Connection to Sustainability: From working with the University Sustainability Council and the Office of Sustainability on projects across campus to developing and teaching a STEM and Sustainability freshman seminar class, the department is involved in sustainability at many levels. In addition to course content and research in sustainability, the department also is committed to help the university develop a sustainable mindset in the local and university communities. We are always looking for ways to integrate sustainability into department operations and instructional practices.
Teaching: Four members of the faculty are currently working on a book chapter highlighting the role of sustainability in mathematics courses. The ideas for the chapter have been developed and tested in classes ranging from our Introduction to Mathematics course to concepts that have come from current research projects. Other ideas have been published with the Center for Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science (DIMACS) program “Mathematical and Computational Methods for Planning a Sustainable Future."
In addition to publishing ideas on integrating sustainability into the mathematics curriculum, several faculty have presented at the annual North Carolina Mathematical Association of Two Year Colleges (NCMATYC) conference, increasing the breadth of that dissemination. Materials for integrating sustainability into a calculus course were collected, developed and then shared on a website for use by others as well. Those materials are the result of an undergraduate thesis and are available: https://miloshsr1.wixsite.com/calculus
Research: Several faculty members of the department incorporate sustainability into their research programs and work with models of climate policy and carbon accounting, limiting disease spread in wild hogs, analyzing sensitivities in anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide and designing improvements to passive solar shading strategies. Current and recent funding has come from NASA and the USFS. Some projects are currently seeking student researchers.
Student Engagement and Outreach: Both undergraduate and graduate students are an integral part of the department’s research agenda. Numerous students have been involved in a variety of projects. We also actively engage in interdisciplinary research with other departments across the university on sustainability related projects.
As a part of the multi-disciplinary Appalachian Carbon Research Group and in collaboration with Appalachian's Research Institute for Environment, Energy, and Economics (RIEEE), several one-day workshops have been developed, The Offset Workshop, (https://theoffsetworkshop.wixsite.com/theoffsetworkshop) in 2017, preceded by The Value of a Tree, (https://rieee.appstate.edu/events/appalachian-workshops-environment-value-tree) run in 2016. Look for the next workshop in Fall 2018.
The department also co-organized and hosted the 2017 Reconnect Workshop “Mathematical and Computational Tools for Energy Efficiency and Reliability of Data Centers and the Electrical Grid." This workshop was held in collaboration with DIMACS and Command, Control and Interoperability Center for Advanced Data Analysis (CCICADA). Faculty from the Appalachian Walker College of Business were also involved in this workshop.