News - George Peters Named Outstanding Faculty Member at 2016 Commencement

George Peters Named Outstanding Faculty Member at 2016 Commencement

by Rachel Heston-Davis George Peters Named Outstanding Faculty Member at 2016 Commencement

Associate Professor of Mathematics George Peters ’92, chair of the mathematics department at Greenville College, accepted the Outstanding Faculty Award at GC's 2016 Commencement ceremony May 21.

Students nominate faculty for the Outstanding Faculty Award via essay, describing each nominee’s qualities.

At the May 21 ceremony, Provost Edwin Estevez shared faculty and student remarks that highlighted Peters' dedication to the field of mathematics, care for his students, and commitment to Christ.

Practical and Beautiful, Created and Discovered

For Peters, math holds a fascination both practical and aesthetic. "I love both the beauty (austere though it is) and the practicality of the topic," he says. "The elegant justification of a surprising theorem brings me great pleasure."

He understands math as a strange and amazing blend of the created and discovered, and uses the curve as an example: “People thought humans created curves, such as the ellipse, only to discover that our planets move in nearly elliptical orbits and they are programmed into the fabric of the universe."

These discoveries can lead to questions about the role of a creator in the design of the universe. While Peters admits that the connections aren’t always immediately apparent to students, he strives to show his classes that mathematics can inspire reflection on faith.

Eager to share the mystery and intellectual rigor of the subject, Peters designs classes that challenge. "I want to see students learn and grow in their abilities and understanding." Yet difficulty isn't the point of the class, he says; rather "the difficulty is a natural result of working in the topic."

Worthy of the Utmost Care

In student nomination essays and faculty remarks about George Peters, his investment in students emerged as a repeating theme.

"I try to love and respect my students of all backgrounds and abilities," he says. "I try to maintain my awareness that they are all created in the image of God and are worthy of the utmost care." He brings this attitude to the classroom and to the office, approaching office hours as "an important opportunity to attend to students" rather than a time to shut the door and work alone.

Jubilee House

That love for people reaches beyond students. In 2009, Peters and his wife Linda (Dillow ’92) sensed a need for Christian counseling in the Greenville area. While a few Christian counselors operate individually in the area, Peters and his wife wanted to create a centralized organization to offer Christian counseling and resources.

They founded Jubilee House, a center that provides counseling services through six part-time counselors. All of the counselors work at or are affiliated with GC in some way. "We also have a small ministry that allows us to give small donations to organizations working with the poor both locally and internationally," Peters adds.

Learn more about GC programs and experiences in the mathematics department and other STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) areas by clicking the stories below:

GC Student and Faculty Research Published in The Journal of Chemical Education

Elle Shaw Claims Top Honors at Commencement

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Programs at GC

 

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This story was published on June 30, 2016




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