CWUNews FeedNews Feed named interim director of the William O. Douglas Honors College, 28 Aug 2015 08:56:55<p><img alt="" src="/math/sites/" style="width: 200px; height: 300px; float: right;">Math professor Dominic Klyve has been named interim director of Central Washington University’s William O. Douglas Honors College (DHC). CWU Provost Marilyn Levine recently appointed the former director, Anne Cubilié, to the position of associate provost.</p><p>“This is an exciting time for the DHC,” said Klyve. “Enrollment in the Honors College has increased 90 percent during last six years. The number of students completing capstone projects has more than doubled, and the DHC has begun expanding programs for students.”</p><p>The DHC offers an interdisciplinary curriculum, and has recently established its four pillars of coordinated intellectual engagement—Critical Thinking, Undergraduate Research, Community-Based Research, and Leadership—which guide course selection and student capstone projects.</p><p>As the DHC’s associate director since 2014, Klyve promotes a broad and interdisciplinary research program and is deeply committed to undergraduate research. He has supervised more than 40 research students, and has published seven peer-reviewed publications with undergraduate students, and he holds several national leadership roles in the field.</p><p>During his time at Central, he has published research in journals in the fields of mathematics, gastroenterology, philosophy, linguistics, pedagogy, Shakespeare studies, and the history of biology. He looks forward to working with students to expand the diversity of their research experiences and their engagement with the broader scholarly community.&nbsp;</p><p>For the past three years, he has served as a councilor to the national Council on Undergraduate Research, and this year was elected chair of their Mathematics and Computer Science Division. He is the founding chair of the Special Interest Group on Undergraduate Research of the Mathematics Association of America, and he regularly travels around the country speaking to groups of students at the middle school, high school, and college levels.</p><p><strong>The Douglas Honors College</strong><br>Named for the late Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, the DHC has been in existence for more than 35 years. It’s designed to challenge students to reach their potential as writers, readers, speakers, and critical thinkers through interdisciplinary courses in the arts, humanities, and natural and social sciences taught by professors from throughout the university.</p><p><br>Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, Public Affairs, 509-963-1518,<br>&nbsp;</p></br></br></br>CWU Math Professor Awarded $1.5 Million Grant for Innovative TRIUMPHS Program, 17 Aug 2015 11:47:02<p><img alt="" src="/math/sites/" style="width: 167px; height: 250px; margin: 5px; float: left;">Washington’s most innovative math professor has developed a most innovative way to teach math. Central Washington University’s Dominic Klyve—of <a href="">weird numbers, Mozart and math, and juggling equations </a>fame—proposes to develop math curriculum based on primary historical sources. For example, if you want to learn about geometry, you start with Euclid’s original proofs.</p><p>The National Science Foundation has awarded Klyve $1.5 million for Transforming Instruction in Undergraduate Mathematics via Primary Historical Sources (TRIUMPHS), a national, seven-university collaboration to design, publish, and test a new curriculum. The grant money will be distributed among the institutions, with CWU receiving approximately $400,000. New Mexico State University, Colorado State University-Pueblo, Colorado University at Denver, Ursinus College in Pennsylvania, Xavier University in Ohio, and Florida State University will be participating in the grant.</p><p>“In just about every other discipline—history, philosophy, psychology—students read the original source material,” said Klyve. “In philosophy, students read Plato and Descartes, but our mathematics students don’t read Newton or Gauss.”&nbsp; Students are just given modern equations and theorems without any context as to how they were developed.&nbsp;</p><p>“Students are missing a big part of the picture they need to deeply understand the math we are teaching.”</p><p>The TRIUMPHS curriculum is based on primary source projects (PSPs), which will focus on a particular math principle or equation as it was developed by an historic mathematician. Students will study source documents of the original author, and through a series of exercises, develop a fuller understanding of the mathematics. Klyve and his collaborators will create and test at least 20 full-length primary source projects (PSPs) and 30 one-day mini-PSPs.</p><p>The curriculum will range from undergraduate pre-calculus classes to advanced abstract algebra and topology.</p><p>The advantage of the historical approach is that it provides context and direction to the mathematics. It also hones students’ verbal and deductive skills through reading the work of some of the greatest minds in history.</p><p>TRIUMPHS will also provide training in developing and implementing PSPs to more than 100 faculty members and doctoral students all across the country. An evaluation-with-research study is proposed to provide formative and summative feedback throughout the award period while contributing to the research base in STEM education. More than 50 faculty members from 31 geographically and institutionally diverse institutions have already committed to using them in their classes, including 16 faculty members at CWU.