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Mission of the Department of Mathematics

The mission of the Department of Mathematics is the creation, discovery, and dissemination of mathematics on a broad front.

To accomplish this mission we must be involved in many activities including mathematical research, teaching a complete spectrum of mathematics courses, and performing service for the state, the nation, and our colleagues in the mathematics profession.

Teaching We must be effective advocates for quality instruction by mathematically qualified people. Teaching for this department involves diverse activities with diverse clientele. To meet its teaching mission the Department is committed to the following:

  • Offering a broad program in pure and applied mathematics for undergraduate majors that provides a rigorous and comprehensive foundation for a wide variety of professions.
  • Directing a graduate program for master’s and doctoral students that provides students with a deep, broad knowledge of mathematics sufficient to prepare them for leading roles as educators, researchers, or industrial mathematicians at the state, national, and international levels.
  • Providing mathematical instruction to meet the needs of students in other programs on campus.

Service to the Public

As the Mathematics Department at the flagship campus, we are in a unique position to exercise leadership in the education of students throughout the state of Tennessee and to act as a resource for students and teachers in the schools, community colleges, and other four year institutions as well as for government and industry. To serve the public the Department is committed to the following:

  • Providing leaders in mathematical education, especially at the post-secondary level.
  • Providing educational leadership for elementary and secondary education in the state of Tennessee through seminars, workshops, networking, and upholding the highest standards.

Service to the University

The Mathematics Department should act as a source of mathematical perspective for the University of Tennessee on all curriculum and research issues. To serve the university the Department is committed to the following:

  • Furnishing faculty for membership on the various College and University committees.
  • Promoting the position of Mathematics in the curriculum, reasonable teaching evaluation procedures, and research.

Service to the Profession

As a collection of researchers and scholars, we must make our voice heard on all educational and research issues that are discussed in the various national mathematical organizations and facilitate the health and vigor of the discipline. To serve the profession the Department is committed to the following:

  • Encouraging faculty to act as editors and referees for national and international mathematics journals and as reviewers of journal articles and books in mathematics.
  • Encouraging faculty to serve on committees and as officers of the national mathematics organizations.
  • Participating on as broad a front and in as vigorous a way as is possible in the national debates on curriculum reform and research issues.
  • Promoting the uses of mathematics and encourage interested students, especially women, minorities, and disabled persons, to pursue careers in mathematics.

Mathematical Research

The Mathematics Department is dedicated to the worldwide effort to expand the corpus of mathematical knowledge by research in the core areas represented in the department and applications to a variety of physical, ecological, educational/instructional, and industrial problems. To further mathematical research the Department is committed to the following:

  • Recruiting faculty with well-defined research programs who demonstrate either a promise or a record of quality results.
  • Providing the faculty with the time, freedom, resources, and support staff needed to do research.
  • Sponsoring meetings, conferences, and workshops in mathematics designed to facilitate the cross-fertilization of ideas.
  • Encouraging mathematicians from around the world to visit the University of Tennessee to interact with our faculty and students.

Typical Activities

The mathematics department engages in a great variety of activities in pursuit of its mission. Among these activities are the following:


  • Decide on an appropriate curriculum and course offerings for the needs and interests of the students.
  • Schedule and staff appropriate classes (or other activities) to help students acquire the mathematics they need.
  • Advise students and help them select courses appropriate for their needs and future careers.
  • Encourage students to be involved in research/cooperative learning programs and prepare them to be able to communicate mathematics to others in oral and written presentations and to use the computer as a work tool.
  • Evaluate students performance in mathematics and certify their accomplishments.
  • Maintain a regular program for improving teaching expertise and informing faculty about new research in mathematics education.
  • Keep current on what mathematics is appropriate in each course, how best to present it, and what appropriate technology should be incorporated as part of the instruction.
  • Promote the uses of mathematics and encourage interested students, especially women, minorities, and disabled persons, to pursue careers in mathematics.
  • Keep current on the national and academic economy and prepare the students accordingly.

Service to the Public

  • Provide support and professional contacts with mathematics teachers at all levels (K-College)
  • Participate in school visits, public lectures, conferences, and other activities even if they are not strictly mathematical.
  • Provide a source of reliable public information to respond to public interests and enhance public support for mathematics and the teaching and learning of mathematics.
  • Support the work of national mathematics organizations and government agencies.
  • Encourage students to view mathematics positively through classroom visits and workshops.
  • Inform the public about news in mathematics.

Service to the University

  • Support the activities of the college and campus and state system that contribute to the improvement of the general mission of the campus.
  • Consult with professors in other units of the university to assist them in their use of mathematics.

Service to the Profession

  • Support the activities of the local, state, and national professional organizations whose missions conform with that of the department.
  • Participate on as broad a front and in as vigorous a way as is possible in the national debates on curriculum reform and research issues.
  • Inform the public of the role mathematics plays as a gatekeeper for entrance to other professions.

Mathematical Research

  • Provide a supportive atmosphere in which scholars can exchange ideas, get inspiration, and sometimes get help with aspects of their research.
  • Provide a support staff to assist scholars with the publication of their work.
  • Mentor new faculty and give them opportunities to become as productive as possible.
  • In addition to supporting fundamental research in traditional pure and applied areas of mathematics, actively nurture research interactions, particularly with the natural sciences, computer science, statistics, engineering, and mathematics education, even to the extent of hiring faculty with appropriate credentials.
  • Seek adequate funding to support faculty travel and the purchase and maintenance of appropriate computer facilities.
  • Help faculty to obtain external funding whenever possible.