Professor of Mathematics Susan Loepp was recently awarded the 2012 Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award for Distinguished College Teaching of Mathematics.
This award is given by the Mathematical Association of America, which focuses on undergraduate mathematics education. Loepp is the fifth math professor at the College to receive this honorable award.
“I believe that no other department in the country has more than two national teaching award winners, so to be in a department that has won six national teaching awards is really special,” responded Loepp when asked about her reaction to receiving the award.
Loepp is first female professor at the College to ever receive the Franklin Tepper Haimo Award. Previous winners include Professors of Mathematics Thomas Garrity in 2004, Edward Burger in 2001, Colin Adams in 1998 and Frank Morgan in 1991.
When asked about her favorite part of teaching, Loepp said, “My favorite part of teaching is when a student who has been struggling with a problem or concept finally ‘gets it.’ Seeing a student’s joy when she realizes she understands a difficult problem is something I absolutely love.”
Loepp’s field of study is commutative algebra. “In the last few years I have very much ejoyed teaching ‘Calculus,’ ‘Linear Algebra,’ ‘Abstract Algebra,’ ‘Galois Theory,’ ‘Protecting Information’ and ‘Commutative Algebra,’ she said.
Loepp has received other awards in the past including the Faculty of the Year Award in 2001, which is awarded by the College’s student body. More recently, she received the Young Alumnus Award from Bethel in 2007 and the Mathematical Association of America Northeastern Section Teaching Award in 2010.
In addition to teaching during the school year, Loepp is heavily involved in the College’s SMALL Undergraduate Research Project. This intensive nine-week program is held on campus during the summer and brings roughly 30 undergraduates together from all over the world. It is an opportunity for math students to work on unsolved problems and help math professors with their research.
“I am very proud of what my SMALL students have accomplished. They have proved some very impressive results and have published papers in good mathematical journals,” Loepp said. Loepp has been a faculty advisor in the SMALL research program for eight summers now, and she has directed the program twice. Every summer, she leads a group of four different students who work on research problems in her field. When asked about the program she described it as, “frustrating, intense, fun and inspiring!”