Message From The Department Head AY 2022-2023
Welcome to the UNC Greensboro Department of Mathematics and Statistics! On behalf of the Department, I invite you to browse this website to see many exciting things that have been happening in the Department.
With Covid finally letting up, it is so refreshing to see in-person events on campus after a long time. Our vibrant in-person colloquium series has started again. And so are our popular Graduate Tea events where faculty and students can meet, enjoy tea/coffee/refreshments, and have non-technical discussions. Come and attend one of our Wednesday afternoon pre-colloquium receptions or a Graduate Tea event, and you will know what I mean.
I may mention that despite the disruptions caused by the pandemic, the Department featured 82 colloquium/seminar talks during CY 2021. These included 23 colloquium talks, 6 Helen Barton Lectures in Computational Mathematics, 23 seminars in Pure Mathematics, 17 seminars in Applied mathematics and 13 seminars in Statistics. These 82 talks were the largest ever in the department in a calendar year. Some of these talks were non-technical, covering topics such as Teaching Excellence, Diversity, Mental Health, and Professional Development of PhD students.
We are extremely pleased to welcome 4 new Full Professors in the Department this year (Xiaoli Gao, Sebastian Pauli, Cliff Smyth, and Dan Yasaki). All four of these colleagues were promoted to Full Professor after compiling a very distinguished record as Associate Professor.
The Department offers a number of outstanding degree programs. Included among these programs is a PhD in Computational Mathematics with tracks in Computational Mathematics and Computational Statistics. We also offer a Doctoral Minor Program in Statistics geared primarily towards UNC Greensboro PhD students looking to acquire significant data analytics skills. A brand-new MS in Applied Statistics program started in Fall 2020. Our existing MA in Mathematics program added a new concentration “Mathematical Foundations of Data Science” in 2021. Our collaborations with the MS in Informatics and Analytics (MSIA) program continue to get stronger and we have collaboratively developed several cross-listed courses. The undergraduate BA/BS programs in Mathematics are also going though a major transformation. We have a new STEM Calculus sequence and a new Bio Mathematics sequence. Our Business Calculus sequence has also been revamped.
Undergraduate research has been a major strength for our department for more than 15 years. We have hosted many NSF funded research program over the years. The latest being our NSF-funded REU program in Complex Data Analysis using Statistical and Machine Learning Tools (Sat Gupta (PI) and Xiaoli Gao (Co-PI)) that ran from May 26 – July 31 in the Summer of 2020, from May 24-July 30 in the Summer of 2021, and from May 23 – July 29 in the summer of 2022. Each year, the program trains 8-10 nationally recruited undergraduate students who work on a variety of research projects under the supervision of 5-6 faculty mentors.
We were very sad to say goodbye to our longtime staff leader Carri Richter who decided to go back to school. We were also sad to see a highly distinguished faculty colleague John Stufken leave. John decided to move to George Mason University. Sheela Misra moved back to Lucknow University after completing a one-year term as a Visiting professor of Statistics. We are pleased to welcome Leslie Justice as a replacement for Carri as our staff leader. Leslie Justice comes to us after being in a similar position at NC A&T State university for 15 years. Sadia Khalil joins us as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Statistics. Sadia comes to us from the Lahore College for Women University in Pakistan.
Our Computational Mathematics PhD program continues to get stronger. We have graduated 10 PhD students over the last three years, and we welcomed 8 new PhD students this year.
Our faculty continues to have tremendous success in getting external grants. We received four NSF awards in 2019-20 including a 3-year award of $324,000 for Sat Gupta, a 3-year award of $238,982 for Ratnasingham Shivaji, two NSF awards for Talia Fernos (a one-year award of $46,000 and a 3-year award of $283,145). We also received a 3-year award of $193,244 from the Army Research Office for Yu-Min.
We had great success with external grants in 2020-21 as well. Dan Yasaki, Xiaoli Gao and Yi Zhang received Simons Foundations grants (2021-26, $42,000 each). Tom Lewis secured an NSF grant as PI (2021-24, $119,972) and another NSF grant as Co-PI (2021-24, $ 114,944 ), and Yi Zhang secured an NSF grant as PI (2021-24, $ 114,944 ), and another NSF grant as PI (2021-22, $12,500). Scott Richter was Co-PI on a NICHD $1,383,566, 3-year grant. The grant-rush continued in 2021-22 also. Maya Chhetri and Cliff Smuth received Simons Foundation grants (2022-27, $42,000 each), Dan Yasaki (PI) and Monika Goel (Co-PI) received an NSF grant ($93,470), Igor Erovenko is Co-PI on a 3-year multi-institution NSF grant (1 million dollars), Sat Gupta is Co-PI on a 5-year 3.4 million, multi-institution NSF LSAMP grant, Tom Lewis is Co-PI on a $33,000 VI NASA EPSCoR grant, Shivaji received a one-year NSF grant ($80,000), and John Stufken received a 3-year $150,000 NSF grant. Congratulatioins to all of the previous awardees and the new awardees!
The Department is also home to the Journal of Statistical Theory and Practice (Springer) with Sat Gupta serving as the Editor-in-Chief. The Department is also affiliated with the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA) and the National Institute of Statistical Sciences (NISS). These affiliations offer a host of professional development opportunities to our faculty and students.
Our Math Pathways work continues to excel, and we have become one of the leaders in the UNC System. The future looks even brighter with the appointment of Dr. Dan Yasaki as our Director of Student Success. Thanks to these efforts our DFW rates have improved substantially. We have now provided access to STEM Calculus and Business Calculus to a far greater number of students.
Thanks to our donors, we have been able to provide a variety of scholarships to our students. These included the Helen Barton Scholarship, Vicky Langley Math Scholarship, Ione Holt Grogan Scholarship, Judith J. Mendenhall Scholarship, Mary D. Murray Scholarship in Mathematics, Eldon E. And Christine J. Posey Mathematics Scholarship, Cornelia Strong Scholarship, Dr. Theresa Phillips Vaughan Math Scholarship, and Bertha Barnwell Vielhauer Endowed Scholarship.
Our Statistical Consulting Center, under the leadership of Director and Professor Scott Richter, continues to serve the campus and the off-campus community holding over 50 consulting sessions each year and hosting our annual Quantitative Methodology Series workshops. Some of the other services we offer include a Math Help Center that provides free one-on-one assistance for students enrolled in our undergraduate mathematics and statistics classes, and a Math Emporium for undergraduate students who wish to enroll in a College Algebra or Precalculus class taught in a non-traditional, hybrid format. Our Math Club provides an opportunity to connect with our faculty and students. We are also home to a Chapter of the Association for Women in Mathematics. Many of these services were offered remotely during the Covid outbreak but we have now switched to more in-person interactions with our students and the larger campus community.
For many years, the Department has been hosting an annual student conference – The UNCG Regional Mathematics and Statistics Conference (RMSC), and a biennial international conference on Advances in Interdisciplinary Statistics and Combinatorics (AISC). Last year we added another biennial international conference “The UNCG PDE Conference” that was hosted virtually May 24-25, 2021. We also host a variety of other special events, lecture series, and colloquia.
If you need further information or have any suggestions about how we can better serve the campus and off-campus communities, please email me. If you are an alum, please email me about yourself. We would love to connect with you and keep you abreast, through our newsletters, of all the wonderful things that happen in the Department. If you would like to visit our department, do not hesitate to contact us. We are housed in the Petty Science Building on the UNCG campus, in the city of Greensboro, and are a part of the University of North Carolina System.
All in all, AY 2021-22 was a highly satisfying year and I look forward to continued excellence by our faculty and students.
Fellow of the American Statistical Association