</p><p>“One of the strengths of this grant is the significant participation of [CWU] math faculty who agreed to test the curriculum,” noted Klyve. “They were great! It is the best place to teach math in the country. My colleagues’ complete support of this project helped us get the award.”</p><p>The TRIUMPHS program will start this fall quarter.</p><p><br>Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, Public Affairs, 509-963-1518,</p></br>Englund Named Interim CWU College of the Sciences Dean, 27 Apr 2015 10:50:19<p><img alt="" src="/math/sites/" style="width: 199px; height: 250px; margin: 7px; float: left;"><span style="line-height: 1.4;">Tim </span>Englund<span style="line-height: 1.4;">, professor of mathematics, was named as the interim dean of Central Washington University’s College of the Sciences (COTS). The current dean, Kirk Johnson, a professor of sociology, is retiring at the end of spring quarter.</span></p><p>Currently Englund serves as an associate dean in the college and has been successful in several COTS initiatives. Prior to joining the dean's office, he served one term as chair of the Mathematics Department and as the faculty coordinator for the Ronald E. McNair Scholarship program at CWU.</p><p>“I’m looking forward to serving the university in the role of interim dean,” said Englund. “My goal is to continue and complete many of the important projects that were started during Dean Johnson’s tenure, and provide support and leadership for our faculty.”</p><p>“Tim has brought leadership skills to his role as associate dean that will transfer very nicely to his new role as interim dean. He will provide the experience and knowledge of COTS that is needed,” said Provost Marilyn Levine.</p><p>Englund received his bachelor’s degree from Grand Valley State University, in Allendale, Michigan, and earned his doctorate from Michigan State University. He has been a member of the CWU mathematics faculty since 1998. His current primary research interests include interdisciplinary collaborations with colleagues in Nutrition and Health Sciences examining elementary school lunches. Previously, his research focused on the representation theory of Chevalley groups.</p><p>A dedicated ultramarathoner, Englund routinely participates in 50-mile (and longer) competitions. He recently raced—and won—the Big’s Backyard Ultra in Tennessee. Englund outlasted the field of 40 runners by running a total of 145.8 miles over a span of 35 consecutive hours. Big’s Backyard Ultra was a last-man-standing format, which is different than most ultras. The event was started as a fundraiser to help pay vet bills for an injured pit bull named Big.</p><p>The College of the Sciences is comprised of thirteen academic departments and eleven interdisciplinary programs in the natural, behavioral, social, and computational sciences. The college is also home to a number of affiliated programs focused on education, student learning, and research projects. The college currently consists of 170 full- and 62 part-time faculty and 40 staff located on the main campus in Ellensburg and at the Des Moines, Lynnwood, Moses Lake, Pierce, Wenatchee, and Yakima University Centers.</p><p>Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, Public Affairs, 509-963-1518,<br>&nbsp;</p></span style="line-height: 1.4;"></span style="line-height: 1.4;"></br>Free Program Helps Parents Understand, Have Fun with the New Math, 20 Apr 2015 15:19:51<p>Parents, are you having trouble helping your elementary or middle school student with math? Registration is now open for a free program at Lincoln Elementary School to bring together elementary students, parents, college students, and CWU faculty to engage in new methods for learning math.</p><p>Led by Central Washington University mathematics professors, the Math Circle begins on May 5, and will be held 6:30 to 7:30 every Tuesday evening through June 2. The program is designed for fourth- and fifth-graders and their parents. The Kittitas Valley Math Circle is part of a national movement that brings together faculty, students, and community members to have fun together doing math.</p><p>The Kittitas Valley Math Circle is special in that it will have two parts, one for elementary school students, and a separate session for their parents.</p><p>“I have colleagues at Central who have trouble understanding their children’s math homework.” said Dominic Klyve, CWU math professor, “It doesn’t look like the math they learned themselves.”</p><p>Students will have a blast playing games that will also help them understand math better.</p><p>Parents throughout Kittitas County and central Washington are encouraged to apply—“We’d love to see people from Yakima, if they’re willing to make the drive,” said Klyve.</p><p>The Math Circle will be taught by mathematics faculty Brandy Wiegers, Founding Director of the National Organization of Math Circles; Klyve; Janet Shiver;and Allyson Rogan-Klyve. Six undergraduate mathematics majors will also help with the program.