathematics and computer science, said in a nomination letter.
Gardner will retire from Henderson at the end of the semester, after four decades of teaching. His career began in 1968 at Wynne Junior High school. While at Wynne, Gardner received his MSE in 1971 from Arkansas State University. He started his teaching career at Henderson in January of 1983, a cumulative career of over four decades.
“I’m a little apprehensive about the retirement, but mostly excited,” Gardner said.
Gardner has been a well involved professor while teaching at Henderson. In 1992, he was able to work with the faculty-athletic services. For him, it was a privilege to have the opportunity to work with student athletes and to help determine their eligibility as well as working with the coaching staff.
Along with the athletic department, Gardner also created mathematics workshops for teachers in order to improve their skills in teaching, as well as improving their mathematical knowledge.
“The most fun I had was in the classroom,” Gardner said. “For me, teaching is fun and learning is fun. The math requirement opens many doors, and it’s a rewarding career. It’s a good feeling when students have that Aha! moment.”
Gardner was also nominated by the section selection committee for the Haimo Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching. Eoff is waiting to hear back on a decision regarding his nomination. More information about the Haimo Award can be found athttp://www.maa.org/Awards/haimo.html.
After his retirement, Gardner plans on traveling and spending time with his grandkids, doing grandpa things. Henderson has been a major part of his life, as well as his family‘s.
“The Lord has blessed me to be a part of the Henderson community and being a part of the school with a heart,” said Gardner. “I’ve been touched by the love I’ve seen at Henderson.”
Criteria for the Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics Award
- Be College or University teachers who teach mathematical science courses at least half time during the academic year in either the United States or Canada. Those on approved leave (sabbatical or other) during the academic year in which they are nominated qualify if they fulfilled the requirements in the previous year.
- Have more than seven years of experience in teaching mathematical sciences.
- Hold membership in the Mathematical Association of America.
- Be widely recognized as extraordinarily successful in their teaching
- Have teaching effectiveness that can be documented
- Have had an influence in their teaching beyond their own institution
- Foster curiosity and generate excitement about mathematics in their students.