Fall 2015 Newsletter

Faculty Scholarship and Professional Development

In January 2015, the TLU Math Department – Dr. Reza Abbasian, Dr. Will Hager, Dr. Betseygail Rand, Dr. John Sieben, Cathy Beicker and Rebecca Clark – attended the Joint Mathematics Meetings (JMM) in San Sieben_and_AbbasianAntonio, Texas.  Abbasian and Sieben did a presentation entitled “Statistical Analysis of Track and Field Events of 1988 Seoul Olympics: How Probable Are the Winning Records?” based on research done in collaboration with TLU student Melissa Johnson.  Hager presented “Teaching an Inquiry-Based Elementary Linear Algebra Course at a Small Liberal Arts University.”

Sieben_and_Abbasian_speakersIn March 2015 at the annual meeting of Texas Academy of Science (TAS), San Antonio, Texas, Sieben presented “What Happened in Seoul Didn’t Stay in Seoul: The 1988 Olympics.”  Also in March, at the International Conference on Technology in Collegiate Mathematics (ICTCM) in Las Vegas, Nevada, Abbasian and Sieben taught a minicourse entitled, “Creating Instructional Math Videos Using iPads.”  They also presented “Best Practices in Designing an Inverted Classroom:  Videos, Class Projects and Assessments.”

Also in March, TLU Mathematics major Melissa Johnson presented results from Melissa_Johnson_studentresearch done in collaboration with Abbasian, “Seoul Olympics: Hard Work or Doping,” at the 2015 Alpha Chi National Convention in Chicago, Illinois.  Johnson won the best paper award and a graduate studies scholarship.  Johnson was accepted to Baylor University on full scholarship to work on her PhD in Statistics and started fall 2015.

In April, the annual meeting for the Texas Section MAA, celebrating MAA’s 100th anniversary, was held in San Antonio, Texas.  The entire TLU math department attended this meeting.  Rand presented “A Framework for Teaching Alternating Series in Calculus II.”  Abbasian and Sieben presented “Current State of Statistics Instruction: Role of Technology.”

In July, Sieben was invited to spend a week at Carroll College in Helena, Montana, where a group of nine faculty members from across the USA and one from India worked on models using differential equations. This work was supported by Systemic Initiative for Modeling Investigations & Opportunities with Differential Equations (SIMIODE), an organization that promotes the study of differential equations through simulation.  At this event, Sieben was also invited to do a presentation on his video work.

In August 2014, Abbasian and Sieben attended the annual summer meeting of MAA, Mathfest, in Portland, Oregon.  They presented a talk entitled “A Day in the Life of an Inverted Classroom.”

In September, a team made up of Hager, Clark, and Beicker, along with public school Student_Beicker_and_Clarkeducators and administrators, Dr. Don Hastings, Stacy Johnson, and Heidi Brittain, kicked off the start of the South Central Texas Math Teachers Circle, SCTMTC.  The circle is made up of Seguin ISD middle school math teachers and elementary teachers.  The group meets once a month and explores interesting and exciting problems.

In October at the Kansas City Regional Mathematics Technology Expo in Kansas City, Missouri, Sieben led a session entitled “Guidelines for Creation and Use of Instructional Videos as a Component of the Flipped Classroom.”

Sam_HijaziDr. Sam Hijazi attended the Association for Computer Educators in Texas (ACET) at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton, Texas, in October.  He gave two presentations, “Exploring VBA and other Features in Excel as Problem Solving Tools” and “Mini-Grant to Teach Classes Online.” He also led a roundtable discussion, “Introduction to Programming Language.”


In December, Hager attended a workshop in San Jose, California, sponsored by American Institute of Mathematics (AIM) and National Science Foundation (NSF), which focused on inquiry-based learning (IBL) in undergraduate real analysis.

In March 2016, Abbasian and Sieben will be presenting at ICTCM 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia, and will be included in the new virtual track.  Their talk will be streamed over the internet and will be available to view for six months after the event.


Dr_RandAn article by Abbasian and Sieben, “Creating Math Videos: Comparing Platforms and Software”, was accepted in July 2015 for publication in the Journal of PRIMUS.  Rand co-authored with Dr. Sharon Strickland, Assistant Professor at Texas State University, a chapter called “Learning Proofs via Composition Instruction Techniques”, to be published in 2016 in the MAA book, Beyond Lecture: Techniques to Improve Student Proof-Writing Across the Curriculum.



Hager received the Hugo and Georgia Gibson Endowed Professorship.  Hager also received the Faculty Member of the Year Award by the TLU Student Government Association.


Seminar Dinner 2014