What are we doing?
May 2003, we held "The Doctorate in Mathematics in the 21st Century:
What is Needed, What is Expected," a workshop and discussion featuring
perspectives from private and public universities and colleges
throughout Southern California as well as from Los Angeles-based
*As of Fall 2003, we have implemented a new weekly graduate seminar, Current Developments in Mathematics,
as a year-long, for-credit course required for all first-year graduate
students. The course is designed to expose them early on to current
research being conducted within the department as well as mathematical
research in general.
have created a Mentoring Triplet Program, in which each of our incoming
graduate students becomes part of a team with two mentors who help
guide them in pursuing their specific research interests and addressing
any "weak spots" in their educational and professional preparation.
Each team consists of a senior faculty member, an advanced graduate
student, and an incoming student.
August 2004, we inaugurated our Graduate Qualifying Examination
Preparation Sessions, with sessions geared toward 4 of the department's
8 exams (with plans to expand the program to include all the exams).
Each of the weekly sessions is facilitated by a senior graduate student
who is currently assigned to be a grader for the corresponding courses
this semester. For students planning to take the exams in the current
or future semester, the sessions provide an opportunity for them to
work together on old exams, review relevant material, bccome familiar
with the kinds of problems that typically appear on exams, and to
receive pointers on studying and preparation skills.
have started the "Tuesday Lunch Bunch for all Weapons of Math
Instruction," a weekly opportunity for graduate students, faculty,
post-docs, and department staff to have lunch together in order to
foster an intellectual and mathematical community within the department.
are preparing to launch a Graduate Bridge Program, a summer program to
evaluate our incoming doctoral students and address any deficiencies
they might have. This will help ensure that students progress through
the qualifying examinations and obtain their degrees in a timely
fashion. Insofar as no grades will be assigned in this program, it will
provide a good time for new students to form bonds among themselves and
with the faculty in a low-stress learning atmosphere.
are introducing an interdisiplinary component to the oral part of the
qualifying exam for the PhD program in Applied Mathematics in order to
encourage and prepare students for the actual practice of applied
mathematics in academia and industry.
are in the process of developing a standardized, University-approved
procedure for our graduate students to pursue a "PhD with a Minor"--the
combination of a PhD in Mathematics or Applied Mathematics and of a
Masters degree in another disipline.
plan to encourage graduate student participation in collaborative and
interdisciplinary research by instituting semester or half-semester
long Targeted Interface Working Groups, in which department
faculty members, post-docs and graduate students team up with members
from other departments in order to investigate a particular topic at
the interfaces of the different disciplines involved. One anticipated
outcome of such groups would be the preparation and submittal of a
joint proposal to a major funding competition (such as an NSF-targeted
will launch an industrial internship program for graduate students.
Several companies have already sent us letters of commitment to have
the students work with them through such a program.
part of its relocation in January 2004, the Math Center received a
substantial facelift: expanded discussion rooms and meeting areas, new
dry-erase boards, comfortable new furniture , and upgraded computer
equipment. This renovation has tranformed the Center into a more
inviting place for graduate students to hold their consulting hours for
the classes in which they teach and for just plain socializing among
people who like and use mathematics on campus.
*Over the last four semesters, we have been experimenting with a modified instructional format for undergraduate course, Calculus for Business,
in which the graduate teaching assistant is in the class with the
instructor. This new format provides more intense, hands-on and
collaborative teaching training and mentoring for our graduate
students, in that the professor and the TA are present in the same
classroom and teach the class together.
USC Innovation Snapshot 1
Graduate Bridge Program