Taylor Math Professor Dr. Matt DeLong Receives National Award

By Jim Garringer Published: Jan 05, 2012

Taylor Professor of Mathematics Dr. Matt DeLong has received the Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics. The award, presented by the Mathematical Association of America (MAA), is that organization’s highest teaching award and is bestowed annually to up to three of its more than 20,000 members.

It marks the second national award for DeLong, who in 2005 was honored by the MAA with the Henry L. Alder Award for Distinguished Teaching by a Beginning College or University Mathematics Faculty Member – an award that recognizes outstanding mathematics faculty members in the early stages of their teaching careers.

The Haimo Award was created to honor college or university teachers who have been widely recognized as extraordinarily successful, and whose teaching effectiveness has been shown to have had influence beyond their own institutions. These awards, in the amount of $1,000 and a certificate, are given annually at the Joint Mathematics Meetings (JMM), which is the largest gathering of mathematicians in the United States. The 2012 JMM is being held this week in Boston, Mass.

DeLong, who is originally from Harlan, Ind., holds an undergraduate degree from Northwestern University and a Master of Science and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. He joined the Taylor faculty in 1998.

“It is humbling to receive this blessing from the Lord. Although this award singles me out, my efforts could not stand apart from the excellent work done by Taylor students, faculty and administrators,” DeLong said. “We have a great math department with great students and colleagues. I am so very grateful to my faculty colleagues Ron Benbow, Jeremy Case and Mark Colgan for instigating my nomination for this award. Although it is reminiscent of many athletic clichés, I certainly believe this is a ‘team award.’ What successes I have had are due in large measure to their encouragement, partnership and leadership.”

Taylor mathematics senior Jacob Erb has studied in two of DeLong’s classes: Abstract Algebra and Ways of Knowing. He says one of DeLong’s strengths is his ability to communicate abstract theorems into layperson’s language.

“He’s very engaging. He understands what students struggle with,” said Erb. “Dr. DeLong anticipates those things and incorporates them into his lectures.”

“Each student you interact with teaches you a lot about people, about faith and learning,” said DeLong. “I feel like you learn from good students and the ones who struggle. Part of what you learn is how precious it is to invest in their lives.”

“This award is a tribute to Dr. DeLong’s high level of performance and commitment to his students and their learning,” said Dr. Steve Bedi, Taylor’s Provost. “Matt’s commitment, passion and expertise in the classroom are characteristics that are shared by our faculty here at Taylor. It is an honor to be able to serve with professors like Matt and to see firsthand the impact of his excellent and distinctive service here at Taylor.”

Additional courses taught by DeLong include:

Intro to Functions and Calculus, Calculus I, Calculus II, Calculus III, Advanced Calculus, Differential Equations, Real Analysis, Galois Theory, Mathematics Seminar, Investigations in Mathematics, Topology, Abstract Algebra, Chaos & Fractals, and Foundations of Christian Thought Discussion Section.