Academic Catalog and Handbooks

2023-2024 Edition


Department Chair: Bret Benesh

Faculty: Bret Benesh, Philip Byrne, Robert Campbell, Sunil Chetty, Arein Duaibes, Robert Hesse, Kristen Nairn, Anne Sinko, Michael Tangredi.

Math Center Director: Brian Nyholm

The mathematics department offers courses to fit the needs of a wide variety of students: the student majoring in mathematics, the student majoring in another field who needs supporting courses in mathematics, and the general liberal arts student.

Since a knowledge of mathematics can be useful in disciplines as diverse as biology, philosophy and economics, the mathematics department offers a number of options to students. The major offerings are flexible enough to prepare students for further study in graduate school, for a career in secondary education, for a career as an actuary or data scientist, or for a career in business or industry. A student majoring in another discipline may choose to minor in mathematics. A major in elementary education may choose a minor in mathematics or the concentration designed especially for elementary teachers. (See the education department listing for more information.)

In addition to the formal courses described below, there are many other opportunities available for students interested in mathematics. An individual learning project on a topic of mutual interest can be designed with the assistance of a faculty member. The department supports students to engage in summer research in mathematics and related mathematical sciences, through a generous stipend program. Opportunities are available to combine the summer research with a Distinguished Thesis. An active student math club and a local chapter of Pi Mu Epsilon (a national honor society for students of mathematics) cooperate with the mathematics department to offer a rich program of seminars, films, visiting speakers, career information and social activities. Each spring the department hosts a regional Pi Mu Epsilon conference at which students and faculty from several colleges gather at Saint Benedict's and Saint John's for two days of presentations by students and invited speakers.

Each semester, the mathematics department employs students paid on an hourly basis as calculus teaching assistants, course assistants, and tutors. Calculus teaching assistants grade papers and, in consultation with the course instructor, supervise the calculus labs. Those labs, which meet regularly, provide students with additional opportunities to discuss course material and to practice problem-solving skills. Course assistants grade papers for lower division classes other than calculus I and II. Tutors give individual help to students at the Math Center.

Mathematics in the Integrations Curriculum

Mathematics, both as a skill and as a theoretical structure has played a crucial role in modern civilization and the everyday lives of individuals. Therefore, all students will be required to take and pass one course which satisfies the common curriculum requirement in mathematics, and students may opt to take a mathematics course to fulfill the Abstract Structures requirement for the Integrations curriculum. While different courses cover different topics, all courses meeting the requirement stress mathematics as a conceptual discipline and address its contemporary role. These courses will also enable students to understand and appreciate the power and limitations when using mathematical reasoning, its language, and notation to solve a variety of problems from other disciplines and from everyday life. Students enrolled in our courses are actively involved in doing mathematics.

We offer two 2-credit support courses for students who would prefer a review of mathematics.  Students who wish to eventually take calculus will take Math 115, and most other students will take Math 111 if they wish to review material.