Our contributions to the areas of Bioinformatics, Combinatorics and Mathematics Education are gaining the University of Idaho Mathematics Department a strong national reputation. In terms of grants, the bioinformatics group, which includes members from our department and the departments of Biology, Computer Science and Geology, has attracted over 20 million dollars in multi-year funding to support their research. All of this research activity has stimulated our graduate program with support for students and with the development of new coursework.
We are also assuming a leadership role in undergraduate education with the development of the Polya Math Learning Center. Approximately 1500 students were served in the center during its inaugural semester (Fall 2001) primarily taking Math 108 and Math 143. Projects are underway to better serve our calculus students with a meaningful lab experience. Using the success of the Polya Center as a starting point, we have formed partnerships with a number of rural Idaho high schools to enrich the educational experience of our future students. This initiative, called Polya Extended, is supported by a one-year grant of over $600,000 awarded by the United States Department of Education. This will enable the Department to continue its Mathematics Education research and to present a summer workshop for 25 teachers from rural high and middle schools. Also, Math Department faculty members supported by Eisenhower Grants will offer two other important summer workshops for mathematics teachers.
As you can see, despite the challenges facing the Mathematics Department due to the budget reductions, a lot of exciting things are happening here in Moscow and across the state. While the grant activities have helped the department to accomplish many of its goals, we remain indebted to our friends who have generously contributed to our development fund. With these gifts we have been able to do many important things to support student success.