Spectrum - Volume 17 Issue 27 April 6, 1995 - Bruce E. Reed

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Bruce E. Reed

By Sally Harris

Spectrum Volume 17 Issue 27 - April 6, 1995

Bruce Reed tries never to let anyone give up.

This year's winner of an Alumni Association's W.E. Wine Award for Excellence in Teaching, Reed says that, in teaching mathematics, he likes to build some confidence in his students.

"I find that is one of the biggest problems, especially in some of the freshmen courses I teach," he said. "I keep the students' morale as high as I can."

He has developed a special voluntary course for at-risk students. The class meets five days per week for three hours' credit. "I break things up into smaller pieces for the students," he said, "sort of a constant review."

His techniques evidently work. "Bruce Reed's excellence in promoting in-depth learning extends to students at all levels--from advanced math majors who consistently express admiration for his teaching to previously unmotivated students who become involved and excited about their success," the nomination packet said. "Bruce builds confidence by knowing his students personally and tailoring his instruction to each one. To paraphrase one admirer of his teaching, students leave Bruce Reed's class not only with a command of the material they have learned, but also with great self-confidence."

Reed was named outstanding professor in the mathematics department in 1992 and 1993 by the Student Chapter of Mathematical Association of America. He consistently receives nearly perfect scores on student evaluations--with his last 86 students ranking him a perfect 4.0.

Reed developed the mathematical-sciences sequence for the university Core Curriculum. He has served as a mentor for four graduate students and four instructors over the past three years. He annually administers the diagnostic testing for about 450 students, makes subsequent placement recommendations, and meets with participants to discuss the results.

Reed served as assistant department head from 1972 until 1989 while teaching a full course load. Students and peers have the highest regard for his teaching. "His students always come first," a student wrote. He "has a great ability to communicate and explain," said another. "You have restored my confidence that I can do math," another wrote. "I have never met a student who was in Reed's class and who had a negative comment about him," said former mathematics head Wayne Patty. "The student has a semester-long dialog with Bruce," said colleague Peter Haskell. Rita Purdy, associate dean of the College of Human Resources, summed it up: "I think he is a miracle worker and wish we could clone him."