Melissa M. Hoover
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
“It’s very touching to be recognized for doing my job well. Teaching is all that I’ve ever wanted to do,” said Dr. Melissa Hoover. She is deeply enthusiastic about teaching and the importance of showing that enthusiasm in the classroom.
Hoover stated that continual practice is key for students learning mathematics. She added, “I also strive to emphasize that communication is an important part of mathematics. The process one uses to get to the answer and the manner in which the answer is communicated are just as important, if not more so, than getting the right answer.” She believes emphasizing the possible real-life applications of communication in students’ future employment is also essential. The relationship building and opportunities to help students succeed in understanding the material are especially meaningful.
A summa cum laude graduate of McDaniel College, Hoover earned her M.S. and Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Virginia. She is a member of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) and has reviewed journal articles and textbook drafts in her field. She was a fellow with Project NExT, a professional development program for new and recent mathematics Ph.D.s, and now serves as a consultant for the program, mentoring current fellows.
At Bridgewater College, Hoover, an associate professor of mathematics, teaches courses such as precalculus, calculus and at least one upper-level mathematics course each semester. “It’s unlikely that I will be able to convince all of my students to think that math is as beautiful as I think it is, but I have to try. If I can show students that the material they are studying is fascinating to someone, I think students are more apt to appreciate what they are learning.”
One of her most treasured moments was receiving a note from a former student who was beginning her student teaching. “She paid me two wonderful compliments that I’ll never forget.” Hoover continued, “First, she said that she appreciated that my courses were always challenging, and that she learned a lot as a result. Second, and more importantly, she also told me that she had learned from me what kind of teacher she wanted to be.”
In 2014, Hoover received the College’s Ben and Janice Wade Outstanding Teaching Award. The award, established in 1998, recognizes excellence in classroom teaching.