Department of Mathematics, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

This summarizes our work under the umbrella of the Carnegie Initiative on the Doctorate.

Exemplary Element: Mentoring Women in the Profession

The Mentoring Through Critical Transition Points Program (MCTP)
The MCTP contains numerous innovative programs, including the summer IMMERSE program, and the Keeping Research Alive (KRA) workshops for young PhDs.

Purpose of the Doctorate in Mathematics - Draft




Advanced Graduate Experiences

First Year Graduate Experiences

John Meakin and Jim Lewis at 2003 CID Convening
John Meakin and Jim Lewis at 2003 CID Convening

Who are we?

Our CID leadership team has evolved during the past year. People who have been most involved at some point during the past two years are the following:


Steve Cohn, Jim Lewis, John Meakin, David Pitts, Mohammad Rammaha, Judy Walker, Roger Wiegand.

For the academic year 2004-05, Jim Lewis, John Meakin, David Pitts, and Roger Wiegand are the faculty on the CID leadership team. Roger Wiegand and Jim Lewis prepared the original proposal to Carnegie. Roger was graduate committee chair and Jim was department chair in 2003. John Meakin is currently department chair and David Pitts is currently graduate committee chair of the department.

Graduate Students:

David Milan and Amanda Potts are the current graduate students on the CID team. Ben Duncan, Jennifer Everson, Pari Ford, Matt Koetz. Matt was most involved in the first year of work on the CID, Pari has recently taken a leadership role among graduate students in this work. Pari, Ben and Jennifer are members of our graduate student advisory board. Pari organizes our graduate student seminar.


Cheryl Olsen (1997) is currently on a sabbatical at UNL and is the alumni representative on the CID Team.

UNL Math Department Home Page

UNL Math Department CID Page

More About Our Department

A brief profile of the Department of Mathematics, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

  • 33 tenure-track faculty, one non-tenure-track research professor
  • Approximately 10 postdocs and research visitors each year
  • Approximately 170 undergraduate math majors
  • 67 graduate students (fall 2004): 34 male, 33 female; 57 US students, 10 foreign students
  • 64 PhD's, 1994-2003
  • Average of 34 undergraduate B.S. degrees per year
  • Approximately 28,000 student credit hours per year
  • Research Strengths

  • Applied Mathematics and Mathematical Biology
  • Commutative Algebra, Algebraic Geometry, and K-theory
  • Ordinary and Partial Differential Equations, Dynamical Systems
  • Discrete Mathematics and Coding Theory
  • Functional Integration
  • Groups, Semigroups, and Topology
  • Mathematics Education
  • Operator Theory and Operator Algebras
  • Selected Department-Wide Awards and Honors

  • NU system-wide teaching award, 1998: 19 of the current faculty have won college or university-wide distinguished teaching awards.
  • US Presidential Award for excellence in science, mathematics and engineering mentoring, 1998.
  • Carnegie Initiative on the Doctorate partner institution in mathematics since 2003
  • NSF funded REU site grant since 2002
  • GAANN grant since 2003
  • Mentoring through Critical Transition Points grant funded, 2004- 2009.
  • Mentoring through Outreach

  • Annual Nebraska Conference for Undergraduate Women in Mathematics
  • All Girls/All Math summer camps for high school girls
  • Annual Math Day (approximately 1,400 Nebraska high school students)
  • Annual Regional Workshop in the Mathematical Sciences
  • Power Math (summer camp for junior high school students)
  • Extensive program of summer workshops for Nebraska high school teachers
  • Headquarters of the American Mathematics Competition
  • Summer training site for U.S International Mathematics Olympiad team.
  • Students Excel

  • Five NSF graduate fellowships to senior math majors since 1999
  • Two NSF postdoctoral fellowships and many other postdoctoral fellowships to graduate students in past seven years
  • 18 Goldwater Scholarships to undergraduate majors since 1989.
  • Homeland security award to undergraduate math major in 2003.
  • Alice T. Schaefer Award to undergraduate math major in 2000.
  • Nationally competitive Putnam team (first among public institutions in the U.S. in 1995 and 2000.)
  • Over $200,000 in departmental undergraduate scholarships each year
  • Approximately 20 math majors each year involved in serious undergraduate research projects
  • Exemplary Element: Mentoring
    Our department has had great success in educating women in the doctoral program. Follow this link for more detail.

    Commonalities PowerPoint

    Key Ideas PowerPoint

    What do we want to accomplish in the CID?

    Some issues that we originally identified for the focus of our work in the CID are listed below:

  • How should we position our PhD program? Is our traditional model of strong research clusters in a limited number of disciplines still appropriate? To what extent should our areas of strength influence strategies for hiring and graduate recruiting?
  • Is a curriculum emphasizing broad knowledge of mainstream mathematics still appropriate, or would our PhD students be better served by more intense specialization?
  • What revisions of the graduate curriculum and degree requirements are necesary and appropriate in order to accommodate interdisciplinary research?
  • How do we best prepare PhD students for the jobs they will obtain? This includes those who obtain nonacademic work and those who will teach at clleges where research is not emphasized.
  • Are we graduating stewards of the discipline? Are our PhD graduates prepared for the challenges of the 21st century? What can we do to increase the number of tenure-track placements at Research I universities?
  • How can we best prepare PhD students who will become leaders in their profession?
  • How can we increase the recruitment and retention of underrepresented minorities?

  • What are we doing?

    Since the 2003 summer convening, we have engaged in the following activities in the context of our work on the CID.

  • The leadership of the department has engaged in an analysis of the graduate experience at UNL, and has proposed a number of programs designed to enhance this experience. Five phases of the graduate experience were identified:
  • Phase I: the first year, transition to graduate school

    Phase II: transition to advanced coursework and initial work on a thesis topic

    Phase III: additional advanced coursework and initial work on a thesis topic

    Phase IV: intensive work on the PhD thesis, preparing for the transition to the profession

    Phase V: early years as PhD graduate in the profession

  • We prepared and submitted to NSF proposals for a VIGRE grant (denied) and a MCTP grant (recommended for funding, funding still pending
  • We initiated a summer research reading program for first year graduate students
  • We ran a mathematical landscapes seminar in fall 2004. A pilot version of this was run in fall 2003.
  • We held focus group discussions with senior graduate students in spring 2004.
  • The department moved to a new building (Avery Hall) where faculty and graduate students are now together in one location.
  • Summary of Innovations
    We are in the processing of implementing many important innovations to our graduate program in the context of the MCTP proposal. The summer IMMERSE program and the KRA program will be implemented in summer 2004, and other aspects of the MCTP program will be phased in during the 2004-05 year. Here is a link to more detailed information about this program.

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