PUrview 2020

10-06-2020

Greetings from the new department head! I feel honored to join the department. Read in this issue about the many exciting things happening here and please know that much good mathematics is happening each day in our classrooms and offices. My husband and I were graduate students at Purdue from 1987 to 1992, and I can report that the building is still the same, many of our professors are still around and active, and the same bookstores are still open.

I am grateful to my predecessor, Professor Gregery Buzzard, for leading the department for seven strong years.
Among other accomplishments during his time as head, the department hired over 25 world-class faculty members, brought faculty teaching into line with peer institutions, improved conditions for graduate students, and worked to bring to Purdue the National Math Alliance, which in 2017 received the AMS Mathematics Programs that Make a Difference Award.

High on my priority list as the head are continued excellence of the department, hiring plans for increasing faculty diversity, increasing graduate student stipends to match peer institutions, reducing years to PhD, celebrating
Master's degrees, career training for graduate students (including non-academic jobs), equitable loads, joy in research and in teaching, and the support for what is needed to achieve that.

I am writing this in month seven or so of the pandemic. Since early summer Purdue University has been at the forefront of preparations for face-to-face education while also providing for the completely online cohort. The good news is that due to careful planning, pre-arrival testing, ongoing testing, and the strong dedication of all involved, we are still in face-to-face mode after four weeks of the semester. Much of our energy and resources these days is going into teaching in different modalities and into meeting the needs of our students, faculty and staff in this changed world.

The changed world of this year also includes new awareness of racial inequities in the country. Since early summer, graduate student Alden Bradford has been running a well-attended informal anti-racist reading group, and since August, Professor Rodrigo Bañuelos has been a member of the Steering Committee of the newly established university-wide Racial Equity Task Force. We must all together shift how and whom we educate, assess, mentor, admit, hire, and welcome.

Read on to catch up with more of our many activities, visit our webpage at math.purdue.edu to learn more, and stay safe!


Irena Swanson
Professor and Head

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PUrview 2020