Alex M. McAllister

Contact Info
Teaching
Writing
Experience
Personal Info
Contact Information

My official title is H.W. Stodghill Jr. and Adele H. Stodghill Professor of Mathematics, and I am the Chair of the Division of Science and Mathematics at Centre College. I have taught courses in mathematics, computer science, philosophy, and humanities. I can be reached via e-mail at alex.mcallister@centre.edu or in my office in Olin 119 during my office hours. You can also reach me via any of the following:

Math Department
Centre College
600 West Walnut Street
Danville, KY 40422-1394
(859) 238 - 5408 (office)
(859) 238 - 5314 (dept)
(859) 236 - 9610 (fax)

Teaching

I love teaching - that's one of the main reasons I am at Centre College. You can reach my course web pages via the following links.

Term Course
Fall, 2016 MAT 170: Calculus I
Spring, 2017 Coming Soon

In 2009 I was honored to receive Centre's Kirk Teaching award, which included a request for a statement of my teaching philosophy. Here's what I shared:

My teaching philosophy is a blend of idealism and pragmatism.

On the idealistic side, I approach my classroom as a place of transformation. I am helping our students build better brains and, in doing so, they leave my classes changed in positive ways and more able to make a difference for good in our world. I am hopeful that my students will come to appreciate and respect mathematics, and remain eager to learn more. As Arnold Ostebee and Paul Zorn wrote in the preface of a textbook: "Here's another reason to study calculus: because calculus is among our species' deepest, richest, farthest-reaching, and most beautiful intellectual achievements." The same can be said of many other areas of mathematics. What a privilege I have to share such wisdom and beauty with my students! I also seek to have fun in the classroom. I believe that my love for math and my own positive, transformational experiences of mathematics enable opportunities for my students loving, playing with, and being changed by mathematics.

On the pragmatic side, I recognize that not all my students share this affection for mathematics (at least not yet!). In fact, many of my students may think of my class as their least favorite, with mathematics stirring up strong emotions of fear, anger, and despair. Or worse yet, apathy. And so, I assign and collect daily homework and quizzesódespite all the time the grading consumesóbecause such exercises require my students to spend time with mathematics between classes and so enable their learning. Similarly, I always hold study sessions the evening before an exam, because I know that is when many of my students will be studying, and I can help them focus and learn that much more. Finally, I try to encourage the self-doubting students in their successes. I tell them that hard work trumps natural ability and I urge my students to intentionally invest in themselves in their efforts to reap the rewards of learning mathematics.

One more thing: the picture at the top of this webpage was taken on Mykonos Island, Greece on January 22, 2012. I was there with Dramatic Arts Professor Matthew Hallock and 28 Centre students for HUM 254: Drama and Math in Ancient Greece. We plan to go back soon - perhaps you'd like to join us?!

Writing

If you're interested in a copy of any of these, or if you have any questions or comments, please be in touch.

