New Faculty: Nilabja Guha

This fall, we are happy to welcome Dr. Nilabja Guha to the Department of Mathematical Sciences. Dr. Guha is a statistician who was at Texas A&M University in a postdoctoral position prior to joining UML. He received his doctoral degree in statistics from the University of Maryland Baltimore County where his adviser was Dr Anindya Roy.

Dr Guha’s research interest include Bayesian Modeling, Inverse problems, Uncertainty Quantification, High-dimensional Problems and Graphical Modeling.

Some of his recent publications are

  • Guha, Nilabja, Anindya Roy, Yaakov Malinovsky, and Gauri Datta., 2016. An optimal shrinkage factor in prediction of ordered random effects. Statistica Sinica 26: 1709-1728.
  • Guha, N. and Tan, X., 2017. Multilevel approximate Bayesian approaches for flows in highly heterogeneous porous media and their applications. Journal of Computational and Applied Mathematics, 317, pp.700-717.
  • Yang, K., Guha, N., Efendiev, Y. and Mallick, B.K., 2017. Bayesian and variational Bayesian approaches for flows in heterogeneous random media. Journal of Computational Physics, 345, pp.275-293.

M. Brendan Fleming Scholarship

We are grateful to the family of Emeritus Professor M. Brendan Fleming for their recent contributions to the department’s growing scholarship funds. Through their generous gifts to the department, theM. Brendan Fleming Scholarship will be awarded to a meritorious mathematics major each year starting in 2017.

Professor M. Brendan Fleming was on the Lowell Tech/ULowell/UMass Lowell faculty for over 35 years,retiring in June 1996. Widely acclaimed as an excellent teacher, he was at theforefront of using statistics software to teach statistical analysis. In addition to his teaching and service to the university, he serveda member of the Lowell City Council for nine terms between the years of 1969 and 1992. He was Mayor of Lowell from 1982 to 1984. He and his late wifeBernice raised seven children to become active successful members of their community.

Prof. M. Brendan Fleming

New Faculty: Prof. Jong Soo Lee

This fall, we have welcomed Dr. Jong Soo Lee to ourdepartment. Dr. Lee is a statistician who was most recently at the University of Delaware. His general research areas are functional data analysis, nonparametric statistics and the application of statistics.

Jong Soo earned his Ph. D. at Rice University with a thesis titled Aspects of Functional Data Inference and Its Applications (Advisor: Dennis Cox).


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Curriculum Guides in Mathematics: JMM2014 update

I attended a panel discussion on curriculum guides at the 2014 Joint Mathematics Meetings last week. Here are a few comments on them.

  • The CUPM Curriculum Guide is produced by the MAACommittee on the Undergraduate Program in Mathematicsto guide mathematics departments in designing curricula for their undergraduate students.The 2004 version was the last to come out. The new version will be out in 2015. We were told that a draft will appear in the near future.
  • In 2012, the Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences issued the latest recommendations for teacher preparation in mathematics: The Mathematical Education of Teachers II (MET2). A few highlights of the new recommendations:
    1. Elementary teachers should take four mathematics courses on elementary school mathematics. This doesn’t mean that the mathematics they are taught are elementary. The objective is to give teachers a deeper understanding of the mathematics that is taught in elementary grades. For example, while an elementary school teacher may teach division, coursework might include continued fractions or a study of the periodic nature of decimal fractions.
    2. Recommendations for middle school teachers include at least 24 credits of mathematics, including at least 15 credits designed specifically for future middle grades teachers that address essential ideas in the middle school curriculum.
    3. It is still recommended that prospective High school teachers complete coursework equivalent to that of a mathematics major. One change is that at least nine credits involve advanced study of secondary mathematics.
  • TheAmerican Statistical Association (ASA) will be releasingThe Statistical Education of Teachers (SET)in 2014. It is expected to put a greater emphasis on data analysis.
I think that a few developments at UMass Lowell have put us in a good position with respect to these recommendations. A few years ago, the College of Education and Mathematical Sciences Department collaborated with other UMass campuses on the development of mathematics courses for prospective elementary school teachers. This gives us a good start toward being in line with recommendations at that level.
UTeach UMass Lowell helps us at the middle and high school levels. Functions and Modeling (92.210), which is required for mathematics certification, revisits many high school topics from an advanced point of view. Research Method (UTL.302), which is required of all UTeach students, is a data analysis course that matches both MET2 and SET recommendations. Finally, the inquiry-based approach that many UTeach courses emphasize is consistent with that of all three curriculum guides.
There will be more for us to do to address these recommendations, but I think we are on the right track!