Dr. Laura McSweeney, associate professor in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, a popular and respected College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) professor, was named the 2012 Undergraduate Teacher of the Year at Fairfield University, based on student nominations and review by a student-led committee. Dr. McSweeney received her honor in October at Fairfield’s annual reception welcoming 32 students into Alpha Sigma Nu (ASN), the honor society for Jesuit universities.
Dr. McSweeney joined the faculty in CAS as an assistant professor in 1999. She received tenure and was promoted to associate professor in 2005 and is the co-director of the University’s Mathematics Center. A Bridgeport, Conn., resident, she has also served as a consultant and fellow for Project NExT, a professional development program of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) and as a faculty mentor for Fairfield’s BASE Camp (Broadening Access to Science Education), a summer research camp fostering a love of science for local high school girls from underserved schools and historically under-represented populations.
Teachers are selected based on the recommendations of students and reflect the faculty member’s academic achievements, loyalty to the Jesuit ideals of education, and concern for their students.
“Mathematics and statistics can be intimidating to some students and I try to make my classes interactive and create activities that help students see the relevance and beauty of the subjects I love,” Dr. McSweeney said. “I have learned effective pedagogy from teachers and professors that I had throughout my education. And I continually pick up new ideas and techniques from my colleagues here at Fairfield.”
Dr. McSweeney’s research has been published in the Journal of Sound and Vibration, the Journal of Statistical Computation and Simulation, Quality Engineering and other publications. She received her bachelor’s degree from Bridgewater State University and holds an M.S. and a Ph.D. from the University of New Hampshire.
“Dr. McSweeney loves teaching and loves the core curriculum at Fairfield,” said Dr. Robbin Crabtree, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “She has been among our most engaged and innovative faculty members with regards to the Core Integration Initiative. We’re very pleased with her selection for this wonderful honor.”
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