# Professor Daniel G. Ledsome

## General Education

I got my B.A. in math from Muskingum College, and went on to get an M.A. in math at Miami University. I’ve been teaching at Ivy Tech Community College for about 10 years now. I really enjoy teaching math, and I hope that my students, even if they never exactly come to love the subject as I do, at least learn it! I teach all the General Education mathematics offerings at Ivy Tech, from MAT111 (Intermediate Algebra) through MAT201 (Brief Calculus), with more to come.

Mathematics as an organized discipline goes back over 2,500 years. In all its forms, it is one of the oldest intellectual endeavors of mankind (it may be THE oldest.) An understanding of mathematics was long considered the hallmark of an educated mind; now, in our increasingly-technological and scientific age, mathematics, the “Queen of the Sciences”, is more important than ever.

Sometimes my students question WHY they need to know something like algebra, when their field doesn’t seem to involve much in the way of mathematics. My answer generally is some variation of the following:

“The specific DETAILS of algebra may not come up in your field, but the skills you learn in successfully completing an algebra course are ones which are applicable across virtually all fields. The study of algebra and other kinds of mathematics require (and reinforce) certain skills—logical reasoning, careful attention to detail, organization, and problem-solving—that are useful (and maybe essential) in almost any field.”

My favorite story in this regard was a nursing student who asked the “Why do I need to know this stuff” question (although she might not have said “stuff”!) I gave her my standard answer, but she still looked dubious. Finally I said, “Here’s the bottom line: yeah, you may never have to solve a quadratic equation or do a story problem in order to be a nurse, but you know what? If you aren’t CAPABLE of learning things like that, and I’m in the hospital, I don’t want you anywhere near me!” (I really wasn’t trying to be mean, but the opposite of the skills I listed above—illogical thinking, carelessness, lack of organization, and an inability to solve problems—well, I WOULDN’T want my nurse to have those qualities. Or my auto mechanic, or my air conditioning technician, or my accountant, or whatever. )

I do hope, though, whether you are in an Internet course or a regular
course, that you do well, learn something, and get at least SOME enjoyment
out of it, even if that enjoyment is restricted to just being happy you
made it through the course! I HOPE it’s more than that, but hey,
we’ll take what we can get…