LSU College of Science
LSU  | Mathematics

Department of Mathematics 5-Year Strategic Plan 2014-2018 (May 2015)

MISSION

Our mission: to create and disseminate mathematics through excellence in research, publication, collaboration, and instruction at all levels.

VISION

We envision ourselves being a national leader, and the preeminent center in the south, in mathematics research and education.

CURRENT STATUS

At the start of 2014-2015 we had 36 full professors (plus Boyd Professor emeritus Jiimmie Lawson, who continues part time), 10 associate professors, and 5 assistant professors.  Four of these faculty hold half-time appointments in CCT.  This gives 49.68  FTE professorial faculty.  This is a decrease from the 51.5 professorial FATE faculty we had last year.  In addition, we had 15 full-time instructors and 1 part-time, giving 15.79 FTE instructors.  We  hired assistant professor Stefan van Zwam and instructor Selena Oswalt.  Nicholson Professor Kuo retired in May, 2014, and instructor Nell McAnelly retired in December, and instructors Gerry Fitch and Martin Forrest retired in May, 2015.   We have 2 professional support staff and 4 classified support staff, one who is on extended medical leave.   We have 3 departmental postdocs and 3 postdocs with external support.

 During 2013-2014 (the last year for which EIS data is available) the math department taught a total of 59,190 student credit hours. During the same period, the department brought in 3,542,086 dollars in grant funding.  Of this, 1,288,460 dollars were in federal funding.  This is an increase of 1,126,548 dollars over the previous year, and an increase in federal funding of 157,523 dollars.

STRATEGIC GOALS

  1. Promote our national visibility and impact.
  2. Increase our research and grant activity.
  3. Increase our Ph.D. production and placement.
  4. Prepare well-educated math majors for graduate school and for careers in secondary education, business, industry, and government.

STRATEGIC DIRECTION 1: Expansion of our research and grant activity.

  • Action: Increase our number of research faculty to support our postdoctoral and graduate programs. Grow to 56 highly qualified FTE professorial faculty lines by 2018.
  • Indicator: Increase number of FTE professorial faculty by at least 1 each year until the number of FTE professorial faculty is 56.
  • Action: Have a research/teaching/service workload balance consistent with national leaders.
  • Indicator: Proportion of professorial faculty with no more than 9 hours annual teaching load to all professorial faculty should rise by 2% annually in each of the next five years.

STRATEGIC DIRECTION 2: Mentor postdoctoral researchers to start successful research careers at universities across the country.

  • Action: Increase the number of postdoctoral researchers each year until a steady state of 6 is reached, to help support our vertically integrated graduate and undergraduate programs. Place postdoctoral researchers in Carnegie research extensive universities when they leave the department.
  • Indicator: At least half the postdocs leaving the department will find positions at Carnegie research extensive universities.

STRATEGIC DIRECTION 3: Prepare graduate students for postdoctoral research positions, careers in higher education, business, industry, and government.

  • Action: Grow to 110 graduate students by 2018 seeking a math Ph.D.
  • Indicator: Increase number of TA lines by 2 a year.
  • Action: Increase the diversity of the graduate student population.
  • Indicator: Increase number of women graduate students by 2% each year. Maintain our efforts to recruit minority graduate students.
  • Action: Provide funding for graduate student travel to mathematics research conferences, meetings, and research collaboration at other universities.
  • Indicator: At least ten graduate students should travel to conference, meetings, and research collaborations each year.
  • Action: Place graduate students in postdoctoral researcher positions.
  • Indicator: At least 30% of graduating doctoral students will be placed in postdoctoral researcher positions.

STRATEGIC DIRECTION 4: Stabilize our professional teaching force and integrate it better into the department.

  • Action: Increase Instructor employment security and integration as a vital part of our department.
  • Indicator: Have 3-year rolling contracts for Instructors by end of 5 years.
  • Action: Hire a new instructor each year to ensure a smooth transition in the technically demanding operation of very large computer-based general education classes, in anticipation of retirements of experienced instructors. The instructor ranks should stabilize at 15 after 5 years.
  • Indicator: Increase number of full-time Instructors by 1 each year until there are 15.

STRATEGIC DIRECTION 5: Prepare math majors to be successful in graduate school and in careers in secondary education, business, industry, and government.

