Steve Gonek named Mercer Brugler Professor

September 25, 2015

Steve Gonek

Steve Gonek, professor of mathematics, has been named Mercer Brugler Distinguished Teaching Professor for the next three years.

The professorship was established in 1979 to recognize excellence in teaching and encourage the development of cross-disciplinary instructional programs.

Gonek has been involved with many aspects of teaching, including course development and student support. In the early ‘90s, he designed and ran a mathematics camp for advanced math majors from various colleges; he introduced the workshop idea into mathematics courses at Rochester and led a committee to examine and reform the undergraduate curriculum; and he helped design a number of the College’s “Quest” courses, which are research-based opportunities for students in their first two years at the University. In one example of a Quest course, Gonek developed and taught an interdisciplinary course with a colleague from the Department of Religion and Classics that studied the concept of “the infinite,” including what it means for God to be infinite.

The Mercer Brugler Distinguished Teaching Professorship was established by alumnus Mercer Brugler, who wanted to honor “an individual who has given a lifetime of leadership and service” to both the University and the community. Full-time faculty of the College of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering are eligible for the professorship, which is for a three-year term.

Faculty members named to the Mercer Brugler professorship are expected to plan a program of instruction that will expand the normal bounds of a student’s expertise in subject matter, which includes incorporating material outside the student’s own discipline.

Gonek earned his BS, MS, and PhD in mathematics all from the University of Michigan. He joined the University of Rochester faculty in 1980 after spending two years at Temple University. In 1998, Gonek won a Goergen Award for Distinguished Achievement and Artistry in Undergraduate Teaching.