Professor Padmanabhan Seshaiyer of George Mason University's Department of Mathematical Sciences in Fairfax, Virgina (USA) has completed his stay as visiting lecturer at The Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology (NM AIST-Arusha) in Arusha, Tanzania.
Prof. Seshaiyer took part in the Volunteer Lecturer Program from the 10th August - 5th September 2011 and contributed in the following areas:
1. Teaching and Course Development: Helped to develop two new graduate classes in their catalog MCSE6103 (Computational Methods for Scientists and Engineers I) and MCSE6102 (Differential Equations). The content and structure correspond to the special 5-week modular form of coursework that NM AIST-Arusha offers. The development of two more graduate classes that will be second semester 5-week modular classes is planned.
2. Course Material Creation: As a part of the course development, complete course packets including detailed syllabi, day by day schedule including classwork, homework and projects were created. Additionally Powerpoint lectures for every topic in the course, a detailed instructor's guide in the form of a textbook (130 pages) as well as a website for the classes for easy access of the content and delivery for the students were developed.
3. Research Collaboration: Prof. Seshaiyer interacted with faculty from all various schools and departments including Mathematics, Computational and Communication Science and Engineering; Life Sciences and Bioengineering; Materials Science and Engineering and; Water Resources and Environmental Science and Engineering. Having directed students on a variety of projects at all levels in the last decade on these areas, he was able to share his work with them and discuss potential collaborations that we can build from both our expertise. In this regard, he was able to help out creating proposals and hope to engage in interdisciplinary collaborative research opportunities in the near future.
4. K-12 Outreach Work: Visit of three secondary (high schools) that included the Orkeeswa Secondary School, Maasai Girls School and Ilboru Secondary School. Prof. Seshaiyer gave lectures to over 700 students. He is hoping to help these school set up afterschool mathematics clubs and connect them with faculty at NM AIST-Arusha to constantly motivate them to pursue mathematics, science and engineering. Prof. Seshaiyer had also an opportunity to share with the high school teachers about possible resources that they can use to motivate the students to think of careers in STEM.
5. Proposal Writing: Developed a proposal for an international multidisciplinary conference at NM AIST-Arusha on the themes offered by the institution to attract students and scientists from various parts of Africa. Met and interacted with the members of the African Capacity Building Foundation, International Science Programme and the East African Universities Mathematics Programme.
His stay was financially supported by the U.S. National Committee for Mathematics.