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Department of Mathematics Graduate Assessment
Last updated 2/18/2003

Activity in 2001-02

Graduate Recruitment

The University Fellowship funds have enabled us to offer $1000 "recruiting" fellowships, and thus have helped us recruit some of the strongest applicants to our graduate program.

In recent years we have used some Graduate Committee funds to help pay the travel costs to allow strong prospective students to visit the campus. They typically stay with current graduate students, who talk to them about the program and show them Boulder. This has proved to be an extremely effective recruiting strategy, improving the overall quality of our graduate population.

We are currently making significant improvements to our web pages describing our graduate program and the opportunities & training available to our graduate students. We expect this to help attract stronger applicants, and to strengthen our programís reputation, helping to place our students better once they complete the program. Also, beginning this year, we are involving our current graduate students in our recruiting efforts: when we sponsor them to give talks to undergraduates at other institutions, we ask them to spend some time talking to the undergraduates about our graduate program. We expect this to be very effective in attracting more strong students to our program.

We hope that the new policy on out-of-state tuition waivers will enhance our ability to recruit strong foreign students. We have introduced an MS in Applied Math that is attractive to a broad range of students. We will contact mathematicians at colleges having substantial minority enrollments, in order to encourage applications. The Age\EP program will help attract them to our program.

Graduate Admissions

Our applicant pool is from a wide variety of institutions; including many large public universities as well as many small liberal arts colleges. These include: Boston University, UC Berkeley, Northwestern, Mesa, Haverford and Harvey Mudd.

Our entrance requirements are 30 hrs of undergraduate mathematics including a year of Advanced Calculus and a semester of Abstract Algebra or Differential Equations as well as their GRE exams.

This yearís applicants included 18 women, an occasional Hispanic and a few Asian students.

Most of our graduate students have undergraduate degrees from large state universities. About a third of them come to us immediately after graduation and the rest have had a few years of experience in secondary education or industry. Every year a few transfer from other graduate programs.

Career Placement

About 50% of our Ph.D. students work in the local government labs for a least a semester before graduation. Some much smaller fraction of our Masters Students also works in the local government labs and small software companies. After graduation about half of PhDís get jobs in industry, and most of the rest go to work for small liberal arts colleges. About 3% our Ph.D.ís are unemployed immediately after graduation. About one quarter of the Masters students who do not continue on for a Ph.D. go to the secondary schools, a few teach for us, and the rest go into industry. The Mathematics Department has good contacts with NCAR, where many of our students work both before and after graduation.

New Graduate Academic Initiatives

This term some of our graduate students are preparing talks to be presented to Colorado high schools and middle schools with diverse populations of students. The Diversity Committee will provide any help desired in shaping these talks, help arrange these talks with the host schools, and pay the graduate studentsí expenses as well as a small honorarium. While several faculty are interested in giving such talks, we are encouraging & supporting graduate students to give such talks since (1) this is an excellent opportunity for graduate students to develop their own outreach efforts with support from more experienced faculty, and (2) being at earlier stages in their journey into mathematics, our graduate students are bound to be more effective than our faculty in enticing students to consider pursuing their education in mathematics.

This term the Graduate Committee has begun to sponsor our graduate students to give talks for undergraduates at other institutions. The graduate students first give graduate level versions of their talks in the departmentís Slow Pitch Colloquium, a weekly forum for graduate students organized by graduate students, and in which most of the speakers are graduate students. Sometimes the graduate students will then present an undergraduate version of their Slow Pitch talk to the undergraduate Math Club, enriching the activities of the Math Club, enhancing interaction between the undergraduate math majors and the math graduate students, and allowing the graduate students to practice their talks for undergraduates in a relatively safe and supportive setting. Then the Graduate Committee will help arrange for the graduate students to give their talks at other colleges and universities, both inside and outside the state of Colorado. In addition, the Graduate Committee will help pay the expenses the graduate students incur to give these talks. Currently we have arranged for two graduate students, Christine Jerritts and Christopher Seaton, to give undergraduate talks at the University of Wisconsin, Madison during the 2003 calendar year. We are in the process of arranging for various graduate students to give undergraduate talks at Colorado College, CU-Denver, and Fort Lewis College.

This year the department used the Thron Fellowship fund and University Fellowship funds to create five Summer Research fellowships for summer 2003. The five recipients of these awards are our five students in the throes of producing the results for their doctoral dissertations; we were able to award them ample funding for their living costs, and we expect them to use the summer to vigorously pursue their research and not seek outside employment. We expect these fellowships will have a significant impact, allowing the recipients to obtain stronger results and to complete their theses in a more timely fashion than has been typical among our doctoral students. Using a small amount of the Graduate Committee budget to supplement these awards to even dollar amounts, the 2003 Thron Summer Research Fellowship is being awarded to Christopher Seaton in the amount of $8,800, and the 2003 University Summer Research Fellowships are being awarded to Christopher Catone, William Kirwin, John Massman, and Erich McAlister in the amount of $6,400 each. Mr. Seaton is a 4th year graduate student working with Dr. Carla Farsi, and he has already obtained some interesting results; the other four awardees are working quite successfully on very promising theses. We expect all five awardees will graduate in spring 2004.

This year approximately $16,500 of University Fellowship funds was used for recruiting & retaining our strongest graduate students. Eighteen students received $1000 for this academic year. These small awards are particularly effective in recruiting the stronger applicants to our graduate program, and we hope to be able to continue offering these small incentive fellowships. We expect an even stronger positive impact from the summer research fellowships awarded to mid-thesis students. We would like to use the Thron Fellowship funds, Stribic Fellowship funds, and University Fellowship funds to award Summer Research Fellowships to our promising, mid-thesis students in summer 2004. We expect to have at least 10 promising mid-thesis students in Summer 2004. One of these students we will support with the Thron Fellowship, two we hope to support with (supplemented) Stribic fellowships; the others we hope to support with University Fellowship funds.

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Last revision 02/19/03


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