The University of Iowa is getting national recognition for its efforts to lure minorities into its graduate mathematics program. David Manderscheid, a U-of-I math professor and department chair, says the program is being recognized by the American Mathematical Society for bringing more underrepresented minorities into the field.
Manderscheid says they’ve been working with minority schools both inside and outside of Iowa to make sure more U-S citizens go onto careers in math and now the U-of-I is the largest producer of minority P-H-Ds in the country in mathematics. He says the national award recognizes that the U-of-I is using innovative programs to attract and cultivate students from underrepresented groups to expand the number of potential math majors and grad students at a time when the talent pool is shrinking.
Manderscheid says the entire faculty is committed to the program and now 20-percent of the grad students in math are minorities versus the national average of three-percent while the Iowa average is about five-percent U-S minorities. He says “It’s just an amazing statistic.” Manderscheid says he hopes the U-of-I programs will be a model for other math departments across the country as the nation tries to alleviate the critical shortage of American citizens entering the field of mathematics.
He says minorities are comprising a greater and greater percentage of the U-S population, now at 27-percent, and “that’s untapped talent and for reasons of national interest, more U-S citizens is better and if you’re not attracting 25-percent of the population, then you’re missing some people, missing some talent.” Manderscheid says “It is my hope that this recognition will help publicize successful programs and foster their spread.”