Math professor honored with ‘Promise’ award for excellence

Ken Richardson, professor of mathematics, was selected for the TCU Promise recognition this fall.

According to TCU This Week, the TCU Promise is a “commitment to excellence through discovery and achievement that unites the TCU community.”

Richardson, who is also the director of the graduate program in mathematics, said he initially did not know what the recognition was. He said once he was told about the recognition, he was happy to know he made a difference in students’ lives.

As a math professor, he said he understands just how difficult the subject can be, but he tries to be interactive in his classes and wants to be a cheerleader for his students.

“I really want the students to do [math] themselves without me helping them,” he said. “I coach them and keep them working on things until they understand it.”

Aside from continuously helping with his students’ understanding, he tends to have other qualities that set him apart. Textbooks are rarely used in classes, and he allows students to correct tests, so they better understand their mistakes.

Sophomore mathematics major Jaynie Pallasch said she enjoys not using her textbook in class because the homework they receive follows the lecture. 

Richardson also goes above and beyond for his students and even visited a student every day in the hospital so that student would not get behind in class, she said.

“His teaching style and sense of humor definitely makes class more entertaining, and you learn the material well,” she said.

His sense of humor is a trait that Richardson exposes in his class.  Sophomore mathematics major Bryan Pulido said that is something that makes early morning math classes more bearable.

He said it is obvious how much Richardson loves math, and it is refreshing to know that he is not shy about it.

Besides being a hands-on professor, Richardson also takes time to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity. He said he has participated since 1991 and has built a home every year since.

Kathy Coleman, instructor of mathematics, said he promotes Habitat for Humanity to the community, and it is well known for his involvement.

“He exemplifies good teaching, research as well as community involvement,” she said. “In other words, he’s a very well-rounded person, and he doesn’t just teach.”

The TCU Promise recognition makes the campus aware of the dedicated faculty the math department has, chair of mathematics George Gilbert said.

He said despite the recognition Richardson has received, it will not make much of a difference in students enrolling in his classes. The classes are already popular and are “bursting at the seams as it is,” Gilbert said.

“I don’t actually try and teach them that much. I get them to do work,” Richardson said. “I try and be fun and get them [to] enjoy the subject.”