2001 MTA Winner: Andy Foster
The math programs at Memorial University are both interesting and challenging. But aside from the courses to provide interest, the people of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics make pursuing a math degree fun. At the forefront are the professors, and every math student will admit that there was one or more professors who had a profound influence on them during their university career. One professor who expanded our math horizons is Dr. Foster, and for this we would like to nominate him for the 2001 Motivational Teaching Award.
To the classroom Dr. Foster brings an unparalleled enthusiasm. His lectures are informative, as he presents theory with appropriate examples to make the concepts more concrete. His assignments and exams are challenging, and makes students think more about the material covered. The assistance he provides with on-line Maple worksheets and examples are very convenient and instructive. Dr. Foster makes every effort to make the learning experience an interactive one, whereby feedback from the class is always encouraged (even when class is from 4-5 in the afternoon...). Plus, if you ever wanted to know what your favorite mathematicians looked like, you need only attend one of Dr. Foster's classes! Does anyone remember Frobenius from 3161?
Outside of class, Dr. Foster is very approachable, and always in a good mood. Regardless of the time, he is happy to help with any problem. Whether it be an example from the text or a problem with Maple, Dr. Foster greets students with enthusiasm and helpful solutions. But his grace doesn't stop once the course is over; even once a course with Dr. Foster is completed, he's happy to receive visits from former students with questions, advice on courses, or just to talk and catch up.
One of the best academic experiences that an undergraduate applied math student can take part in is the Undergraduate Mathematical Modeling Competition. This four-day intense competition tests both intelligence and endurance of the students, and it is Dr. Foster who is the liaison between the teams here at MUN and the MCM who issues the problems. Not only does he recruit students to take part in the contest, but he is most encouraging for the teams who may be somewhat intimidated by the difficult problems.
Dr. Foster is also quite active in developing and improving the mathematics programs here at MUN, and this department would not be the same without him. For his outstanding teaching and helpfulness, as well as his refreshing view and love for mathematics, we nominate Dr. Andy Foster for the 2001 Motivational Teaching Award.