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Assistant Pro­fessor of Math­e­matics Kevin Gerstle joins the department. Courtesy | Kevin Gerstle

Even in graduate school, Kevin Gerstle, Hillsdale’s newest assistant pro­fessor of math­e­matics, stood out to his professor’s teaching assistant.

Gerstle is one of 11 new faculty members Hillsdale College has wel­comed this school year. With a bachelor’s degree in psy­chology and math­e­matics from Kenyon College and a doc­torate in math­e­matics from the Uni­versity of Iowa, he is in his third year as a pro­fessor of math­e­matics.

While studying at the Uni­versity of Iowa, one of his teaching assis­tants was David Gaebler, who is now an assistant pro­fessor of math­e­matics at Hillsdale. Gaebler noted his ability to solve dif­ficult problems and explain them in a clear way.

This semester, Gerstle will teach Hills­dales stu­dents two sec­tions of Cal­culus II and one section of Complex Analysis.

Gerstle said he was specif­i­cally drawn to Hillsdale because of its stu­dents, who are known for their aca­demic strength and curious minds. He said he hopes to enjoy inter­ac­tions with stu­dents both in and out of the classroom and foster an active-learning style of teaching.

“In my opinion, the best sort of classroom is one where stu­dents aren’t just sitting there pas­sively lis­tening, but ones where they’re actually getting to take part in the class expe­rience,” Gerstle said. “How they do that can take a variety of forms. It could be simple matter of asking and answering ques­tions or giving stu­dents an oppor­tunity to work together in small groups.”

Gerstle is already imple­menting this style of teaching in his classes by allowing stu­dents to present infor­mation to the class. Gerstle said he had his stu­dents write out problems they were working on and display them on a board for the rest of the class to see.

“I think it’s really important to give stu­dents a way to actually do math them­selves in the classroom rather than just watching or lis­tening someone else do it,” Gerstle said. “You get so much more out of it that way.”

Gerstle’s cre­ativity and passion for hands-on learning display his passion for actually doing math, and not just teaching it.

“If I wasn’t a pro­fessor, I would be a pro­grammer of some sort probably. That’s some­thing I’ve always enjoyed doing, and I think if I hadn’t decided to go into a teaching career, then I think I would’ve gone into working for a cor­po­ration or the gov­ernment ‚” Gerstle said.

Sophomore Carmen Botha is taking Cal­culus II with Gerstle, and she said Gerstle has a great way of keeping the class involved.

“He is very helpful in office hours and keeps his class fun and inter­esting by making jokes,” Botha said.

Prior to arriving in Hillsdale, Gerstle served as a vis­iting pro­fessor at Oberlin College for two years. When his career at Oberlin con­cluded, he began searching for a new position.

“I had applied for a lot of jobs but Hillsdale’s was one that par­tic­u­larly inter­ested me when I was reading job ads,” Gerstle said. “I came in already knowing Dr. Gaebler…I knew he had good things to say about the school.”

Gaebler said he is antic­i­pating great things from the math­e­matics department’s newest addition.

“It wasn’t long before he was winning awards for both his teaching and his research, while filling key roles in social and out­reach events,” Gaebler said. “I was excited to see him hired here and am looking forward to all the ways his energy and expertise will make them­selves felt at Hillsdale.”

  • Alexan­derYp­si­lantis

    Welcome Pro­fessor Gerstle, good Math­e­matics pro­fessors are always welcome!