Barbara Moses named BGSU’s first Bailey endowed professor in math

BOWLING GREEN, O.—As a Bowling Green State University student in the 1960s, James Bailey was inspired by his mathematics professors. Years later, when he had achieved considerable success as a banking executive, Bailey was again inspired by a BGSU math professor—Dr. Barbara Moses of Bowling Green.

A talk by Moses on the importance to society of math education and teacher preparation—and of countering the disturbing decline in interest in math and science—helped shape the direction of a $1 million gift that Bailey; his wife, Judy, and their daughters made to BGSU in 2004. Of the $500,000 cash portion of the donation, $250,000 is designated for an endowed professorship in mathematics.

When determining who should be the first recipient of the Bailey Family Endowed Professorship in Mathematics, Bailey said, “There was no one more deserving of the honor than Dr. Barbara Moses.” Bailey was on campus Sept. 4 at the naming ceremony.

A highly regarded teacher and specialist in math education and teacher preparation for middle and high school, Moses was the founding director, in 2002, of COSMOS (Center of Excellence in Science and Mathematics: Opportunities for Success) at BGSU. The collaborative center is designed to help produce more and better-prepared math and science teachers. Bailey noted that “northwest Ohio now boasts one of the strongest math and science centers in the state of Ohio.”

An appreciative Moses responded, “Not only are you rewarding me, but you are rewarding BGSU. This serves as a catalyst to make more of this happen. BGSU is becoming known for its math and science education. With BGSU having this position dedicated to math education, our program has become that much more respectable.”

Moses received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics education from Carnegie-Mellon University and master’s and Ph.D. degrees from Indiana University. After two years on the faculty at Indiana State University at Evansville, she came to BGSU in 1978 and was promoted to full professor in 2003.

During many years of working with colleagues in K-12 math and science education, Moses and her teams have received more than $1.7 million in external funding. Moses’ research focuses on visualization in algebraic thinking, and she is co-author, with retired faculty member Dr. Alice Calderonello, of the soon-to-be-published book Algebra for Teachers.

“Because of our family’s good fortune, we have been able to support causes in which we believe,” Bailey said. “When we were deciding what to support, one of my daughters said, ‘Don’t just start a scholarship, because it affects just one person.’

“The result was that the family established the endowed professorship in mathematics education (at BGSU) and an elementary program in Bridgeport, Conn., inner-city schools that teaches teachers. We think we can have a wider spread of influence across the country by impacting the teachers of math. We wanted to raise the level of math education, not just at BG but to reach out to the rest of the world by teaching the teachers.”

At their 2004 gift announcement, Bailey explained that he and his family targeted math education specifically because “teachers have an underappreciated skill. Teachers have the opportunity to turn people off or turn people on.“ He recalled that he had gotten a C in his first math class at BGSU but then had a great professor “who made all the difference in the world.”

At the Sept. 4 event, he said his BGSU experiences were “the foundation of whatever successes I have had.”

Those successes have been many. The former executive vice president of Citibank’s North American consumer bank responsible for the branches, mortgage and credit card businesses, he retired as executive vice president in 2000. Until 2003, he was a consultant in such areas as consumer marketing and financial modeling, and led a team that recommended a restructuring of the Bank of China as China prepared to enter the World Trade Organization.

From 2003-07, Bailey was chief operating officer of U.S. Trust and a member of the executive committee at Schwab.

He has maintained a strong relationship with BGSU, returning in 2007 to co-teach a history class with Dr. Donald Nieman, former dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. A member of the BGSU Foundation Board, he is also on the search committee for the University’s next president.

 

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(Posted September 15, 2008 )