SMCC professor one of six picked for national mathematics award

Florence Chambers, who is credited with being at the vanguard in using new technology in the instruction of finite mathematics, was named one of the American Mathematics Association of Two-Year Colleges’ (AMATYC) 2011 Teaching Award recipients, according to a recent announcement by her employer Southern Maine Community College.

Chambers arrived at SMCC in 2001, after building a national reputation in the early 1990s for her cross-country workshops on the use of the then-novel graphing calculator. Early in her tenure at the South Portland school, Chambers was instrumental in developing the community college’s finite mathematics curriculum, the school announcement explained.

SMCC Professor Florence Chambers accepts the coveted AMATYC Teaching Award in this photo provided by the school.

Finite mathematics is a grouping of math subjects outside of calculus — stuff like logic, business modeling and probability. If you’d like to learn more, take one of the Chambers’ courses. There’s a reason she won this AMATYC award and I didn’t.

Following up on her graphing calculator workshops, Chambers has continued to deliver presentations for audiences assembled by AMATYC and at the International Conference on Technology in Collegiate Math on the use of Microsoft’s Excel program in the aforementioned finite mathematics courses.

As for AMATYC, the organization only gives out these awards every two years, and according to its announcement, there are plenty of nominations. Chambers was one of six so honored in 2011.

Here are some statements provided by SMCC, first, from the AMATYC itself:

The total number of nominees was one of the largest ever received, and the outstanding level of professionalism exhibited by each nominee made the work of the Teaching Excellence Committee very challenging.

Now SMCC President Ronald Cantor:

The SMCC community is fortunate to have a professor of Florence’s caliber. She and her colleagues provide solid mathematical foundations for a skilled, innovative workforce.

And finally, Chambers herself:

I was deeply honored when the Mathematics Department here at SMCC nominated me for this award and was overwhelmed when I learned that I was one of this year’s recipients. Teaching has always been my passion. I thoroughly enjoy working with students, particularly at the community college level, and am honored to have the opportunity to play a role in their education.

It’s probably worth mentioning here, too, that this isn’t the first time Chambers has ever won anything in her 43-year teaching career, dating back prior to her arrival in Maine. Here’s a few more words from SMCC:

She has also received a National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development Award for Teaching Excellence, the Clarence Dissinger Award for the Development of Teaching from North Central College in Illinois, and the Illinois House of Representatives Certificate of Recognition of Educational Excellence.

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Seth Koenig

About Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.