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College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

As Easy As 1, 2, 3: Meet Math Instructor Julie Anderson

From The Daily Mississippian by Morgan Bradley

Sitting at the front of professor Julie Anderson’s calculus class is not like sitting at the front of a typical math class.

Waking up for her class is not like waking up for any other dreaded 8 a.m.

This is because Anderson is not an ordinary math instructor.

Waking up, hiking in the cold and rain to Hume Hall, squeezing between the tables and listening to a calculus lecture for over an hour somehow becomes an enjoyable morning.

But how?

Math is not something easily understood by everyone, but according to Anderson’s students, she does a lot to counter that difficulty.

“Ms. Anderson is a great teacher,” Lindsay Pham, sophomore marketing communications major, said. “I’m not good with numbers, but she made business calculus seem like reciting the alphabet. I had not taken math since my junior year of high school, and she helped my transition from high school to college easier with her style of teaching.”

Even students who have not had Anderson for more than a couple of weeks agree that she is an outstanding instructor.

“She has a ‘grade school’ style of teaching in that she makes sure that everyone understands a concept before she moves on to another subject,” Lindsay White, a freshman biology major, said.

Her fellow faculty members back up the claims.

“Ms. Anderson sincerely cares about the academic success of her students,” Charles Dorrough, director of freshman math, said. “She has always been an enthusiastic team player for the math department.”

Fellow instructor Lanzhen Song said that Ms. Anderson “goes beyond her job and is a quality teacher” and is “charismatic and very easy to get along with.”

Anderson earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematics from UM and is an Oxford native.

She worked in large variety of jobs before teaching at the University of Mississippi, such as serving as a lifeguard at both a resort in Florida and a YMCA in Massachusetts. She also worked in an automotive plant in New Hampshire and taught summer school to inner city kids in Los Angeles.

But all of this led her back to a love of Oxford, UM and math.

“I believe that if you don’t like math, then you have not had good teachers.” Anderson said. “I think everyone can learn, but students convince themselves at an early age that they are not good at it or they don’t like it. I don’t buy it. I love to see someone’s light bulb go on.”

Her biggest pet peeve is when students text all through class.

“Back in the olden days, we could go a good 50 minutes without any contact from the outside world,” she said. “It is rather insulting, because I think if they would listen then they would learn.”