Mathematics—math labs and Sally Instructorships

Revolutionize the teaching and study of mathematics by creating collaborative math lab experiences and ensuring the strongest undergraduate math education

Mathematics lies at the core of all science and technology; an advance in mathematics is an advance in all science. In fact, 43 percent of all student course-hours taught in the Physical Sciences Division are in mathematics. With its history of hiring transformative thinkers and its influence on a new crop of mathematicians, the University of Chicago is poised to transform the study of mathematics. In an effort to change the way mathematics is taught and researched worldwide, the department will focus on two objectives: the development of math labs and the creation of “Sally Instructor” positions.

Labs are already a mainstay of experimental science; mathematicians should have that explorative and collaborative experience as well. When a faculty member in mathematics makes a breakthrough, a new Math Lab can be established, and experts from mathematics and related fields will convene with students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty. These Math Labs will create an intellectual and physical space to witness and teach the process of discovery.

In the past decade, the number of undergraduate math classes offered has multiplied while faculty numbers have remained constant. In order to ensure that Chicago’s undergraduate mathematics program remains the strongest in the country, students must have access to teaching by full faculty members and experienced post-doctoral educators. The mathematics department proposes meeting this need by creating a cadre of Sally Instructors whose implementation also allows graduate students to focus fully on their research. These instructorships will be filled by recent PhDs who are both experts in their fields and exemplary teachers. At UChicago they will further develop into accomplished mathematicians and educators and use that training to enhance mathematics education around the world. Your support will provide the resources necessary to realize these goals and reshape the field of mathematics. The instructorships will be named after the late Paul Sally, a nationally renowned leader in mathematics education and director of undergraduate studies.