We in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics welcome you to the Department, whether you are majoring in one of our programmes, taking a course required by another programme, or taking a course for general interest. The faculty members in the Department value both the beauty and the utility of their discipline. They are dedicated to exploring and developing new ideas in mathematics and statistics, and to helping you to explore, understand, appreciate and make use of those ideas.
This Minicalendar is intended to help you with the practical side of your studies, in particular to assist you to choose the programmes and courses best suited to your needs and interests. You should read it in conjunction with the York Undergraduate Programmes Calendar, which contains the "official" legally binding University and Faculty regulations. However, there are some programme regulations which are new for this year and so are not in previous years' Calendars. Therefore, I urge you to fill out the updated checklist for the programme of your choice (pages 34-42 in hard copy minicalendar) before enrolling in courses.
You will know that York University, like all Ontario universities, is coping with financial cutbacks. This Department, like all others, has been forced to reduce the number of courses it offers and to increase class sizes. The former means in particular that some courses are being offered jointly with Atkinson College, and are offered in the evening. Some of you will not be able to get into your preferred section and may have a less attractive course schedule. Also, courses will be bigger on average, so it may be harder for you to get individual attention when you need it. In spite of these difficulties, we have tried our best to make sure that you can fulfill all the requirements of your degree programmes. If timetable or other problems prevent you from doing so, please seek the help of one of the people named below. They will do their best to help you solve your problems.
The Department offers, in both the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Pure and Applied Science, a diversity of degree programmes to meet students' differing interests and career aspirations. These are described on pages 6 to 8 (and more details of academic requirements for them can be found towards the back of this minicalendar). Given the variety of choices, it is of utmost importance to study all possibilities very carefully and to obtain advice on the programmes offered.
The Department's faculty and staff members will be pleased to offer you their
assistance. Any questions concerning your programme or the enrolment in or
dropping of courses should be directed first to the staff members in the
Departmental Undergraduate Programme Offices. Arts and Science students may
contact Janice Grant or Antonietta Della Pia Vian in N502 Ross (736-5902),
Monday-Friday, 10:15-11:45 a.m. and 1:15-3:15 p.m.(but
1:15-2:30 p.m. on Fridays in July and August);
Science students may also contact
Gillian Moore in 122 Petrie (736-5248), Monday-Friday,
8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.(till 3:30 p.m. on Fridays in July, August).
Should you need further advice on academic matters, please ask for an
appointment, through one of the Undergraduate Office staff, with one of the
Undergraduate Programme Directors:
- Professor M. Abramson (Mathematics, Mathematics for Commerce)
- Professor M. Muldoon (Applied Mathematics)
- Professor A. Wong (1997/98) or Professor S. Chamberlin (1998-2001) (Statistics)
Appointments with faculty members may be made through the Department's Main Office in N520 Ross (736-5250) or the Undergraduate Programme Office in 122 Petrie (736-5248). Please feel free to direct appropriate concerns also to me. Appointments can be made with the Secretary to the Chair in N522 Ross (ext. 22555).
You will find that your teaching assistants and course instructors/Coordinators are eager to help when you encounter a problem in a course. If they can't resolve the problem you can approach one of the Undergraduate Programme Directors.
You may find that a variety of teaching methods are used in your mathematics and statistics courses. But whatever methods may be used, faculty members have some common goals. They want to help you to
- learn the basic materials of the course and their applications,
- acquire ``critical thinking skills'' through problem solving,
- pursue careers in areas where a sound understanding of mathematics or statistics is fundamental,
- read mathematical literature with understanding and enjoyment,
- develop the ability and desire to pursue knowledge independently,
- understand the power and elegance of abstract reasoning, and
- appreciate the role of mathematics in human culture.
The Department offers several attractive prizes and awards for outstanding achievements in mathematics and statistics courses. The Chair's Honour Roll was introduced in 1989-90 and is displayed in the halls of the Department. It shows the names of students with high grade point average over all Departmental courses taken in the year of the award (at least two full-course equivalents must be taken, exclusive of courses with second digit 5). A g.p.a. of at least 7.5 is required for students who take at least 18 credits in the Department, and 8.0 for those who take 12-15 credits. Students on the Roll receive a certificate and a copy of the Roll.
The ``best'' student in each of the year-levels 2, 3, and 4 in a Departmental programme is selected by a Departmental Committee. Their names are displayed permanently, as winners of the Irvine R. Pounder Award. Professor Pounder was one of the two founding members of the Department, and the award was established by the Department in 1990-91 on the occasion of the hundredth anniversary of his birth. The two Alice Turner Awards of $400 each, donated by Professor Alice W. Turner, the other founding member, and her friends, are awarded to outstanding Faculty of Arts majors in a Departmental degree programme, one to a third-year ordinary-degree candidate, and one to a fourth-year honours-degree or combined honours-degree candidate. The Moshe Shimrat Prizes are awarded from a fund established in memory of Dr. Moshe Shimrat, a former faculty member, by his family and friends. The fund is used to make awards to students in university and secondary school for interest and demonstrated ability in mathematical problem-solving. The G.R. Wallace Scholarship is named in honour of the late G.R. Wallace, who was Senior Vice-President and Chief Actuary of the Zurich Life Insurance Company at the time of his death, and is donated by his friends and family. This $1500 scholarship is awarded annually to an outstanding student in an honours programme in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics who has demonstrated an interest in pursuing an actuarial career. (The Department may decide not to give out all prizes and awards in some years.)
This year, the faculty members and staff of the Department are contributing to a new scholarship endowment fund, in order that more awards can be made to good students. We expect new awards to be announced in the near future.
There are two international mathematics contests open to undergraduate students. One, called the Putnam Examination, involves attempting to solve a number of challenging mathematics problems during an all-day examination late in the fall term (see p. 4 in the hard copy minicalendar, and a little further along in this web version). The other, called The Mathematical Contest in Modelling, involves being on a team of students who have a weekend to develop a mathematical model for some applied problem. In both cases, practice sessions will be held under the guidance of a member of the faculty. Students who participate in the practice sessions and the examinations find the latter to be hard but enjoyable. They get to work on the problems for the challenge, without having to think about grades. Announcements about these contests will be made in classes at the appropriate times. We invite you to test your skills.
I wish you success in your studies, but above all I wish for you that you will share the excitement and enthusiasm that my colleagues feel for their subject.
George L.\ O'Brien
Chair of the Department
(Note that my colleague Alan Dow
will be Chair, starting 1 July 1998.)