Department History


Summary by Five Year Periods  


Dennis Ames and Clark Lay arrive.  Dr. Ames was the founding Department Chair and Dr. Lay was hired to develop a Mathematics Education Program. Disagreements about the future direction of the Mathematics Department causes Dr. Lay to move to the Math and Science Education Program. Full four-year program established by 1962. Emphasis is on Pure Mathematics. Focus was on preparing students for advanced degrees. The structure of the department was set by 1965. Master’s degree and Senior level courses were taught as beginning graduate classes. There was no emphasis on General Education.


Master’s degree in math established first as a combined program in 1966, a Pure Math Master’s in 1967 and then the program for a Master’s degree in teaching was established with an N.S.F. grant written by Russ Benson. A general education course in Liberal Arts Mathematics is established. A concentration in Applied Mathematics was developed by Ron Miller. A Computer Science Program was developed utilizing courses and faculty from Engineering, Management Science and Mathematics. Ron was the initial director.


Edsel Stiel becomes department chair. Mathematics Education group rejoins the Mathematics Department. Dick Gilbert is named Outstanding Professor on campus. Dick continued to build an excellent mathematics collection in the library. An additional concentration within the undergraduate program in Probability and Statistics added to the existing concentrations in Pure Mathematics, Applied Mathematics and the Teaching of Mathematics. Michael Clapp becomes chair in 1973. Service role of the department continues to expand. Hiring of a Probabilist leads to hiring of Statisticians.


In 1978, Dr. Clapp accepts the Associate Dean position. Vice Chair Harris Shultz becomes Acting Chair. The department goes through a major revision of the undergraduate curriculum. A somewhat non-standard course in Mathematical Modeling is added to the curriculum. A cognate structure is added to the degree requirement (basically, a two or three course requirement in a related field).


James Friel becomes chair. Declining enrollments in the Pure Mathematics Master’s Program leads to the establishment of an Applied Master’s Program developed by Greg Pierce. Unique features of the program include a graduate level course in modeling and a project at the end of the coursework that is obtained from local government or industry. The Pure Master’s degree is essentially phased out.  A Tutoring Center for students is established. Hiring is concentrated almost exclusively in Applied Mathematics and/or Statistics. An enrollment surge begins in the mid 1980’s due to a growing interest in majoring in Computer Science (heavily based in mathematics at that time). Enrollment reaches an all time high. Department hires as many as seven full time lecturers during this period. The amount of assigned time available for faculty research and instructionally related projects triples. Academic Excellence Program for the Calculus sequence is initiated. An Alumni Panel is initiated to make students more aware of job opportunities.


The department continues to grow. Level of grant writing expands primarily in efforts to help improve mathematics education at all levels. Visiting High School Lecturer Program is initiated. A High School teacher is a member of our faculty for a year to improve articulation with local high schools. Program is dropped as too expensive near the end of this period. Harris Shultz named Outstanding Professor on campus and the next year is named one of two Outstanding Professors for the entire CSU system. Department has 46 part-time faculty. Most faculty members have obtained a computer.   


National recession hits California. Large drop in funding has a concomitant drop in enrollment. Part time faculty goes from 46 to 3. In spite of the loss of several faculty members, only two new faculty members are hired in this time period. David Pagni is named Outstanding Professor on campus and the next year is named Outstanding Professor system wide. Mario Martelli and Harris Shultz win MAA (Mathematical Association of America)  Distinguished Teacher Award.  Mandatory advising is instituted. Precalculus  (Math 100) is split into two courses: College Algebra (Math 115) and Precalculus  (Math 125) since the course was trying to serve two different audiences. Our graduate program was designated as the fastest growing graduate program at the University.

Putnam team finishes in the top third in the nation. Project SAFEMAP (Pagni) wins a Golden Bell Award-the first time this Award was given at the University level. Bill Gearhart and Harris Shultz win the MAA’s George Polya Award for Expository writing. Severe budget cuts led to the loss of seven positions. Ted Hromadka received two awards from the council of Civil Engineers and Land Surveyors.