</p><p>The class is limited to the first 30 students who apply. People may register for the program through May 5, at</p><p>Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, Public Affairs, 509-963-1518,<br>April 20, 2015</p></br>Solve the Clues and Break the Code! Register for Kryptos by April 16, 14 Apr 2015 13:06:47<p>Codes, ciphers and secret encryptions have protected and hidden vital information for centuries—and are an important factor in our age of encryption and password protection. Enter the annual Kryptos Competition and see if you have what it takes to be a code breaker!</p><p>The 2015 Kryptos Competition runs from April 16 to April 20. Registration is open and will remain open until noon on April 16. Register at</p><p>When the contest begins at 4:00 p.m. on April 16, the Cipher Challenges will be available at the website noted above. Solutions need to be submitted by 4:00 p.m. April 20. All times are Pacific Daylight Time.</p><p><img alt="" src="/math/sites/" style="width: 448px; height: 252px;"></p><p>The Kryptos competition is a unique codebreaking challenge developed by Central Washington University mathematics professor Stuart Boersma, and his colleague, Cheryl Beaver, a Western Oregon University mathematics professor. Open to undergraduate students, Kryptos is centered on the breaking, or cryptanalysis, of ciphers (secret writing). Each challenge presents contestants with a brief scenario together with some ciphertext (encoded message). The goal is to discover the original English plaintext message.</p><p>“Although this is primarily for college undergraduates, I certainly welcome contestants from high schools,” said Boersma. “While most of our students are from the Pacific Northwest, since this is an online contest, people can enter from just about anywhere in the world.”</p><p>Individual undergraduate students, or teams of up to three, are eligible to participate. Each individual or team must have a faculty sponsor to register. Last year, there were nearly 100 entrants and this year is on pace for the greatest number of participants ever.</p><p>For more information, go to the Kryptos website,, or e-mail Stuart Boersma,</p><p>The contest is sponsored by the Pacific Northwest section of the Mathematical Association of America.</p><p><br>Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, Public Affairs, 509-963-1518,</p></br>CWU Math Modelers Among Best in the World, 22 Apr 2014 14:53:56<p>At the 2014 Mathematical Competition in Modeling (MCM), teams from Central Washington University earned rankings in the top 10 percent of more than 6,700 universities and colleges from all over the world. Both CWU teams earned a Meritorious ranking—one of the highest honors teams can receive. CWU was one of only three schools in the United States in which all the teams were rated as Meritorious.</p><p>“I’ve known that our students were exceptional, but to see both teams score this high is really extraordinary,” said James Bisgard, mathematics professor and the advisor to CWU’s modeling teams. “In the seven years I’ve advised teams, we’ve had a total of ten teams compete.”</p><p>The MCM is an annual international competition, with teams of three students developing and analyzing mathematical models to address real world questions. This year's competition had a choice of two challenges. In one, the team would develop a ranking for college coaches over all sports and times periods. In another, the team would develop a model for traffic flow determining whether or not the keep-right-except-to-pass rule is useful.&nbsp;</p><p>The two MCM teams chose different problems. The team of John-Paul Mann, Nathan Minor, and Benjamin J. Squire chose Problem A, the Keep-Right-Except-To-Pass-Rule. Adam Brand, Albany Thompson, and Nathaniel Deardorff chose Problem B, College Coaching Legends.</p><p>“The MCM is one of the greatest opportunities I've been involved with thus far in my college career,” said John-Paul Mann, a senior who is majoring in both mathematics and physics. “It provided a great opportunity to apply all the skills I've developed throughout my studies, including math, physics, logic, data analysis, effective essay writing, and most importantly team collaboration. Having all our hard work and hours pay off with a great standing in the competition wasn't too bad either.”</p><p>Such problems are exceptionally difficult, because of the inherent vagueness of “best” or “useful.” As a result, there is no single right answer for these types of problems. Teams are judged by the cleverness of their model, as well as how well they communicate their model and its results in a written report.</p><p>The MCM competition lasts only 96 hours: from 5:00 p.m. on Thursday until 5:00 p.m. the following Monday (Pacific Standard Time). Teams must work almost around the clock to develop a model and to write a report. This year’s competition was held February 6-10 and judging was completed in March. The results will be posted on April 29.</p><p>The MCM is sponsored by COMAP, the Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications, an award-winning non-profit organization whose mission is to improve mathematics education for students of all ages. Since 1980, COMAP has worked with teachers, students, and business people to create learning environments where mathematics is used to investigate and model real issues in our world.</p><p><br>Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, Public Affairs, 509-963-1518,</p><p>&nbsp;</p></br>Attention Spy Kids! Krytpos, a Codebreaking Challenge, Begins April 10, 07 Apr 2014 11:58:26<p><img alt="" src="/math/sites/" style="width: 448px; height: 252px;"></p><p>From the <em>Da Vinci Code</em> to <em>Windtalkers</em>*, people are fascinated by secret messages, encryptions, and ciphers. Now students have a chance to see if they have what it takes to be a code breaker!