Osama Ta’ani Named Ed and Marilyn Wixson Endowed Professor of Mathematics

June 11th, 2014 by blyndes

PSU Mathematics Professor Osama Ta’ani has been named the Ed and Marilyn Wixson Professor of Mathematics.

PLYMOUTH, N.H. –Plymouth State University mathematics professor Osama Ta’ani has been named the Ed and Marilyn Wixson Professor of Mathematics. Dr. Ta’ani teaches in the undergraduate and graduate mathematics programs for pre-service and in-service teachers. 

Dr. Ta’ani, who learned he had been named to the professorship in a call from President Sara Jayne Steen, said, “It is great to work in a place where faculty and staff work effectively and efficiently, and whether your contributions are great or small they are recognized and appreciated. The award gives me a public opportunity to thank my colleagues, who work with me to motivate and engage students in critical thinking to learn mathematics for life. To my colleagues and students I dedicate this honor.” 

Ed and Marilyn Wixson, both retired PSU mathematics faculty members, established the professorship in 2008 to celebrate and recognize faculty in the Department of Mathematics who are exemplary models of teaching, scholarship and service, or who show strong promise in these areas. PSU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Julie Bernier, said Ta’ani has earned a reputation as a skilled educator and committed faculty member. 

“I am pleased to see Dr. Ta’ani’s work recognized.  He is a wonderful teacher and well-respected researcher, someone extending our understanding of how mathematics can be well taught,” Bernier said.

Ta’ani joined the Department of Mathematics in 2011.  A native of Jordan, he earned a bachelor’s and a master’s in mathematics from the University of Mosul, one of the Middle East’s largest research centers, and a doctorate from New Mexico State University. He started his professional life teaching in primary and secondary schools in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United States. Ed Wixon said Ta’ani’s experience is good for PSU. 

“He has an interesting background and brings a unique experience to Plymouth State; I’m looking forward to hearing more from him and his ideas on education,” Wixon said. 

His research interests include mathematics education, the history of mathematics, and the use of historical sources in teaching mathematics. His research focuses on how teachers can integrate historical sources into the mathematics curriculum as instructional tools.  He has developed a variety of innovative methods to teach mathematics.  He has published internationally in his field and been recognized with multiple awards for teaching and for science education.  He is the graduate coordinator of PSU’s mathematics education programs. 

As the Wixson Professor, Ta’ani will offer an inaugural public lecture during the first year of his professorship. 

“During the three years of my professorship, I will conduct research on teaching mathematics to students with special needs by using visual representations to teach students with memory, cognitive, and visual-spatial problems,” Ta’ani said. 

“Second, in a collaborative effort with my colleagues in mathematics education, we will create a new master’s program to certify teachers as Elementary Mathematics Specialists.” 

Dr. Ta’ani’s work, then, will extend New Hampshire’s capacity in mathematics and contribute to much needed STEM education.  When students across the grade levels can be excited about the concepts of mathematics, they will be prepared to succeed in professions that require sophisticated mathematical skills. 

For more information about this release, contact Bruce Lyndes, PSU News Services Mgr., (603) 535-2775 or blyndes@plymouth.edu

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