northrop_grumman logo in deep spaceBy Dr. Cathie J. Atkins

Dr. Ricardo Carretero, Associate Professor, Mathematics is the 2007 Northrop Grumman Excellence in Teaching Award recipient for the College of Sciences.

The Award is based on the following criteria: Teaching area in a physical science, computer science, math or engineering; Techniques that show excellence in teaching; High degree of interaction with students, faculty and staff; High personal and professional standards; Well-organized activities, lectures and/or labs; Teaching procedures that contribute to student interest, enthusiasm, and achievement; Concern for students as individuals; Evidence of significant professional development as it relates to teaching excellence.

Dr. Carretero has been a faculty member in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics since the fall of 2002. During that time, Dr. Carretero has distinguished himself as an outstanding teacher and scholar, not only among his students; but among his colleagues as well. Often described by his students as “entertaining” “enthusiastic” “well-organized” (no small feat for a professor who teaches Mathematics), Dr. Carretero is known and appreciated for his clear explanations, his excitement about the field and the way he keeps the class interested and engaged in the topic. Thus, we feel he is an excellent candidate for this award and that he meets or exceeds all of the criteria outlined in the award announcement.

Dr. Carretero photo
Dr. Ricardo Carretero

As an outstanding classroom teacher, Dr. Carretero has demonstrated an ability to teach classes ranging from lower division undergraduate courses through upper division and graduate level courses. He teaches a wide variety of Mathematics courses including Calculus I and II, Methods of Applied Mathematics, Partial Differential Equations, Advanced Differential Equations, and has developed two new courses based on his area of expertise in Dynamical Systems and Chaos. He also established a distance-learning course that is transmitted to San Diego State University’s Imperial Valley campus. Dr. Carretero’ makes extensive use of technology and animated visualizations to enhance student comprehension. He connects Mathematics to real world problems and uses lots of interesting examples from interdisciplinary areas such as Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Engineering. He loves to challenge students and most appreciate his efforts.

Dr. Carretero’s commitment to student learning goes beyond his classroom teaching. For example, Dr. Carretero established and maintains the WeBWork automated homework system for the department. WeBwork is designed to assist and support students of Mathematics and Computer Sciences in their homework activities. WeBwork is a web-based homework checker. It has been developed at the University of Rochester (and collaborating institutions) under support by several NSF grants. Importantly, Dr. Carretero has been a mentor and advisor to quite a number of undergraduate and graduate students in Mathematics. Moreover, he has successfully included student authors on his research papers. One of the most time consuming aspects of working with students is the mentoring that is involved in including them in the publications process as student authors. The publications and presentations in which students are included as authors is yet further testimony to Dr. Carretero’s commitment to student training.

Not surprisingly, Dr. Carretero’s passion and energy for his subject matter and teaching is equaled by a passion for his research program. He has established and maintained an outstanding and focused research program and is a leader in the study of the solutions and stability of dynamical systems. His main research interests are in Dynamical Systems and Computation applied to spatio-temporal systems. These interests include spatio-temporal nonlinear time series reconstruction, discrete breathers, nonlinear wave propagation, blowup and metastability in reaction-diffusion systems, adaptive mesh methods for solving Partial Differential Equations. He has particular interests in the dynamics of chains of optical (fiber optics) or quantum matter (Bose-Einstein condensates) solitons. His publication history is outstanding and includes a long list of conference presentations, awards and fellowships. Dr. Carretero has also been extremely successful in securing funding to support his research from a number of funding agencies including National Science Foundation.