GVSU Math Prof Wins Teaching Award: Grand Valley State University mathematics professor Matthew Boelkins has been selected to receive the 2013 Distinguished Teaching Award from the Michigan Section of the Mathematical Association of America. The award will be presented at the organization’s annual meeting in May. Boelkins, who lives in Jenison, has taught at Grand Valley since 1998. In 2003 he received the university’s Pew Teaching Excellence Award in the Science and Mathematics Division. Grand Valley mathematics professor Ted Sundstrom, who nominated Boelkins for the award, said faculty members in the department have commented about Boelkins’ ability to maintain high academic standards and expectations for students while simultaneously enjoying extremely positive relationships with his students. Sundstrom also noted Boelkins’ willingness to give of himself in the service of learning, in that during a recent sabbatical leave, he wrote a free, open source textbook for first semester calculus, with materials for second semester in progress. The text may be viewed at http://bit.ly/P8cguM. Boelkins also maintains a blog focused on free resources for teaching calculus at http://opencalculus.wordpress.com. This text may be used by instructors and students of differential calculus at Grand Valley and other universities, in order to replace the use of for-profit textbooks and proprietary software. Boelkins will also be the Michigan Section nominee for the national MAA Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Awards for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics.
Two Wayne State Professors Named AAAS Fellows: Stephanie Brock and Arthur Suits, professors of chemistry in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Wayne State University, have been named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Election as an AAAS Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers. This year 702 members have been awarded this honor by AAAS because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. New Fellows will be presented with an official certificate and a gold and blue (representing science and engineering, respectively) rosette pin on Saturday, Feb. 16 from 8 to 10 a.m. at the AAAS Fellows Forum during the 2013 AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston, Mass. This year’s AAAS Fellows were formally announced in the AAAS News & Notes section of the journal Science on Nov. 30, 2012. As part of the AAAS section on chemistry, Brock was elected as an AAAS Fellow for distinguished contributions to the field of inorganic materials chemistry, particularly for a generation of new nanomaterials and methods for their assembly into functional structures. Suits was elected as an AAAS fellow for broad-ranging, innovative work in the field of experimental chemical physics, including photofragment atomic orbital polarization, roaming radical reactions, and advances in ion imaging methods in the AAAS section on chemistry. The tradition of AAAS Fellows began in 1874. Currently, members can be considered for the rank of Fellow if nominated by the steering groups of the Association’s 24 sections, or by any three Fellows who are current AAAS members (so long as two of the three sponsors are not affiliated with the nominee’s institution), or by the AAAS chief executive officer. Each steering group then reviews the nominations of individuals within its respective section and a final list is forwarded to the AAAS Council, which votes on the aggregate list. The Council is the policymaking body of the Association, chaired by the AAAS president, and consisting of the members of the board of directors, the retiring section chairs, delegates from each electorate and each regional division, and two delegates from the National Association of Academies of Science.