Books

  • Mathematical Modeling and Applied Calculus with Joel Kilty, in preparation, a textbook for
    a 100-level mathematics course focused on modeling, data analysis, and applied calculus.
  • Mathematical Impossibilities, in preparation, a general-interest book presenting the ideas and
    people associated with certain fundamental mathematical questions.
  • A Transition to Advanced Mathematics: A Survey Course with William W. Johnston
    A textbook for a transition course surveying mathematics.
    published by Oxford University Press, August 2009, ISBN: 978-0-19-531076-4.
  • Schaum's Easy Outlines: Logic, McGraw-Hill, New York, 2005. ISBN: 0-07-145535-3.
    An abridgement based on Schaum's Outline of Theory and Problems of Logic, Second
    Edition by John Nolt, Dennis Rohatyn, and Achille Varzi, McGraw-Hill, New York, 1998.
    Abridgment Editor: Alex M. McAllister, 135 pages.
Publications
  • Mathematical Impossibilities, expository publication,in Mathematical Association of America
    Notes Volume on The Courses of History: Ideas for Developing a History of Mathematics
    Course
    , in preparation.
  • Math and Drama in Ancient Greece, Matthew R. Hallock and Alex M. McAllister, expository
    publication,in Mathematical Association of America Notes Volume on The Courses of
    History: Ideas for Developing a History of Mathematics Course
    , in preparation.
  • History of Mathematics: Seeking Truth and Inspiring Students, Alex M. McAllister and Diana
    White, expository publication, in the Doceamus column of Notices of the American
    Mathematical Society, Volume 23, Number 2, February 2015, 172-174.
  • A Survey Transition Course, William W. Johnston and Alex M. McAllister, expository
    publication, in PRIMUS: Problems, Resources, and Issues in Mathematics Undergraduate
    Studies, Volume 22, Issue 1, 30-42, February 2012.
    available online at http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10511970.2010.489200.
  • Turing upper bounds for countable jump ideals, research publication, in Nonstandard
    Models of Arithmetic and Set Theory, Contemporary Mathematics,ISSN: 0271-4132,
    Volume 361, October 2004, 129 - 143.
  • The Kentucky Section goes high-tech: The tale of an e-newsletter, expository publication
    in Focus of the MAA, Volume 23, Number 2, February 2003, 8 - 9.
  • Bounded Scott Set Saturation, research publication in Mathematical Logic Quarterly,
    Volume 48, Number 2, 2002, 245 - 259.
  • An Experiment that Worked: Revising the Calculus Curriculum, with William W. Johnston and
    John H. Wilson, expository publication in Focus of the MAA, Volume 21, Number 8,
    November 2001, 8 - 9.
  • Computability in structures representing a Scott set, research publication in Archive for
    Mathematical Logic, Volume 40, 2001, 147 - 165.
  • Completions of PA: models and enumerations of representable sets, research publication in
    Journal of Symbolic Logic, Volume 63, Number 3, September 1998, 1063 - 1082.
  • Evaluation of high-level bound-bound and bound-continuum strengths by asymptotic expansion
    K. Omidvar and A.M. McAllister, research publication in Physical Review A, Volume 51,
    Number 2, Febuary 1995, 1063 - 1066.
Manuscripts
  • Thoughts on Being an Academic Advisor at Centre College, expository, July 2013, 12 pages.
  • Reading Your Mathematics Textbook, expository, September 1999, revised 2008, 1 page.
  • An Introduction to LaTeX and VTeX, expository, August 2003, revised 2004, 12 pages.
  • Introduction to Maple, expository, August 2002, 4 pages.
  • A Dreamweaver Primer, expository, May 2002, 28 pages.
  • My Understanding of the ACS Information Fluency Project, expository, Feb. 2002, 3 pages.
  • The Turing partial order of w-models defined via completions of arithmetic, research, Summer 2001, 15 pages.
  • Scott Set Saturation and Relative Computability of Models and Enumerations, research, Summer 1998, 35 pages.
  • Elementarily Equivalent Structures of all Noncomputable Degrees, research, Fall 1996, 5 pages.
  • Enumerations of all Noncomputable Degrees, research, Fall 1996, 3 pages.
  • Enumerations of Jump Ideals and Scott Sets, research, Summer 1995, 7 pages.
Poetry published at Centre College
  • #33 Running, Vantage Point, Volume 49, Number 2, January 2016.
  • #74 Danny, Vantage Point, Volume 36, Number 2, January 2003.
  • #87 Questions, Vantage Point, Volume 36, Number 2, January 2003.
Experience

H.W. Stodghill Jr. and Adele H. Stodghill Professor of Mathematics
Chair of Division of Science and Mathematics
Centre College
H.W. Stodghill Jr. and Adele H. Stodghill Professorship 2015
Professor of Mathematics 2013-2015
Associate Professor of Mathematics 2004-2013
Assistant Professor of Mathematics 1999-2004
Posse Mentor, Centre Posse 4 2009-2013
Kentucky Section Teaching Award of MAA 2015
Centre Scholar 2005-07, 2010-12
Kirk Teaching Award 2009
Stodghill Research Professorship 2008
Honor Walk Talent Recipient 2007, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2015
ODK Leadership Honor Society 2005
ADPi Professor of the Year 2004
Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics, 1997-1999
Dartmouth College
Ph.D. in Mathematics, May 1997
University of Notre Dame
Dissertation: Computability in Structures Representing a Scott Set
Advisor: Julia F. Knight
Specialization: Mathematical Logic and Foundations
B.S.in Mathematics, cum laude, PBK, PME, PKP, May 1992
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
* includes 37 credit hours of Computer Engineering course work
Eagle Scout Award, October 1985
Boy Scouts of America
Troop 242 in Charles Town, West Virginia
Personal Information

I am married to Julie Eberhardt McAllister. We met each other at Virginia Tech and she currently works for Camp Horsin' Around in Perryville, Kentucky. We have three children: Benjamin Martin, Daniel John, and Ella Margaret. We have one dog: Pavlov. They have four cats: Keiva, Midnite, Pascal, and Schroedinger. Our family enjoys soccer, walking, kayaking, festive holidays, and good friends. The rest of our family resides throughout the Southeast in Alabama, Maryland, North Carolina, and West Virginia.

My hobbies include reading, running, watching movies, weight-lifting, writing, and yardwork in no particular order. I'm also in the middle of gutting and rebuilding a 100+ year old house. I've learned why most houses are built by teams of people! My favorite number is "2" for many different reasons that I'm willing share with great excitement!! Some more biographical information is available on the mathematics department webage at: Mathematics Biographies.