Justin Gash, Ph.D.

“My teaching philosophy has always centered on a single element: accessibility to my students. Successful office hours are opportunities to invite and discuss questions and concerns. Powerful advising isn’t simply registering students for classes: it is being a career consultant, damage controller, long-range planner, financial planner, mentor, and/or friend, depending on what the situation demands.”

Title

Division head of business, mathematics and computing; associate professor of mathematics

Educational Background

  • Ph.D., Indiana University – Bloomington, IN
  • M.A., Indiana University – Bloomington, IN
  • B.A., Depauw University – Greencastle, IN

Year joined Franklin

2008

Expertise

Computational algebra, cryptology

Do you value undergraduate research?

Participation in undergraduate research is a special priority for our department. There are curricular experiences that can be found in MAT 345: Statistical Consulting Project, where students work in teams with a local non-for-profit to solve a real-world problem, or in CMP 473: Senior Seminar, where students design and implement their own software creations. There are also independent studies that students do with faculty mentors, and these projects can yield results in the forms of papers, publications, and/or talks at professional conferences. Recent undergraduate researchers at Franklin have given talks at the IN-MAA Spring Meetings, the Butler University Undergraduate Research Conference, and Franklin College Math Day.

Can you double-major in mathematics and another discipline?

Actually, quite a number of our mathematics majors are also majoring in another discipline. Some of the more popular second majors include business, computer science, secondary education, software engineering, chemistry, and economics, but we’ve also had double-majors in journalism and political science. Moreover, many of our student have minors in a diverse set of disciplines, including the ones above and studio art! At Franklin we believe that your study of mathematics and computing is part of a larger educational experience, and we encourage study in a wide range of disciplines.

Selected Professional Accomplishments

Awards

Dietz Award for Faculty Excellence: May 2016, Franklin College – The highest faculty award given at Franklin College. It recognizes outstanding teaching, scholarship, and service.
Legend of Castle High School: March, 2016 – An award for outstanding achievement from my alma mater.

Publications

Using TurningPoint Clickers for Classroom Engagement and Assessment: Summer 2017 (in conjunction with Dan Callon), 2017 Proceedings of the ICTCM
Modifying Faugère’s F5 Algorithm to Ensure Termination: published Summer 2011, (written in conjunction with John Perry and Christian Eder), ACM Communications in Computer Algebra
Integrating spreadsheets, visualization tools and knowledge engines in a liberal arts calculus course: Summer 2010 (in conjunction with Robert Talbert) 2010 Proceedings of the ICTCM.
On Efficient Computation of Gröbner Bases: July 2008, Ph.D. Thesis.

