Students say math professor makes numbers easy to follow

Elizabeth Rund

Rollick was not always a teacher

Mary Beth Rollick didn’t always think she would receive an award for teaching. Prior to working at Kent State, she was a freelance writer and secretary. But 11 years ago Rollick said she found her calling.

“Math was something I really enjoyed – it was a lot of fun,” Rollick said.

Rollick, an assistant professor of mathematical science, received a 2008 Outstanding Teaching Award. “I am very surprised and very excited.”

She teaches Basic Math Concepts I and II. Both courses are designed specifically for education majors. Though both Basic Math Concepts I and II are required courses, many students agree that Rollick is one of the few who can make math enjoyable.

“She’s a great teacher, she makes it fun,” said senior education major Colleen White.

Rollick writes all the problems on the board and works through them until everyone understands how to solve them. She uses a variety of techniques to illustrate the different ways an equation can be worked out, including two-toned plastic chips and a fold-out number line made from a large brown paper grocery bag.

“It’s just a different style so you understand where the numbers come from,” junior education major Ian Knepp said. “(The class) teaches you different ways to relate it to someone else, to be able to teach it to someone else.”

The opportunity to influence students and spread her love of teaching is the main reason Rollick said she loves teaching. She said that working with pre-service teachers gives her a chance to see who the next generation of educators will be.

“I want students to understand the math, and because they understand the math, they enjoy the math,” said Rollick.

Contact college of education, health and human services reporter Elizabeth Rund at [email protected].