David Calvis
Mathematics Coordinator
Math and Computer Science
As an undergraduate, I completed degrees both in Mathematics and in Music at Case Western Reserve University in 1980. Then, I went to graduate school for a degree in Mathematics at the University of Michigan, which led to a Ph.D. in 1988, by which time I had begun teaching at Hillsdale College in Michigan. In 1990, I began here at B-W.
What have you learned while teaching at B-W?:
That I'll never be done learning how to teach! Teaching is something to which you can always devote yourself more fully, no matter how hard you are already working at it. But the effort is always worth it, because you never know how far your influence will stretch through the lives of your students.
What inspired you to get into college teaching?:
My enthusiasm for mathematics and desire to share it with others. As a college professor I can study all the mathematics I have time for, and can bring that knowledge directly to the students in the classroom. I have said before that this is the best job in the world, and I feel that this is what I was made to do.
Describe the ways in which you mentor students interested in your department:
Mathematics can and should be a part of everyone's education. Although I deal primarily with students who already know they need or want to study mathematics, I always try to help students understand how mathematics might help them in whatever field they are pursuing. For Mathematics majors, we make sure they get a solid foundation in the subject and help them prepare for their next professional step. For example, many of our majors go on to graduate school in Mathematics virtually for free. Others find excellent positions in the workforce. We want to help them all along the way toward such goals.
If you weren't teaching what would you be doing?:
That's a tough one. I guess I'd just try to find somewhere else to teach!
What do students like best about your class?:
Well, I try first and foremost to present as clearly as I can, a subject that has a reputation for being complicated. The students like having things organized and clear course policies. It's also important, I believe, to keep the floor open for questions, and to treat each question as being just as important as whatever I was going to teach next.
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