Mathematics, Computer Science, Statistics and Physics
The Department of Mathematics, Computer Science and Physics at Roanoke College has a long history of preparing students to succeed after graduation. Our past graduates have become Associate Director of the FBI and the developer of the McAfee anti-virus software. Our graduates are pursuing, or have successfully completed, advanced degrees at schools such as Yale, Virginia Tech, University of Virginia, William and Mary, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Clemson University, Indiana University and the University of Tennessee.
- Our graduates are currently employed in positions such as Operations Research analyst, computer programmers, systems analysts and research physicists at such companies as Booz Allen Hamilton, Mitre, IBM, Honeywell International, and Blue Cross.
- Our faculty are actively engaged in research in such areas as neural networks and radar identification and nanotechnology. However, we all recognize our major responsibility is excellence in teaching. All faculty members teach first year liberal arts students as well as senior majors.
The departmental faculty is also committed to involving undergraduates in research. This involves one-on-one interaction with a faculty member involving a topic of mutual interest. These independent studies are quite beneficial to graduates seeking entrance to graduate schools or employment opportunities. Such one-on-one interaction with faculty is generally not available to undergraduates at large universities, however the College offers a myriad of ways for students to gain valuable research knowledge.
A Brief Vision Statement
The MCSP department strives to be an energetic department of teachers, mentors and scholars. As teachers, we must constantly innovate to present our disciplines in the most effective way to a changing student audience. As mentors, we want to involve students in undergraduate research and extracurricular experiences that help bring the students into our disciplines as colleagues. As scholars, we seek to be active and contribute in ways that enhance our understanding of our disciplines and develop professional relationships that provide support for our work.
In pursuing these ideals, a number of specific challenges face the department in the years ahead. We must increase collaboration on our courses and scholarly activities, and improve our cooperation on multi-section courses. While increasing the department's visibility on and off campus, we must maintain and improve our commitment to outstanding classroom teaching. We must continue to identify the appropriate use of technology, and more aggressively pursue the multimedia facilities needed to effectively use this technology. We should work closely with other departments to create interdisciplinary courses and make stronger connections to other disciplines in our own courses.
A description of our vision in one word might be "buzz." Our department should be a hive of faculty and students actively engaged in exciting work. Through funded, sustainable research programs, faculty and students would be involved in the free exchange of intellectual ideas, challenge and encourage each other to new levels of achievement, and provide a stimulating and attractive environment for all. When colleagues across campus and at other institutions discuss mathematics and science education, our names should surface as faculty and programs that contribute in important ways. We should be at the forefront of innovative pedagogy, classroom implementation of technology, and undergraduate research opportunities. This positive image of involvement and excellence is our goal, and with the proper effort by all departmental members, one which we will achieve.
“If I can help pique my students’ interest in research and scientific careers, I feel that I have done my job as a professor to promote an extended education,” Dr. Balasubramanian says.