Dr. Huffman has been teaching at Pittsburg State University since the Fall of 1994. Even at that time, she was not new to PSU, as her father was an Accounting Professor at PSU and she had previously earned two degrees from Pitt State, had played volleyball for PSU three years (1981, 1982, 1985) and had worked on campus as a student worker in the Registrar’s Office and HPER Office.
Professor Huffman brings to her position a background containing a mix of pure mathematics and mathematics education. Although many of the courses she teaches are in pure mathematics, her mathematics education background not only gives her insight into ways to improve her teaching, but it is also valuable since many of her students and advisees are mathematics education majors. She is an active member of relevant professional societies in both mathematics and mathematics education, allowing her to keep current on research and trends in pure mathematics, as well as in secondary and undergraduate mathematics education. She also has some experience as an online tutor which has been beneficial as the number of classes with a blended or online delivery is increasing. Her teaching philosophy is “variety is the spice of life” and she carries this out in the classroom by utilizing a variety of instructional techniques.
Being able to expose college students to new ideas and concepts, and to help them become better problem solvers and better equipped to succeed at their careers is one of the reasons that Dr. Huffman so thoroughly enjoys her position as a University Professor at PSU. She especially likes that “aha” moment when you can almost literally see a lightbulb coming on when explaining a difficult concept to a student. As our world becomes more technologically advanced, it is vital that members of society have a solid background in mathematics as well as good problem solving and critical thinking skills. So she feels that as a mathematics professor, she is playing an important role in the lives of students to help them have a better future. Also, she thoroughly enjoys working with college students because of their enthusiasm and energy and fresh ideas. In addition, she feels that she learns much from college students, too.
Dr. Peterson was honored with the Robert K. Ratzlaff Outstanding Faculty Award by the Student Government Association from the student nominees of faculty that demonstrate excellence in instruction and service to students on campus in 2010 and 2014. Read about the 2014 Recipients and the Faculty Award.
Dr. Huffman was honored to receive the Kansas Section of the Mathematical Association of America Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics.
Masters Research Supervised by Dr. Huffman
Presentations Given by Dr. Huffman
Ph.D., Mathematics, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico, U.S.A, 1994
M.S., Mathematics, Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, Kansas, U.S.A., 1987
B.S.Ed., Mathematics, Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, Kansas (Summa Cum Laude), U.S.A., 1986
Freshman ExperienceAbstract Algebra (face-to-face and IDL)Topics: Women in Mathematics (online)History of Mathematics (online and face-to-face)Calculus I (Writing to Learn)Computational Algebra (distance and face-to-face)Applied AlgebraGalois TheoryMasters Research ProblemQuantitative Reasoning (Writing to Learn) Linear Algebra (face-to-face and online)Geometry for Education (traditional and with iPads)Algebra IAlgebraic Number TheoryIntroduction to Analytic Processes (Writing to Learn)Expository Math: Geometry in Grades 5-9College Algebra with Review (Writing to Learn)Expository Math: Numbers and Algebra in Grades 5-9Expository Math: Statistics and Probability in Grades 5-9College Algebra (hybrid)Mathematics for Education IITopics: Egyptian MathExpository Math: SmartBoard BasicsMathematical Software (online and face-to-face)Cultural Mathematics (online)Topics: History of Algebra (online)Senior SeminarQuantitative Decision MakingMathematics Education SeminarTopics in AlgebraQuantitative Business AnalysisNature of MathCalculus IIElementary StatisticsComputational Algebra IITeaching Geometry with Geometers SketchpadMath and MusicApplications of Computational AlgebraIntermediate AlgebraMultivariate Polynomial Theory
Research InterestsEarly in her career, Professor Huffman’s research was in the area of computational commutative algebra. In particular, she developed algorithmic proofs of Suslin’s Stability Theorem and the Quillen-Suslin Theorem for multivariate polynomial rings over fields. She also did some joint work on applications of these results to problems in digital signal processing.
More recently her research interests have shifted to History of Mathematics. Since 2009, she has participated in the Mathematical Association of America Study Tours. These tours were a great opportunity to learn firsthand about mathematical topics, especially topics from the history of mathematics. The tours in which she has participated have been to Egypt, Guatemala, Italy and Alaska. Each trip has led to more research and to presentations at national, state, and local meetings, as well as to publications.
Personal InterestsDr. Huffman is an accomplished handbell soloist having given numerous programs in various locations including Branson, MO and Piedras Negras, Mexico. She has played the national anthem for college basketball games and was a featured soloist at a Fine Arts in the Four States Handbell Festival. Dr. Huffman also has a black belt in Chinese Kenpo karate and has gone sky diving twice.