Dan Callon, Ph.D.

“Helping students to discover the world of opportunities available to them, showing them the needs in the workplace and in society that they have the potential to address, and then coaching them to develop the skills and attitudes necessary to access those opportunities and to meet those needs – this is what energizes me and makes me love what I do.”

Title

Wolford Endowed Chair in Mathematics; professor of mathematics

Educational Background

  • Ph.D., University of Cincinnati – Cincinnati, OH
  • M.A., Indiana University – Bloomington, IN
  • B.A., Franklin College – Franklin, IN

Year joined Franklin

1987

Expertise

My Ph. D. is in numerical analysis, which blends mathematics and computing, and my broader background is in both mathematics and education. I have been able to help our department to develop a number of innovative courses, programs, and activities which have earned us a regional and national reputation for innovation in curricular and co-curricular design and assessment. Our flagship course is our statistical consulting project, where students work in teams to complete a semester-long consulting project for a local nonprofit agency, receiving training in project management and in working effectively in a team and with a client. Alumni consistently cite this experience as their most important professional preparation. But all our courses are designed to integrate with each other and to build on one another so that students consistently are developing the knowledge and skills needed to prepare themselves to succeed at that level.

What kinds of jobs are available for mathematics majors?

In the annual rankings of best jobs, actuaries, engineers, statisticians, and mathematicians are always in the top five or ten. A mathematics major is fundamental preparation for each of them. We have alumni in all of those professions, working in business and industry, in government, in education, and in the nonprofit sector. And we also have recent alumni who have obtained graduate degrees in law, in medicine, in economics, in chemistry, and in public policy and nonprofit management.

What do employers look for when hiring and promoting?

My years of research into this topic have produced remarkably consistent results. The threshold for getting your résumé considered is typically a 3.0 GPA in technical major, with mathematics majors held in high regard because of their logical thinking and problem solving skills. But what makes the difference in who gets the job and in who moves up the ladder are concrete evidence of communication skills, collaboration and teamwork skills, and professional attitudes. Our mathematics courses and our co-curricular activities are carefully designed to create a scaffolding to help our students to develop both their mathematical expertise and their professional prowess so that they can present an array of examples displaying exactly those desired traits.

Selected Professional Accomplishments

Honors and Awards

Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics, Indiana Section of the Mathematical Association of America
Distinguished Service Award, Indiana Section of the Mathematical Association of America
Two-time winner of the Clifford and Paula Dietz Award for Faculty Excellence, Franklin College

Selected Presentations

“A Project-Based Numerical Analysis Course,” MathFest, Mathematical Association of America, Washington, DC, 2015.
“Establishing and Achieving Departmental Goals for Student Development,” faculty workshop, Valparaiso University, 2015.
“A Multi-Tiered Support System,” MathFest, Mathematical Association of America, Portland, OR, 2014.
“Community-Based Projects Using Real-World Data,” MathFest, Mathematical Association of America, Portland, OR, 2014.
“Student-Centered Assessment,” Joint National Meetings of the American Mathematical Society and the Mathematical Association of America, Baltimore, MD, 2014.

What Students Say

“Dr. Callon makes even the hardest parts of being a math major fun by pushing us to be our best selves in and out of the classroom. Through his class I’ve gained confidence in not only my mathematic skills but also in my professional development.” – Sydney Stuckwisch ’19

Dr. Callon has always gone above and beyond to ensure that each individual he comes in contact reaches her or his full potential. From offering independent studies to taking time to let students plan unconventional and groundbreaking 3D printing activities, I’ve experienced much academic growth due to him, and seen those around me flourish from the time, effort, and expertise he brings to Franklin’s math department.” – Cody Burker ’19

“Dr. Callon has helped me to become an independent thinker in the realm of mathematics, forcing me to stretch, test, and challenge what I know. On top of that, he cares about more than class. He always makes sure I’m doing well, whether it’s in class or life.” – Melissa Beer ’20

In My Spare Time…

I currently serve as president of the Clark-Pleasant Education Foundation, as treasurer of the board of Greenwood Village South (a continuing care retirement community), as an elder and Bible study teacher at Greenwood Christian Church, and as a member of the First Mt. Pleasant Cemetery board.