Presentations

Creating a Meaningful Student Learning Experience: July 2017 – I, along with my colleagues from the department, was invited to present a Mini-course at the 2017 MathFest conference held in Chicago, IL. In addition to the Mini-course, we took nine FC students to the conference for a three-day period.
The Moral Argument: March 12, 2017 – I was invited by Pastor Daniel Jepsen of Franklin Community Church to give a sermon over the moral argument. This was a result of my sabbatical research in apologetics.
From Buchberger to Faugère: November 2, 2016, Indiana University – I was invited to speak at the Indiana University student colloquium series.
Understanding the Advanced Encryption Standard: October 25, 2016, Ball State University – I was invited by Rebecca Pierce to speak at the Ball State University mathematics colloquium.
Counting to Infinity and Beyond: October 4, 2016, Castle High School – I was invited to speak to Castle calculus classes. (This also served as a recruiting trip.)
Counting to Infinity and Beyond: April 15, 2016, Castle High School – I was invited to speak to Castle calculus classes. (This also served as a recruiting trip.)
Understanding Gröbner Bases (and Why Cryptographers Should Care): September 9, 2016, DePauw University — I was invited by Zhixin Wu to speak at the DePauw University mathematics colloquium.
Creating a Meaningful Student Learning Experience: July 2016 – I, along with my colleagues from the department, presented a Mini-course at the 2016 MathFest conference held in Columbus, OH. In addition to the Mini-course, we took eight FC students to the conference for a three-day period. (Our Mini-course was successful enough that it was renewed for the 2017 MathFest in Chicago, IL. – see above.)
Office Hour Analysis: January 21, 2015, Franklin College – An overview of the methods I used to collect and collate office hour data during my first six years at Franklin College. The presentation also included a statistical analysis of the data, recommendations for audience members, and suggestions for further study.
Office Hour Analysis: October 21, 2013, ICTM – See above.
SCIST Insurance Analysis: April 10 2010, INMAA Spring Conference – I was part of a panel discussion on using technology in the classroom. I gave a brief (10-minute) presentation about a project my students in LA 103 had done regarding the SCIST health insurance plans. The presentation focused on the use of Microsoft Excel and presentation skills.
Integrating spreadsheets, visualization tools and knowledge engines in a liberal arts course: March 11-14 2010, ICTCM Conference – This presentation on use of technology in the calculus classroom was given with colleague Robert Talbert.
Understanding the Advanced Encryption Standard: November 17, 2009, Wabash College – I was invited by Chad Westphal to speak at the Wabash College mathematics colloquium.
Creating Mathematics Projects that Incorporate Microsoft Excel and Writing: October 26, 2009, ICTM
From Buchberger to Faugère: January 16, 2009, University of Southern Mississippi, Mathematics Colloquium – A two-part invited talk at USM.
Understanding Gröbner Bases (and Why Cryptographers Should Care): January 7, 2009, Joint Meetings of the MAA and AMS
Trying to Break the Secure Communications of the USA: November 15, 2008, Math Day 2008 – I was invited by the math faculty of Franklin College to present some of my graduate research.

Professional Development

Student Activities Coordinator for Indiana MAA: Summer 2010 – Spring 2016 – I was elected to the position of student activities coordinator, a position on Indiana’s executive board of the MAA. My responsibilities are varied, but includes include managing the Spring meeting’s Indiana Collegiate Mathematics Competition and organizing student workshops at the Spring meetings.
Young Mathematician’s Conference (YMC): Summer 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 – I was a judge for the YMC, meaning I read through a list of abstracts from all applicants, scoring them based upon a conference standard. This conference focuses on undergraduate research in mathematics.
WeBWorK Workshop: Summer 2013 – I participated in a four-week workshop on WeBWorK, an online homework program that we use extensively at Franklin. The workshop focused on developing and authoring our own problems. The workshop was funded by the MAA.

What Students Say

“Dr. Gash goes above and beyond to work with his students and show that he cares about not only their education, but their overall well-being.” – Derek Linn ’12

“Dr. Gash has been one of the most influential people in my life. From deciding where to attend graduate school to surviving graduate school to deciding on a career path, I cannot name a single academic or professional experience where my path was not positively affected by what Justin has done for me. My life is infinitely better because of his instruction, compassion, and mentorship and I am grateful every day that Justin chose to be a professor at Franklin College.” – Matt Brems ’12

“Dr. Gash has the unique ability to make learning fun. I always looked forward to his classes as I knew that there would be laughs, but that I would also walk away with a solid understanding of the day’s topic.”  – Hilary Hauguel ’11

In My Spare Time…

I enjoy playing poker. In particular, I enjoy playing No-Limit Texas Hold’em. I am a fairly conservative player, and I can be bluffed off hands easily; but I’m also disciplined, so I tend to hang around a while and give myself a chance to win. I’m also a big Cubs baseball fan and Colts football fan.

Currently I am reading the book Reasonable Faith by William Lane Craig, research philosopher and doctor of divinity at Houston Baptist University. While I find the book a great defense of my Christian faith, I also think it is a great example of the value of a liberal arts education. The book connects the worlds of religion and formal logic – the Humanities and the Sciences – to create an essay people can apply to their everyday life.