Three faculty, Russ Egbert, Greg Pierce, and Bill Gearhart, obtain a National Science Grant for a computer lab, primarily designed initially as a simulation lab. The use of this facility grows remarkably in the next several years. In 1995, the department assumed full responsibility for teaching remedial mathematics (Intermediate Algebra), under the direction of Harris Shultz This was a major philosophical shift since prior to this time the department was the only Mathematics Department in the CSU that did not offer the course(s). Enrollment in this program increases, reaching a peak of 50 sections in 1998. The department has 60 part- time faculty members in this academic year. Mario Martelli is named Outstanding Professor on campus (the statewide award has been dropped).

The department takes a more active interest in its service role. Dr’s. Marty Bonsangue and Karen Messer revise or introduce courses for biology majors. A similar effort is started for Business Calculus in the Fall of 1999. With a grant from the Dean’s office for innovation in Education, the department entered the calculus reform movement by piloting Project Calculus. The intent was to introduce the new technology of a hand held calculator capable of symbolic manipulations, and to introduce several large scale projects into each of the three semesters of Calculus. This project is led by Dr’s. Paul Deland and Ernie Solheid with Dr’s. Stephen Goode and Mario Martelli following the next year. Hiring resumed with two searches in the 98/99 academic year with another in 99/00.

More and more faculty are using computers.  Hand held calculators are used more by both students and faculty. By 1990/00 we have completed Smart Classrooms for Calculus instruction, complete with projectors and computer access. A Mathematics Education Lab is fully functional. A full time technician was hired. The department is seeing a renewed interest and growth in teacher education at all levels. The Visiting High School Lecturer program is renewed. Mario Martelli received an award for Distinguished Service to the Southern California section of the MAA.


Enrollment grows based on a larger freshman class, growth in Teacher Education coursework and more demand from Computer Science majors. The laboratory rooms were fully utilized. The Master’s Program for Teachers added a course in Probability and Statistics. Enrollment in this program had now reached the level where we ran two sections each term.  This was a natural as most High Schools now offer a course in Statistics. Two new scholarships are offered. David Pagni was the recipient of a $6.5 million grant to enhance mathematics at the pre college level. David was also honored to receive the Wang Award. This is the highest honor given by the trustees to a faculty member.   Hung Lee’s paper on Neonatal Jaundice received the Award for Best Paper at a meeting in Singapore on Biological and Medical Engineering. Harris Shultz received the Distinguished Service Award to Education from the Orange County Office of Education. In 2002, we were mentioned in Black Issues in Higher Education as being number 1 nationally for awarding Master’s Degrees in Mathematics to Asian Americans. The department receives 5 major externally funded grants totaling 7.3 million dollars. In 2008 Scott Annin wins the national Henry L. Alder Award for Distinguished Teaching Award by a Beginning  Faculty Member (MAA).

Paul Deland becomes chair in 2004/5. Enrollments in Math 303A and B begin to drop, particularly in 303B since this course is no longer required for the multiple subject credential. Student interest in the Putnam competition increased by 50% with 11 students competing. The department hires four new tenure track faculty members.
Gerry Gannon began a new program for struggling teaching assistants and/or part time faculty. The department had established an all time high of community outreach projects. All were focused on providing support for teachers in surrounding communities. As part of the Universities Anniversary the department received funding for a two part Alumni Panel. Panelists were some of our most successful alums: they did an excellent job. The Supplemental Instruction (SI) begun by Gannon and Lewis receives outside funding and continues to grow. The new course Math Ed 480 – Teaching Mathematics at the College Level was introduced.



Stephen Goode is elected Chair. All new faculty have a half time teaching load with no more than 9 units thereafter. The High School Honors Program now has 19 schools in the program. The web site is updated.  There is a large increase in student activity in research, poster sessions, published papers and conference presentations. Faculty members have published in six different countries. Marty Bonsangue becomes the fifth member of our department to be named Outstanding Professor.