Colorado State University Names New Chair of Mathematics

Colorado State University officials recently announced Simon Tavener as the new chairman of the Department of Mathematics. Tavener, a professor in the department, is beginning his new post concurrent with the start of the spring 2003 semester.

"We are very pleased and fortunate to have Dr. Tavener accept this vital leadership position for the university," said Rick Miranda, dean of the College of Natural Sciences. "There is no doubt that he has the expertise, vision and enthusiasm necessary to lead one of our largest and strongest departments."

Tavener began at Colorado State in 2000 after serving 12 years at Pennsylvania State University, where he was touted for leadership in curriculum reform, research and outreach to K-12 schools.

"I am excited to be given this leadership opportunity and to serve Colorado State University in this function," said Tavener. "I am looking forward to continuing to build upon the math department’s strong history and to guide its teaching, research and outreach activities to the next level of excellence."

In his nearly three years at Colorado State, Tavener has taken a leadership role in upgrading the mathematics curriculum for life science students. As part of this effort, Tavener developed a new course focused on differential equations and modeling for the life sciences.

Tavener’s current research focuses on computational fluid mechanics including the areas of bifurcation and symmetry, free surface flows, rotating flows, magneto-hydrodynamic flows, nematic liquid crystals, ferroelectric phase transitions and the stability of propagating reaction fronts.

He has published more than 30 refereed journal articles and related reports and has presented his papers at top universities and professional conferences across the United States and throughout the world. He has served as principal or co-principal investigator on more than a dozen research contracts and grants sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the Fund for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, IBM and others. He currently is working to secure additional research grants from the NSF and the Department of Education.

Tavener is a member of the American Physical Society and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. He has served on the NSF’s Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship award review panel and as a manuscript referee for a variety of mathematics and physics-related journals. He has served as a consultant to the Mathematical Association of America’s Project Next, established to introduce recent doctoral graduates to a broad range of issues in undergraduate mathematics education and to provide ongoing professional support as they begin teaching careers.