I did a short interview with Dr. Mike Pinter, 2012 US Professor of the Year for the state of Tennessee. Here is what he had to say.
- What is your favorite part of teaching?
The direct relationships I enjoy with my students. Our classes [Belmont University] are small enough (typically in the 20-30 range) that I get to know virtually all of my students and a bit more about them than just what meets the eye.
- What is (are) your current top research interest(s)?
Most of my research interests are related to the scholarship of teaching, including ideas for incorporating “mathematical characters” into the courses that I teach. Because of our heavy teaching load (12 hours a semester), that’s the most realistic research pursuit for me. Also, I manage our campus Mathematical Problem Solving competition – this often requires me to generate good problems that will be of general interest. The problems I create are generally from the discrete math realm.
- What professional organizations are you a member of?
MAA, POD (Professional and Organizational Development), Middle Tennessee Mathematics Teachers, Tennessee Mathematics Teachers Association, AAC&U
- Do you have any interesting facts about yourself you’d like to share?
I was a first generation college student, having grown up on a family-run dairy farm in Arkansas. My wife, Robbie Pinter, has been an English Professor at Belmont since 1986. Our only child is 19; he is on the autism spectrum, which has taught me a great deal about learning very broadly. I’ll begin serving as the Director of Belmont University’s Teaching Center in January 2013; in this role, I’ll work with faculty from across campus on their continuing professional development as teachers, and especially with new faculty as they enter Belmont.
Thanks to Dr. Pinter for taking time to respond to these questions!