Cal State L.A. math professor receives outstanding teaching award

Cal State L.A. Math Professor Daphne Liu is the winner of the 2015 Mathematical Association of America’s Southern California-Nevada Section Outstanding Teaching Award. The award was announced during the association’s spring meeting on March 14.

“I feel deeply honored getting this award,” said Liu, who is a San Gabriel resident. “I would like to share this honor with my students and colleagues who have a similar passion in teaching.” Daphne Liu

The award recognizes teachers who display extraordinary classroom teaching efforts that have an influence beyond their institutions. The award recipient will also be the section’s nominee for the MAA Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Awards for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics.

Liu has been a Cal State L.A. faculty member since 1991. She has taught a wide range of courses, including general education and graduate courses. She has also supervised several award-winning student research projects with both undergraduate and graduate students and has mentored more than two dozen graduate and undergraduate students in direct study courses. She has been instrumental in designing an upper division course on graph theory as well as an important core requirement course on discrete mathematics. She is also principal graduate advisor for mathematics, providing advisement and supervision to M.S. students.

“Dr. Liu is a model teacher-scholar… and a truly student-centered professor,” said Gerald Beer, professor of mathematics at Cal State L.A. “She has the reputation of being extremely supportive and encouraging while at the same time maintaining the highest standards.”

Liu’s major professional achievements include more than 40 research papers, some of which have been published in the most prestigious journals in her research fields. She has given more than 80 presentations or plenary talks in the US, Canada, Asia, and Europe.  She also serves as a reviewer for National Science Foundation grant proposals and served three years as a final judge for the prestigious International Contest in Mathematical Modeling. During 2002 - 05, she served as the faculty mentor for the California State University Collaborative Academic Preparation Initiative Program, which was aimed at reducing the need for remediation in mathematics among incoming freshmen.

Liu has been the principal investigator of two prestigious National Science Foundation research grants. Her research involves both theory and applications, with a main focus on graph coloring problems, including their interplay with number theory and topology as well as their applications to broadcast communications.

Also, Liu was a visiting scholar in Taiwan at the Academic Sinica, the National Taiwan University, the National Sun Yat-sen University, and the National Chiao Tung University. Liu received her B.S. from National Central University, Taiwan, and her Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina, Columbia.

“I am grateful to everyone at Cal State L.A. who supported my teaching and research in the past years,” Liu said, “and I feel deeply blessed working at Cal State L.A. with its amazing students, faculty and staff."

Photo: Daphne Liu. (Photo courtesy of Liu)

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