Friend of the University of Rochester
December 8, 1995
Thomas H. Jackson, President
University of Rochester
Rochester, NY 14627
Dear Dr. Jackson:
I write on behalf of the Executive Committee of the MathematicalAssociation of America to express our grave concern about the recent eventsat the University of Rochester and about the University's plan to "service(the) need for calculus instruction (through) the hiring of non-research(adjunct) faculty and/or the redirection of other qualified faculty fromother disciplines."
The Mathematical Association of America is the professionalassociation concerned primarily with collegiate mathematics instruction.The Association and its 30,000 members are vitally concerned aboutundergraduate mathematics instruction and agree with your statement that"Effective teaching of calculus is an essential ingredient of a qualityunder-graduate educational experience at Rochester, particularly given thelarge proportion (over 70%) of first year students who enroll in thecalculus sequences." We do not believe that these students are well servedby part time instructors or by faculty who do not have a strong educationin mathematics.
Mathematics and mathematics instruction are constantly changing.Recent initiatives by the National Science Foundation have, for example,resulted in major changes in the way that calculus is taught. Advances intechnology have affected not only mathematics pedagogy but also thecurriculum. To attract and retain the brightest undergraduates requiresthat those who are responsibile for instruction be active mathematiciansand be aware of the ways that both the subject and its instruction arechanging.
In view of this, the Board of Governors of the MathematicalAssociation of America at its annual meeting in January 1995 passed aresolution that makes it clear that it is a disservice to students and tothe profession to relegate the teaching of mathematics to adjuncts andfaculty from other disciplines. For the best mathematical education,university students need committed professors who are also committed tomathematics. I enclose a copy of this resolution and urge you toreconsider your proposed course of action.
Kenneth Ross, President
Mathematical Association of America
Department of Mathematics
University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403-1222
xc: Richard N. Aslin, Vice Provost and Dean
Joseph E. Neisendorfer, chairman of the Department ofMathematics
Sanford L. Segal, Faculty Senate
Executive Committee of the Mathematical Association of America
Marcia P. Sward, Executive Director of the MAA