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Frank Fiedler

Professor and Department Chair of Mathematics

Why I Teach

My personal goal is to foster professional and personal success in Wesley College’s undergraduate students, the majority of who are first generation or minority. I am part of a STEM team of dedicated educators that have made this same goal, their mission. At University in East Germany, I was a second-generation college student who descended from generations of farmers and laborers. I am in an interracial relationship where my wife was a first-generation student and both of us, as US immigrants, greatly benefited from this higher education system. Initially, it was difficult for me to understand the academic, financial, and cultural barriers of Wesley’s first-generation and historically marginalized freshmen. However, through the experiences of my students and my spouse, I gained knowledge about the achievement gaps that prevent such students from finding parity with their peers. Hence as STEM program Chair, I make a concerted effort to do more than merely be a good educator and try to solve the many student challenges to ensure upward mobility that advance our students’ careers.

Professional Activities

I love learning how things work and how they can be improved. My research interests range from solving practical problems in digital communications using a combination of mathematical techniques, to studying structures in discrete mathematics and combinatorics.

Over time my focus has shifted to research in STEM education, such as the impact of our mentored undergraduate research and experiential learning programs at Wesley College. This group effort is led by our Dean of Interdisciplinary/Collaborative Sponsored Research, Dr. Malcolm D’Souza. He brought together a curriculum that included coursework at the neighboring HBCU, Delaware State University (DSU) and launched an interdisciplinary undergraduate biological chemistry program. This program included a strong informatics research component and over the next few years, under his leadership, the College’s liberal arts core-curriculum was reimagined and now undergraduate research is a signature component at every level. Dr. D’Souza, in collaboration with our state-wide partner institutions, has served as principal institutional investigator on the NSF Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), the Delaware IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE), the NSF Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Program (S-STEM), the NASA Delaware Space Grant Program, and the NOAA Delaware Sea Grant Program. Recently, to help build a STEM capable workforce, he initiated the STEM Undergraduate Research-Center for Analytics, Talent and Success (UR-CATS) and a 3-week on-campus, Success in STEM (SIS) bootcamp for high-school seniors.

As Chair, I see my role as part of a support system for both, Wesley students and Wesley faculty. I strongly encourage undergraduate research participations and STEM-education research initiatives that make our programs stronger and set our students apart. We have a successful track record on such meaningful projects and a proven history of improving our curriculum to meet the changing demands of today’s society. We serve as academic and career advisors and we use a layered mentoring approach to pair freshmen students with juniors and seniors. For our financially challenged and underrepresented students, our NSF S-STEM initiated Cannon Scholar Program relieves some anxiety and has had a major impact on our students’ success.

Selected Presentations & Papers

Degrees

  • Ph.D. in Mathematics: 2004, University of Delaware (Concentration: Discrete Mathematics, Combinatorics)
  • M.S. in Mathematics: 1998, Dresden University of Technology, Germany
  • Minors: Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Physics (Concentration)

Courses Taught

  • HU199 Wesley Connection
  • MA102 Intermediate Algebra
  • MA108 Mathematical Concepts and Operations II (now deleted)
  • MA111 Precalculus I
  • MA112 Precalculus II
  • MA125 History of Mathematics (now deleted)
  • MA140 Programming I
  • MA180 Applied Math Concepts
  • MA201 Introduction to Statistical Methods
  • MA211 Calculus I
  • MA212 Calculus II
  • MA240 Programming II
  • MA250 Discrete Mathematics I
  • MA313 Calculus III
  • MA314 Elementary Differential Equations
  • MA325 Introduction to SAS Programming
  • MA350 Discrete Mathematics II (now deleted)
  • MA410 Real Analysis
  • MA420 Numerical Analysis
  • MA460 Abstract Algebra
  • PS200 Introduction to Physics

Contact Information