</p><p>The Kryptos competition is a unique codebreaking challenge developed by Central Washington University mathematics professor Stuart Boersma, and his colleague, Cheryl Beaver, a Western Oregon University mathematics professor. Open to undergraduate students, Kryptos is centered on the breaking, or cryptanalysis, of ciphers (secret writing). Each challenge presents contestants with a brief scenario together with some ciphertext (encoded message). The goal is to discover the original English plaintext message.</p><p>“Although this is primarily for college undergraduates, I certainly welcome contestants from high schools,” said Boersma. “While most of our students are from the Pacific Northwest, since this is an online contest, people can enter from just about anywhere in the world.”</p><p>Individual undergraduate students, or teams of up to three, are eligible to participate. Each individual or team must have a faculty sponsor to register. Last year, there were more than 100 entrants. Even if you don’t qualify as a contestant, you can go to the Kryptos website,, to look at the previous years’ challenges and solutions—and test your skills as a cryptanalyst.</p><p>According to Boersma, who is teaching an upper level mathematics course in cryptology this spring, many of the challenges are based on historical ciphers that pre-date World War II. And while computers can be helpful in breaking some of the codes, most can be solved—if a little tediously—with paper and pencil.&nbsp;</p><p>“The main objective is to have fun,” said Boersma. “Most students with a little familiarity with ciphers or code-breaking will be able to solve the challenges. They aren’t overly technical nor do they use advanced mathematical algorithms.”</p><p>He continues, “While we haven’t had a challenge in Navajo—yet—there was an audio challenge in a previous year!”</p><p>When the contest begins at 4:00 p.m. on April 10, the 2014 Cipher Challenges will be posted on the Kryptos website. Solutions need to be submitted by 4:00 p.m. April 14. All times are Pacific Daylight Time.</p><p>For more information, go to the Kryptos website,, or e-mail Stuart Boersma,</p><p>The contest is sponsored by the Pacific Northwest section of the <a href="">Mathematical Association of America.</a></p><p>*<em>Windtalkers</em> is a 2002 film about the use of the Navajo code in World War II. The Navajo code was based on: 1) the Navajo language—an extremely difficult language; and 2) a code embedded in the language, meaning that even native speakers would be confused by it. Supposedly, this code was close to unbreakable, and so difficult that only a few people could actually learn it. (from Wikipedia)</p><p><br>Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, Public Affairs, 509-963-1518,</p></br>Juggling Math Professor Receives MAA National Teaching Award, 04 Feb 2014 11:48:58<p><img alt="" src="/math/sites/" style="width: 213px; height: 320px;"></p><p>Juggling. Weird numbers. Mozart. What do these things have in common? They have Dominic Klyve [KLEE-vee], an uncommonly gifted mathematics professor at Central Washington University.</p><p>Klyve recently received the national Henry L. Alder Award for Distinguished Teaching from the <a href="">Mathematics Association of America</a>. Klyve is the first winner from Washington State in the 18-year history of the award. The Alder Award goes to individuals whose teaching has been extraordinarily successful and who have had influence beyond their own classrooms.</p><p>“I’m absolutely thrilled,” said Klyve. “It gives national recognition to my department and my students, as well as being a tremendous honor for me. This wouldn’t have been possible if I had been at an institution other than Central—because our math department is so good, and is so deeply engaged in teaching.”</p><p>In his first four years at Central, he has taught a surprising variety of classes, developed new ones, and founded a Mathematics Honors Program. He has engaged first-year statistics students in analyzing a countywide nutrition survey, where they discovered a statistically significant link between freezers and hunger. His undergraduate students have recently discovered the largest weird number* in the world. And he has developed a Math 101 class for music majors that explores regression and correlation in Mozart’s sonatas.</p><p>“I have to give credit to my colleagues for so much of this,” he enthused. “Ian Quitadamo [science education professor] encouraged me to involve my students in community-based inquiry. The math and music class was created by Todd Shiver [music chair and professor. I’m especially grateful to my chair, Tim Englund for nominating me for this award.”</p><p>In this collegial atmosphere, Klyve has flourished as a teacher who, according to one undergraduate, instills “a lingering love for mathematics” in his students. He is a regular speaker on mathematics (and a teacher of juggling!) at Wisconsin's Suzuki music festival. In fact, he is so intrigued with juggling that he formulated an equation that mathematically determines how juggling balls fall (“A Zeta Function for Juggling Sequences,” Journal of Combinatorics and Number Theory, 01/2012).