Bennett selected to head mathematics department
"Dr. Bennett has been a leader among faculty at K-State and has the critical skills we're looking for to guide this outstanding department towards its K-State 2025 goals," said Peter Dorhout, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. "Mathematics is a critical discipline for any Top 50 public research university and has been part of our land-grant heritage since the beginning."
Bennett joined the K-State mathematics department in 1988 and became a full professor in 2003. In 2006 he was named the inaugural director of the Center for Quantitative Education and has taught a wide range of classes in his career, ranging from Elementary Differential Equations to Foundations of Geometry. His research interests have led him to collaborate with faculty across the university, including the agriculture, education and engineering colleges. Bennett's research and educational efforts have raised more than $15 million in extramural funding.
"I am excited and honored by the confidence of my colleagues and the administration in leading the department in such exciting times," Bennett said. "All department stakeholders, faculty, students and administration, share a common vision in building a world-class department."
The mathematics department has seen exciting development in recent years. The number of students majoring in math has grown by more than 50 percent in the last decade; the Center of the Integration of Undergraduate, Graduate and Postdoctoral Research — known as the I-Center — supported nine undergraduate and four graduate scholars in the last year; and the Mirror Symmetry and Tropical Geometry Research Center — known as the M-Center — recently received its second Focused Research Group grant from the National Science Foundation in collaboration with four other universities, including the University of California-Berkeley and MIT.
Bennett earned a Bachelor of Science in mathematics from Colorado State University before receiving his master's in mathematics from Princeton University. He went on to earn a doctorate in mathematics from Princeton in 1985.
"As we reach toward the goals of K-State 2025, it is essential that K-State have a strong mathematics program, both building new knowledge and helping develop students with strong quantitative skills to prepare them for the technological world of the 21st century," Bennett said. "The K-State mathematics department is well-poised to move forward with outstanding researchers and excellent teachers who care about student learning."
Bennett has received multiple teaching awards, including the Commerce Bank Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award and the Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching from the Kansas Section of the Mathematical Association of America.