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Mathematics Colloquium


Date:  Monday, January 16, 2006

Title:  The Arc of the Moral Universe

Abstract:  During the period 2003-2004, 1041 Ph.D.s were awarded in the mathematical sciences in the United States. Of this number 441 were U.S. citizens or permanent residents and of this latter number, 18 were African-Americans, 14 were Latina/Latino and five were American Indians or Pacific Islanders. These numbers, low as they are, have been essentially stable for the last twenty years. By contrast, the Department of Mathematics at the University of Iowa, a majority department at a majority university in a state with relatively few minority citizens, has awarded six Ph.D.s to underrepresented minority students in the last three years. It expects to produce an average of three such Ph.D.s per year for the foreseeable future. My hope in this talk is to focus on how this happened: the process by which a department transformed itself over ten years from a standard majority department to a department which has begun to move beyond race and ethnicity. I will explain and illustrate that such a transformation is not based on recruitment and retention, although it leads to success in both areas. It is based, instead, on a profound desire to live and work in a department that encourages and supports the hopes, dreams and aspirations of young mathematicians from all parts and populations of our nation. It is this desire itself that is transformative and it is the locating and nurturing of this desire in its faculty, staff and students which must be the goal of any department which desires such change.

Speaker:  Philip Kutzko
Institution:  University of Iowa


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