Besides just teaching mathematics a university level math professor also participates in many activities on campus. These activities may include working with gifted or exceptional students, sitting on various committees and steering groups for the university, or even publishing research material on an ongoing basis. Most university mathematics professors also interact on a regular basis with colleagues and other mathematics professionals from around the world using various listserves and email programs. This constant networking may provide opportunities for a university mathematics professor to teach internationally or to become involved in mathematics research projects that are global in scope.
Mathematics professors use many different computer programs to verify mathematical research concepts that would simply be too time consuming to do with pencil and paper verification. A good understanding of databases, mathematical software programs and data entry protocols are required. In addition an ability to conceptualize and visualize even complex mathematic problems and break them down into small steps is critical for a professor.
Teaching students is one of the major responsibilities of a mathematics professor. Excellent communication skills and an ability to talk about abstract concepts in meaningful ways is truly important for effective teaching. The mathematics professor is also responsible for developing the curriculum they will use, evaluating student learning through projects and examinations and providing grades to students that reflect their understanding of the concepts. Mathematics professors may teach in various locations and may even travel internationally to present at conferences or to be a guest lecturer at a university in another location, state or country.
Common work activities include:
- Developing and implementing a curriculum as approved by the mathematics department.
- Teaching students based on mathematical principles in a manner that is within their ability to comprehend, assisting student learning, answering questions and working one-on-one with students during office hours.
- Participating in research projects and keeping abreast of current changes in mathematical theory or teaching practices.
- Traveling to various universities, conferences and professional development seminars.
- Networking and interacting with other mathematics professors around the world.