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University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Associate Professor of Mathematics John Beam has received the 2015 Distinguished Teaching Award from the Wisconsin Section of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA).

The Wisconsin Section Distinguished Teaching Award was established in 1991 to emphasize the high importance that colleges and universities in Wisconsin place on teaching mathematics. Winning nominees must display extraordinary success in teaching mathematics.  At most one award is given per year.  Beam is the 19th recipient in the 24-year history of the award.

Beam, who joined the faculty of the mathematics department at UW Oshkosh in 2002, teaches a variety of problem-based mathematics courses for pre-service elementary and middle grades students, as well as upper-level courses in the mathematics major.

According to the nomination statement by UWOshkosh Professor of Mathematics Jennifer Szydlik: “[Beam] is known for his focus on modeling mathematical practices (conjecturing, exploring, defining, finding counterexamples, and making arguments) for his students, and for his creative – sometimes wacky – classroom activities (e.g., hands-on probability experiments involving noodles; newspaper critiques; radio critiques; lots of logic puzzles; statistics activities that make use of current data; motion experiments involving toy cars; and so on).”

Szydlik’s nomination statement goes on to say: “His peers characterize his teaching style as mathematically rich, empowering for students, relaxed, and encouraging of individual ideas and opinions.”

“I congratulate John on receiving this award,” said John Koker, dean of the College of Letters and Science at UW Oshkosh.  “As someone who has observed his teaching, I know he effectively engages his students and produces a high level of student participation in his classes. He deserves this award.”

Beam will be honored at the Wisconsin Section’s Annual Meeting in at Ripon College on April 24. Upon receipt of additional supporting material, Beam will become the Wisconsin Section nominee for the MAA’s Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics.

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