Baylor Mathematics Professor Awarded Distinguished Teaching Award

April 8, 2009
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Dr. John M. Davis, associate professor of mathematics at Baylor University

by Jaime Bates, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

Dr. John M. Davis, associate professor of mathematics at Baylor University, has been awarded the Distinguished Teaching Award from the Texas Section of the Mathematical Association of America. He will be honored at the association's annual meeting April 16- 18 at the University of North Texas.

Davis received his Ph.D. from Auburn University in 1998 and joined the Baylor faculty in 1999. In 2003, he received the Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award from Baylor.

"I came to Baylor because of the emphasis Baylor places on research and teaching," Davis said. "Excellence in one area does not preclude excellence in the other."

Davis, who began teaching as a graduate assistant in 1995, has now taught for more than 14 years. He has taught a variety of classes ranging from freshman calculus to junior level applied mathematics courses for engineers and specialized courses for mathematics doctoral students. Davis also has been actively engaged in the Advanced Placement (AP) Calculus program for about 10 years.

"I have been blessed to study under many truly excellent teachers," Davis said. "I have gleaned different traits from each of them and added them to my own methods to create my personal teaching style."

Davis has been involved in the Mathematical Association of America since he was a student. The award nomination required both former students and colleagues in the mathematics department to write on Davis' behalf.

"I am honored and humbled," said Davis. "Baylor is a special place in terms of the students I come in contact with, as well as the faculty who are genuinely interested and engaged in being successful teachers. I learn at least as much from my students as they do from me each semester.

"My goal each day, and each semester, is to bring something new and better to the classroom than I did the last time I taught the material," Davis said. "I want students to realize that mathematics is not a stale, esoteric subject, but rather one that is vibrant, stimulating and very much a part of the technological world today."

The Distinguished Teaching Award also puts Davis in the pool for the Mathematical Association of America's Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Awards for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics.

For more information on the Baylor mathematics department, visit or call (254) 710-3561.