  • Action: Increase number of math majors to 250, assuming the availability of the planned faculty and TA resources discussed above. Increase number attending math summer REU’s. Increase number attending graduate school and post-baccalaureate professional programs. In conjunction with the Alumni Association, track our students at least 5 years after graduation.
  • Indicator: Increase number of math majors by 20 a year. Increase number attending summer REU’s by 2 each year until 10 or more attend REU’s each year. Increase number attending graduate school or post-baccalaureate professional programs by 5 each year.

 

Annual Report

LSU Department of Mathematics

Academic Year 2014-2015

At the start of 2014-2015 we had 36 full professors (plus Boyd Professor emeritus Jiimmie Lawson, who continues part time), 10 associate professors, and 5 assistant professors.  Four of these faculty hold half-time appointments in CCT.  This gives 49.68  FTE professorial faculty.  This is a decrease from the 51.5 professorial FATE faculty we had last year.  In addition, we had 15 full-time instructors and 1 part-time, giving 15.79 FTE instructors.  We  hired assistant professor Stefan van Zwam and instructor Selena Oswalt.  Nicholson Professor Kuo retired in May, 2014, and instructor Nell McAnelly retired in December, and instructors Gerry Fitch and Martin Forrest retired in May, 2015.   We have 2 professional support staff and 4 classified support staff, one who is on extended medical leave.   We have 3 departmental postdocs and 3 postdocs with external support.

 During 2013-2014 (the last year for which EIS data is available) the math department taught a total of 59,190 student credit hours. During the same period, the department brought in 3,542,086 dollars in grant funding.  Of this, 1,288,460 dollars were in federal funding.  This is an increase of 1,126,548 dollars over the previous year, and an increase in federal funding of 157,523 dollars.

 In calendar year 2014, the department published 70 papers in refereed journals listed in MathSciNet (83 reported in annual reports).  Another 56 papers were accepted in 2014.   This compares to 110 published and 59 accepted in 2013.  This reduction of 30 over the previous year could be a standard fluctuation in annual productivity or it could represent a real decrease.  It will be monitored closely for trends.

 

Some highlights:

 

  • The volume 19, March 2015 issue of Annals of Combinatorics was dedicated to Boyd Professor James Oxley for his life-long work on matroid theory.
  • Michael Malisoff received 3 best presentation awards for papers presented at conferences.  In addition, he was awarded the LSU Mid-Career Rainmaker award.
  • Rob Lipton was awarded a Multi-Disciplinary Research Initiative (MURI) grant from the Department of Defense.
  • Sue Brenner gave two plenary addresses: AMS Invited Speaker, Greensboro, North Carolina, November 8-9, 2014, and International Conference On Spectral and High Order Methods, Salt Lake City, June 23-27, 2014.
  • Hongchao Zhang was awarded the LSU Emerging Scholar Rainmaker award.
  • As a follow-up to the major international conference on automorphic forms held at LSU April 12-14, 2014, Ling Lonog organized a second conference at LSU, April 6-7, 2015, on hypergeometric series and modular forms.
  • Jim Madden and Charles Delzell organized a conference on Ordered Algebraic Structures at LSU, May, 2014.
  • Math majors Rachel Keller and Bruno Beltran have been awarded NSF graduate fellowships.
  • Seven graduating math majors will pursue doctorates at elite graduate schools:

    Bruno Beltran: Chemical and Systems Biology at Stanford University
    Rachael Keller: Applied Mathematics at Columbia University
    Bryce Lelbach: Computer Science at UC Berkeley
    Jason Mueller: Centre for Quantum Photonics at the University of Bristol (UK)
    Ian Runnels: Mathematics at the University of Virginia
    Avery St. Dizier: Mathematics at Cornell University
    Jeremy Tillay: Computational and Applied Mathematics at Rice University
    Paxton Turner: Mathematics at MIT (starting in 2016)

 

Our goal of increasing our professorial faculty did not come to fruition due to the financial situation of the university.  We are still concerned about the low funding of the graduate program.  We have many highly qualified applicants, but insufficiently many teaching assistantships to support them.

 

We continue to try to hire more women and minority faculty.  This is a multi-year endeavor.  Apart from these challenges, we met or exceeded most of  our goals in 2014.