Picture of Suzanne Sumner

Suzanne Sumner

Professor of Mathematics, Director of the Teaching Innovation Program

University of Mary Washington

F21 Class of 1995

Suzanne Sumner, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Mary Washington, earned a Ph.D. and M.S. in applied mathematics from North Carolina State University. Dr. Sumner earned her bachelor of science degree in mathematical sciences at the University of North Carolina, where she was inducted as a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Since 2003 Dr. Sumner has served as Director of the Teaching Innovation Program at UMW, and she is active in improving teaching development and promoting interdisciplinary connections. Her ongoing interdisciplinary research and pedagogical collaborations connect applied mathematics with biology, entomology, environmental science, geology, and classics. Dr. Sumner is a recipient of five teaching awards during her years at North Carolina State University and the University of Mary Washington.

In her teaching, Dr. Sumner teaches the “History of Mathematics” course which weds mathematics and history to have an interdisciplinary bond. Several years ago, Dr. Sumner collaborated with Dr. Debra Hydorn to create a new mathematical modeling course using only examples from environmental science.

As part of the Project Kaleidoscope 2004-2006 Leadership Initiative “Building an Interdisciplinary Learning Environment,” Dr. Sumner organized the 2007 “Interdisciplinary Dilemmas in Ethics and Leadership (IDEAL)” colloquium along with her colleague Dr. Mary Rigsby. This initiative proposes a new interdisciplinary program of capstone courses at UMW employing service-learning to study social dilemmas from interdisciplinary perspectives and with ethical concerns. The colloquium featured lectures from the renowned speakers James Childress, John O’Connor, Gary Pavela, Albert Pierce, Gregory Stanton, Maryellen Weimer, and Kathleen Blake Yancey.

Dr. Sumner has been a Project Kaleidoscope Village Elder since 2007 and a Project Kaleidoscope Faculty for the 21st Century member since 1995. She was appointed as a Project Kaleidoscope Newsletter Editor in February 2008.