Seaway Section of the MAA: Distinguished Teaching Awards


Dr. Thomas W. Rishel

Dr. Thomas W. Rishel has been selected to receive the Seaway Section's Distinguished Teaching Award. Dr. Rishel received his BS in Mathematics from Youngstown State University in 1962. His MS and PhD in Mathematics were obtained from the University of Pittsburgh with the PhD awarded in 1970. The title of his doctoral dissertation was "Some Aspects of Morita's M-spaces."

After receiving his PhD, Dr. Rishel was a Postdoctoral fellow at Dalhousi University before joining the Mathematics Department at Cornell University in 1974. He has been at Cornell ever since, holding his current position of Senior Lecturer since 1980. Also, he has been the Director of Undergraduate Teaching Staff for the Mathematics Department at Cornell University since 1989. In that position, he is responsible for hiring, training, coordinating, and scheduling the over 100 Teaching Assistants that the Department uses each year.

Dr. Rishel is regarded as an innovative and highly successful classroom teacher in the use of study sessions. He has created new courses, and encouraged undergraduate students to give talks, attend conferences and write articles. He is very involved with promoting expository writing in mathematics courses. He introduced writing in mathematics courses at Cornell University and has received grants, given talks and workshops, and published articles about the subject. He initiated the so-called "Occasional Seminar" which now meets weekly as a forum for his department to discuss the latest developments and issues in mathematics education. He consistently receives outstanding student evaluations. He was a recipient of the Clark Distinguished Teaching Award given by Cornell University.