Calculus Instructor Honored for Integrated Approach
Masterís Student Says His Love for Mathematics Inspires Him to Tutor Others
May 27, 2009
A graduate student who strives to share his passion for mathematics with the calculus students he tutors has been recognized with a School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics Outstanding Teaching Award.
The award honors William Wettingfeld II, a master’s student in applied mathematics, for making a positive impact on student education.
Students, faculty and staff members nominate educators for the annual award. The award included a clock with a plaque and a check for $500.
“My role in the lab was to facilitate learning for the students without telling them what to do,” Wettingfeld said. “They would come in to either do homework or would have a specific subject or question in mind for the tutors. I guided them through solving the problem and breaking down the subject into much more manageable pieces.”
Wettingfeld assisted Dr. Bentley Garrett, a senior lecturer, as a supplemental instructor and teaching assistant for Calculus I.
“I got involved with teaching because I love mathematics and everything involved with it,” Wettingfeld said. “Not only that, but I enjoy helping people understand mathematics. It gives me a great sense of satisfaction when someone walks in devoid of understanding and then I’m able to see their face afterward—confident in their knowledge. This is what I find most rewarding.”
Wettingfeld found his research niche under the guidance of Dr. Viswanath Ramakrishna, professor of mathematical sciences. Ramakrishna’s course work encouraged Wettingfeld’s interest in matrix theory.
“I was, and continue to be, impressed by his desire to learn as much as he could of this rather vast topic,” Ramakrishna said. “In my opinion, when a person is keen on research, there is an immediate benefit to his/her didactic abilities, since success in research requires the ability to communicate clearly. I am very pleased that Mr. Wettingfeld has so amply vindicated our department's faith in him.”