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Math instructor receives national honor for teaching excellence

December 09, 2013

Mark Omodt, a Mathematics instructor at Anoka-Ramsey Community College, was honored recently for teaching excellence by the American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges (AMATYC).

Since joining the faculty in 1994, Omodt has taught nearly every Math course – from algebra to differential equations – offered in Anoka-Ramsey’s curriculum and has done so with consistently high levels of student retention, student success and student satisfaction, noted Kimberly Lynch, the college’s dean of science, technology, engineering, math and computer networking, when nominating him.

“Not only is Omodt appreciated by his students and admired by administration, he is also deeply respected by his peers because he takes his subject matter seriously,” she said. She said he mentors new Math faculty and even inspires his students to become future colleagues.

In the late 1990’s, Omodt started Math Alumni Day as a year-end celebration for his Math students and to promote the many ways math education can be used. He also has advised the Math Club since 2002 and started the Math Team in 2009 to improve student results on the two-year college mathematical association’s exam.

Steve Ulrich, a nontraditional student, said in a nomination letter that Omodt has a complete grasp of the subject matter and can explain it in a variety of ways to accommodate the ways his students learn. ”His classes are like an interesting discussion with a knowledgeable mentor – never a dry lecture,” Ulrich said. “He is exceptionally patient and uses appropriate questions to guide the student to the correct conclusion.”

Omodt grew up in Minneapolis and holds a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Spanish from Macalester College in St. Paul, and a master’s degree in Mathematics from Western Washington University. Though he has taught at Macalester and the University of Minnesota, Omodt said he prefers teaching at Anoka-Ramsey.

“I love the diversity of the students,” he said. “They range from high school students to retirees and they have all kinds of different backgrounds. I like showing all of them the doors that math can open to improve their lives."

Omodt was one of four math instructors nationally to receive the Teaching Excellence Award for outstanding contributions to mathematics or mathematics education at a two-year college. The award is given in odd-numbered years.

More information about the award is available at http://www.amatyc.org/?page=Awards.

 

Mark Omodt

Mark Omodt (center), a Mathematics instructor at Anoka-Ramsey Community College, accepts an award for teaching excellence from American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges (AMATYC) president Jim Roznowski (left). Also shown Greg Tobin from Pearson Publishing.