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Eric Moorhouse Receives UW’s Ellbogen Lifetime Teaching Award

May 9, 2022
man standing at a whiteboard
Eric Moorhouse, a UW professor of mathematics, has been named the recipient of the 2022 John P. Ellbogen Lifetime Teaching Award. The award recognizes the long, distinguished and exemplary career of one senior faculty member who has excelled as a teacher at UW. (Eric Moorhouse Photo)

Whether he is peppering high school students with questions during the Wyoming State Science Fair or designing and delivering mathematics courses for in-service mathematics teachers around the state, Eric Moorhouse’s commitment to and love of mathematics show.

Moorhouse, a professor in the University of Wyoming’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics, is the recipient of the 2022 John P. Ellbogen Lifetime Teaching Award. The award recognizes the long, distinguished and exemplary career of one senior faculty member who has excelled as a teacher at UW.

“Dr. Moorhouse exemplifies what the Ellbogen Lifetime Teaching Award is about,” says Jason Williford, a professor and head of the UW Department of Mathematics and Statistics, who nominated Moorhouse. “He has had a distinguished career as a teacher and scholar at UW; he provides his students with novel insights into modern mathematics; and he makes tangible contributions that enhance the institution’s overall teaching and learning environment.”

Myron Allen, a UW professor emeritus of mathematics, describes Moorhouse as “arguably the department’s most wide-ranging mathematical scholar” and credits him with the leadership and coordination that have improved the “Calculus I” course, which is pivotal for over 350 UW undergraduate students -- including virtually all STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) majors -- each semester.

“Today, over three-quarters of UW’s ‘Calculus I’ students earn grades that qualify to take ‘Calculus II’ -- a significant improvement over previous eras at UW,” Allen wrote.

Students, too, had high praise for Moorhouse.

Bryan Curtis, a former UW student and now a postdoctoral researcher at Iowa State University, was an instructor for “Calculus I” that was coordinated by Moorhouse during the 2018 spring semester.

“I learned a great deal about teaching from Dr. Moorhouse. He always was available to provide support and guidance,” Curtis wrote in his nomination letter. “During this time, Dr. Moorhouse offered to observe one of my lectures to provide feedback. It meant a lot that he was willing to take the time to help me improve as an instructor, especially since there was no expectation for him to do so.”

Jacey Myers, a recent UW graduate with a bachelor’s degree in secondary mathematics education, says Moorhouse believed highly in students’ exploration of mathematics, and his homework assignments guided students to draw mathematical conclusions.

“This made his classes very challenging, as the mathematical concepts were not spoon-fed to us,” Myers says. “Instead, it required us to come to conclusions on how and when to apply algorithms.”

Moorhouse came to UW in 1989 as an assistant professor in mathematics. He was promoted to an associate professor in 1995 and a full professor in 2010. During his time at UW, he has taught 37 different courses. He received the Ellbogen Meritorious Classroom Teaching Award in 2017.

His mathematical interests have included projective geometry, codes and designs, nonassociative structures, algebraic combinatorics and information theory. He attempts to use a variety of tools, both experimental -- practical programming with computers -- and theoretical -- methods from group theory, algebraic geometry, number theory and mathematical logic.

Moorhouse received his Ph.D. and master’s degree in mathematics, and his bachelor’s degree in mathematics and statistics, all from the University of Toronto.

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