What Is Success?

Panel Discussion 11:00-12:30
African-American Mathematics: Successes and Challenges I

Moderator: Kenneth Elmore, Dean of Students, Boston University


  • Lloyd Douglas, Program Director, The National Science Foundation
  • Jonathan D. Farley, Department of Applied Mathematics, MIT
  • Roosevelt Gentry, Department of Mathematics, Jackson State University
  • Kenneth Manning, Program in Science, Technology, and Society, MIT
  • Raymond Thomas, Department of Mathematics, Medgar Evers College, CUNY
    Panel Discussion 3:30-5:00
    African-American Mathematics: Successes and Challenges II

    Moderator: Steven Rosenberg, Chairman, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Boston University


  • Terrence Richard Blackman, Department of Mathematics, Medgar Evers College, CUNY
  • Emery Brown, Director, Neuroscience Statistics Research Laboratory, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Jimmie Davis, Senior Software Systems Engineer, The MITRE Corporation
  • Roscoe Giles, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Boston University
  • Donald King, Department of Mathematics, Northeastern University

    Kenneth Elmore is a BU Alum, a graduate of Brown University and the New England School of Law and has practiced law as an attorney at a Boston law firm before returning to the University in 2003. The dean of students is responsible for overseeing more than 350 student organizations and directing the student services and programs of such departments as the Office of Residence Life, the Office of Career Services, the George Sherman Union, Orientation and Off-Campus Services, Judicial Affairs, Multicultural Affairs, and the Community Service Center.

    Steven Rosenberg has chaired the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Boston University since 1998.

    Lloyd Douglas held a Senior Teaching Fellowship (1974-1977) in the Department of Mathematics at Boston University, as well as being a mathematics tutor in the university's Resident Tutor Program. He has worked since 1984 at the National Science Foundation, where he is currently Program Director in the Infrastructure Program of the Division of Mathematical Sciences in the Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences. In 2002 he received the "NSF Director's Award for Equal Opportunity".

    Professor Jonathan David Farley graduated summa cum laude from Harvard University in 1991 with the second-highest grade point average in his graduating class. He obtained his doctorate in mathematics from Oxford University in 1995, after winning Oxford's highest mathematics awards, the Senior Mathematical Prize and Johnson University Prize, in 1994.
    In 2001-2002, he was a Fulbright Distinguished Scholar to the United Kingdom. He was one of only four Americans to win this award.
    His most recent mathematical accomplishments include the solution to a problem posed by MIT professor Richard Stanley in 1981 and a problem posed by combinatorialist Richard Rado dating to 1971.
    Prof. Farley's work on counterterrorism was recently profiled in The Chronicle of Higher Education and in Science News Online.
    He is the 2004 recipient of the Harvard Foundation's Distinguished Scientist Award.
    Professor Farley's fields of interest are lattice theory and the theory of ordered sets.

    Kenneth Manning is the Thomas Meloy Professor at MIT. His main areas of research are History of Science, Biography. Books include Black Apollo of Science: the Life of Ernest Everett Just (Oxford University Press, 1983), winner of the Lucy Hampton Bostick Book Award in 1984, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in biography for 1984. Professor Manning teaches in the MIT Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies.

    Dr. Jimmie L. Davis, Jr. was born and raised in Miami, Florida. Completed undergraduate studies in the Atlanta University Center's Dual Degree Engineering program earning a B.S. in mathematics and physics from Morehouse College and a B.EE. in electrical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. While at Morehouse, Davis was a four-year starter for the football team and still holds several school passing records.
    For his graduate studies, Davis received a MS in mathematics from Georgia Tech followed by MS.EE. and Doctor of Engineering degrees from the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Dr. Davis currently holds the position of Senior Software Systems Engineer at The MITRE Corporation in Bedford. His areas of technical research and experimentation include Satellite Communications, Cryptography, Wireless LANs, and Markov Decision Processes.
    Dr. Davis is a husband and father currently residing in Jamaica Plain.

    From Terrence Richard Blackman: I have taught Mathematics within CUNY in some capacity since 1990. I started as a tutor in the Math Workshop at Kingsborough Community College. I was at that time an undergraduate at Brooklyn College. At Brooklyn College I worked as the MATHEMATICA Assistant to an experimental calculus class. In September of 1993, I came to the Medgar Evers College as a Graduate Teaching Fellow. In Fall of 1996, I went to Lehman College as an Adjunct Lecturer and I returned to Medgar Evers in the Fall of 2000 as a Substitute Instructor. During this time I also worked in the Family College at KCC, the REACH program at MEC, the SEEK program at John Jay College, and as an Adjunct Lecturer in the Department of Mathematics and The Freshman Year Program at MEC. In the fall of 2002, I became a full time member of the faculty at MEC.
    Over the course of these postings I have taught, with success, most of the courses that span the undergraduate mathematics curriculum. In particular, I possess a long history of successfully teaching at the undergraduate level and, moreover, a serious commitment to teaching minorities in urban environments.
    The purpose of teaching is to facilitate understanding. Understanding, measured, not simply by the capacity to memorize and recite facts presented, but by the ability to critically engage with, and to utilize those facts in diverse spheres of endeavors. This challenge requires that ongoing thought be given to modes of communication. I have tried to do this and my record attests to some success in this endeavor.
    Over the years through study and experience, I have developed a philosophy of teaching, which has at its core four ideas.
    i. Depth of understanding: My experience has taught me that when one has mastered some, however small, aspect of mathematics, the confidence that is gained is easily translated into other areas.
    ii. Given enough time, motivation and help anyone can and will learn.
    iii. The role of the teacher/lecturer is to discern for each student the measures in which these quantities must be allotted.
    iv. Above all the overriding theme must be excellence in all endeavors.