</p><p>He has already built a reputation as a popular lecturer. He has been invited to schools throughout the United States to speak about his work.&nbsp; In 2013, the University of Canterbury brought him to New Zealand to teach a five-week course in the History of Mathematics.</p><p>He is currently working on a grant to teach math using original, historical sources and has recruited dozens of mathematicians across the country to develop projects to teach math using the history of mathematics.</p><p>Klyve was also cited for combining teaching with scholarship.</p><p>“Undergraduate research is really important to me,” he said, “and I’m lucky that so many CWU students are interested in pursuing research projects.”</p><p>Since coming to Central four years ago, he has written six papers with students for publication in international research journals. He is a Councilor on the national “Council on Undergraduate Research,” and will serve as the first president of the Math Association of America’s Special Interest Group on Undergraduate Research.</p><p>Klyve<span style="line-height: 1.4;"> also teaches for the William O. Douglas Honors College at </span>CWU<span style="line-height: 1.4;">. He has had multiple courses accepted by the </span>DHC<span style="line-height: 1.4;"> Advisory Committee and he is consistently one of their most beloved and popular professors</span></p><p>In addition to his college coursework, he is active in working with high school students. In addition to bringing the American Mathematics Competition to Ellensburg two years ago, he teaches under-represented and first-generation high school students during the summers as part of the Upward Bound Program.</p><p>“I’ve known for a long time that I love math, and I love explaining things to people,” said Klyve. “I’m grateful to have a supportive department and chair that allow me the freedom to pursue what I love to do.”</p><p><br>*Weird numbers are those in which no combination of its divisors adds up to the original number. For example, the smallest weird number is 70; its divisors are 1, 2, 5, 7, 10, 14, and 35. No combination of any or all of its factors equal 70.</p><p>Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, Public Affairs, 509-963-1518,</p><p>&nbsp;</p></span style="line-height: 1.4;"></span style="line-height: 1.4;"></span style="line-height: 1.4;"></br>CWU math students calculate what no mathematician has before, 05 Dec 2013 07:34:17<p><img alt="" src="/math/sites/" style="width: 294px; height: 171px;"></p><p>Math students at Central Washington University say they’ve broken a 37-year-old world record for the largest weird number — a figure that stretches 226 digits long.</p><p>Weird numbers — yes, that’s actually a mathematically accepted term — are numbers that can be divided by smaller numbers that can never add up to the original number.</p><p>Read more of this story in the<a href=""> Yakima Herald Republic.</a></p>CWU Math Students Break World Record for Largest Weird Number, 04 Dec 2013 07:32:00<p><img alt="" src="/math/sites/" style="width: 225px; height: 225px;"></p><p>Mathematics students at Central Washington University have broken a world record—they found the largest “weird number” yet discovered: 1,304,478,802,221,037,336,898,806,955,880,590,950,108,213,611,184,211,428,152,436, 309,358,286,058,099,789,749,839,735,498,620,012,494,920,476,023,972,998,095,015,247,872.</p><p>Mathematicians use the term “weird” informally to describe a number that has unusual characteristics. In this case, a weird number is one in which no combination of its divisors add up to the original number. Divisors are numbers that can be divided into a whole number to yield a quotient that is a whole number. For example, in the smallest weird number, 70, its divisors are 1, 2, 5, 7, 10, 14, and 35. No combination of these numbers will add up to 70. Weird!</p><p>According to Dominic Klyve, CWU mathematics professor and advisor, a better understanding of weird numbers leads to a better understanding of factorization, which is the basis of all modern cryptography—the art of writing or solving codes.</p><p>No one knows how common weird numbers are, and looking for big ones is hard. Until last week, the previous record had stood for more than 35 years—the reigning champion was a 53-digit number discovered by Stanley Kravitz in 1976. Then a group of five CWU students—Luke Campbell, Anna Cockrum, Jacob Darst, Jeremy Klarich, and Michael McDonald—together with Klyve, decided to try to find a bigger one.&nbsp;</p><p>Such a search requires both creative thinking and computing power. Bill Glessner of CWU’s Networks and Operations division of the Information Technology office set up several old research computer clusters for students and faculty. By working quickly during seminar, and holding early morning meetings to pursue their mathematics before classes started, the math team found a way to use Kravitz’s ideas from his 1976 paper to look for weird numbers on some of these computer clusters.</p><p>Their method quickly proved successful. They broke Kravitz’s record by finding a 74-digit weird number. Encouraged by their success, they pushed their calculations further—at last count, they had found over a dozen numbers which break the old record—the largest so far is 127 digits. They plan to keep working through Christmas break, and hope for several new world records in the near future.</p><p>Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, Public Affairs, 509-963-1518,</p>