Bennett Receives National Teaching Award

 Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award

One of LMU’s top math professors has just been recognized as one of the top math professors in the nation.

Mathematics professor Curtis Bennett won the Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics. The prestigious award is granted annually to three professors by the Mathematical Association of America.

“The list of people that have won this award is quite impressive,” Bennett said. “Many of them I’ve known, and some of them are my own mentors. It’s quite an honor to be listed among them.”

Bennett’s infectious enthusiasm for mathematics goes beyond calculations and theorems. A major part of his work at LMU is training others to teach math—he’s twice lectured at conferences on preparing mathematicians to become future educators, and twice been named a scholar by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Bennett was nominated by LMU math professor Jackie Dewar, who praised his collegial and collaborative spirit. The two have worked together on numerous projects and shared a Carnegie fellowship in 2004.

“His approaches and methods encourage his students to think like mathematicians,” Dewar said. “He carefully designs his problems, projects or class activities with a particular educational goal in mind, not just because they are flashy or fun—although many times they are that, too.”

Dewar was a winner of the award in 2006. With Bennett’s recognition, LMU is one of just a handful of universities in the nation to have two faculty members honored with the award in its 16-year existence.

Bennett says he’s always had an affinity for teaching. He came to LMU from a larger research university because he felt there was a stronger focus here on the students, and more opportunities for him to interact with them.

“One of the things I bring to my class is the excitement and joy of mathematics. I love to let my students see how math can be fun, and how it factors into everything,” he said. “I became a mathematician because I think that math is beautiful, and I want everyone to know that math is beautiful.”