Howard to receive math association award for teaching excellence

Dr. Keary Howard, an integral part of Mathematics Education at SUNY Fredonia for more than a dozen years, will receive the Clarence F. Stephens Award for Excellence in Teaching from the Seaway Section of the Mathematical Association of America.

The annual award recognizes a mathematics teacher at the post-secondary level who has been widely recognized for extraordinary success in his/her careers, with teaching effectiveness that has been documented and had influence beyond their own institution.

Promoting mathematics accessibility at the undergraduate level is the focus of MAA, a professional society comprised of university and high school teachers, undergraduate and graduate students, mathematicians, statisticians and computer scientists. Its Seaway Section encompasses much of New York state and the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario.

“I am honored to have been chosen for the award and proud to represent the Mathematical Sciences Department and the college,” said Dr. Howard, who joined the SUNY Fredonia faculty in 2000. The award will be presented at MAA’s spring meeting, April 19-20, at SUNY Fredonia.

Howard’s nomination was advanced by support letters written by three of Fredonia’s Mathematics Sciences Department faculty members and two former students.

As the Seaway Section award winner, Howard becomes the section’s nominee for the MAA’s Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Awards for distinguished college or university teaching of mathematics, a national award.

“Keary Howard is an outstanding teacher and he’s done so much outside of the classroom to promote Mathematics Education,” said Mathematical Sciences Chair Nancy Boynton, who nominated Howard for the award. Howard’s extra-curricular activities include assembling graduate students to run the department’s annual Pi Day celebration and organizing a group of students to stage a day of fun and math-related games for hundreds of high school students on campus.

“He’s been a strong mentor for many students, both those who are top students and those who are struggling students,” Dr. Boynton added. An active member of the Association of Mathematics Teachers of New York State, Howard has taken many Fredonia students to valuable professional conferences.

From incoming freshmen enrolled in their first field-based education course to graduate students preparing their master’s thesis, Howard’s course load spans the spectrum of mathematics education at SUNY Fredonia. He coordinates both the mathematics Education and graduate programs in mathematics education and also supervises senior student-teachers placed in southern Chautauqua County schools.

The variety of these experiences is “one of the joys of what I do at SUNY Fredonia,” Howard said.

Howard’s research focuses on mathematics curriculum development and instruction, teacher preparation and professional development. He serves as vice president of the Association of Mathematics Teachers of New York State and is an associate editor of the New York State Mathematics Teachers’ Journal.

Howard was awarded his Ph.D. and M.S., both in mathematics education, from Cornell University and his undergraduate degree, in mathematics/statistics, from the University of Rochester. He received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2007.

The Clarence F. Stephens Award for Excellence in Teaching, established as the Section Award in 1991, was renamed in honor of Clarence F. Stephens, developer of the Morgan-Potsdam teaching model. It was last given to a SUNY Fredonia faculty member, Dr. Robert Rogers, in 1998.