Department ofMathematics and Computer Science

Stories

Committed to “the Creativity of Calculus”

Jedlovec Joins SCU Math/CS

By Riley O’Connell ‘19

This fall, Prof. PJ Jedlovec, a graduate of Vanderbilt University and the University of Notre Dame, joins the Santa Clara University Department of Mathematics and Computer Science. Jedlovec’s research encompasses a mathematical field called algebraic topology, which he describes as the study of surfaces unaffected by changes in shape or size. “It’s very abstract,” says Jedlovec, “but also very tangible, and it has all sorts of applications in physics and medicine.”

The whole field of mathematics, in fact, Jedlovec finds to be universal, because of the lessons it teaches in creativity and problem-solving. “[Math] is a language of its own. It helps habituate us to not just thinking about the immediate particular aspects of our life but the higher, nobler, more universal things like goodness, truth, and beauty.”

In seeking to further these pillars of SCU’s mission, Jedlovec will take a student-oriented approach to his courses through a “flipped classroom” format. According to Jedlovec, students watch video lectures online for homework and spend class time working in small groups on problem sets. By doing so, Jedlovec approaches the course from the students’ perspective: “I try to teach as often as I can as though I’m approaching the topic for the first time, too. It increases student confidence.”

A proponent of not just the depth but the breadth of a liberal arts education, Jedlovec looks forward to teaching at SCU. “At their best, [Jesuit Catholic liberal arts universities] provide an unparalleled education by not just making technically proficient students [who] can make a lot of money at a high-paying job, but educating the whole student and making wiser and more virtuous human beings out of students.”

As for advice he would give his students, Jedlovec says, “Be a saint…[Life] is about being so surrendered to love and the pursuit of truth, goodness, and beauty that our life takes on that saintly character.”

Jedlovec teaches Introductory Calculus courses and Finite Math.

 

faculty story, math major, New faculty