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Butler University Bulletin

Mathematics, Statistics, and Actuarial Science

Administration

Scott Kaschner, PhD, Department Chair
Lacey P. Echols, MAT, Coordinator of Mathematics Support Services

Professors

  • William W. Johnston, PhD

Associate Professors

  • Rasitha R. Jayasekare, PhD
  • Scott Kaschner, PhD
  • Duane Leatherman, MA
  • Amber C. Russell, PhD
  • Rebecca G. Wahl, PhD
  • Jonathan E. Webster, PhD
  • Christopher J. Wilson, PhD

Assistant Professors

  • Mohammad Shaha Patwary, PhD

Senior Lecturers

  • Lacey P. Echols, MAT
  • Karen Holmes, PhD
  • Mary Z. Krohn, PhD

Lecturer

  • Jennifer L Cox, MA
  • John Herr, PhD

Department Website

www.butler.edu/math-actuarial

The department offers both majors and minors in the disciplines of mathematics and actuarial science, and a major in statistics. In addition to the departmental requirements listed below, a student must complete the Core Curriculum requirement, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences language requirement, and other general requirements listed in this Bulletin. A bachelor of science degree is also available in natural science and mathematics or in natural science and actuarial science for majors who complete a total of at least 60 credits combined from the two chosen areas.

Why Study Mathematics?

The mathematics major is well suited to and designed for students who are interested in gaining employment in government or industry jobs that require problem-solving skills, attending graduate or professional school, or teaching in secondary schools.

Why Study Mathematics at Butler?

  • The department faculty provides a personal education in a close-knit community. Students and faculty members know one another in supportive, professional relationships, and faculty members care about their students and their success and know every student by name. All of the department’s classes are small—fewer than 30 students in each one, including introductory-level courses. Every course is taught by faculty members with advanced degrees and with a wide range of specialties in the different mathematical subfields, and there are no graduate students teaching departmental classes. In these ways, the department offers a consistently student-oriented education.
  • The department’s curriculum is top-rated in quality. It adheres to the Mathematics Association of America’s Committee for Undergraduate Program in Mathematics guidelines—one of the few collegiate mathematics departments in the United States to commit enough teaching resources to do so. The Butler mathematics major is a wonderful choice for a strong investment in any student’s future.
  • Department professors are available to students. Each one maintains office hours—no appointment necessary. The department’s office doors are open every single workday. Faculty members support each other, and students may talk with any faculty member to get help needed.
  • The department’s Mathematics Tutoring Lab hires mathematics and mathematics education majors to provide support to students enrolled in lower-level and core mathematics classes—at no charge.
  • Mathematics faculty members are always open to sponsoring student/professor collaborative research for the department’s majors, such as in the Butler Summer Institute.
  • Dual degrees are available in engineering through a partnership with the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at Indianapolis (IUPUI). In that program, a student earns degrees in two majors—for example, mathematics (from Butler) and engineering (from Purdue). (See Engineering Dual Degree Program—EDDP.)

Mathematics Student Learning Outcomes

Our graduates are problem solvers with a broad knowledge of mathematical subfields. They are extraordinarily strong at thinking about and proving abstract mathematical statements, and they communicate mathematical solutions and concepts clearly and effectively. Butler mathematics majors carry with them an ability to understand mathematical arguments and assess their validity. They can identify the fundamental concepts in the main areas of mathematics, including set theory, logic, calculus, discrete mathematics, linear and modern algebra, and real and complex analysis. They can construct mathematical proofs using standard techniques such as induction, contradiction, and contraposition, and they can solve mathematical problems by applying abstract theory and/or mathematical models as appropriate. Our graduates communicate well to various audiences—to individuals who might be trained in mathematics and to those who are not. This ability includes the use of mathematical word-processing systems to write mathematics. In these many ways, our majors understand various interconnections among the branches of mathematics, the discipline’s breadth and depth, and its beauty.

Why Study Actuarial Science?

An actuary is a mathematician responsible for estimating risks, primarily in the insurance and financial security industries. The Butler program prepares each student in the major for a successful career as an actuary, as well as for the professional examinations of the Society of Actuaries and Casualty Actuary Society.

Why Study Actuarial Science at Butler?

  • Butler is one of only a few institutions in Indiana to offer an undergraduate degree in actuarial science. The department additionally offers a combined actuarial science/management curricular option, in which students can earn both an actuarial science undergraduate degree and an MBA degree.
  • The department has a very active student club in actuarial science. It also works with a departmental board of advisors for actuarial science, whose members are alumni who work with the department faculty and student majors. For example, they often offer advice for the program and support departmental efforts to help students find internships and jobs.
  • Each year, upper-level actuarial science major courses give students a chance to see, from a faculty member who can provide an industry point of view, how classroom ideas and issues arise naturally in the workplace.
  • The actuarial science curriculum prepares students to take as many as three or four actuarial science examinations while still a student at Butler, giving them a jump-start on their career.

Actuarial Science Student Learning Outcomes

Our graduates enter the job market with a strong working knowledge of the basic concepts and theories of actuarial science. They are qualified to sit for the exams administered by the Society of Actuaries. These actuarial science majors can solve insurance and financial problems related to risk assessment, and they know how to perform related calculations in applications of standard actuarial methods. Finally, they are able to communicate sophisticated quantitative analysis clearly and correctly to various audiences in both written and spoken presentations. In this way, our actuarial science majors are well prepared to take leadership roles in businesses that require risk-management services.

Why Study Statistics?

A statistician can analyze data in a way that provides powerful conclusions, based on inductive reasoning, about truths in the world around us. The Butler program prepares each major for a successful career as a statistician, which is one of the corporate world’s most heavily recruited professionals. Our majors learn how to determine which statistical procedure to apply to a given study in the real world, the mathematics behind why these procedures work, and how to work with the most modern software to crunch large data sets and apply tools in predictive analytics.

Why Study Statistics at Butler?

Students in our program gain an understanding of statistics and its applications through classroom instruction and hands-on participation in research projects and/or internships, all of which are built into the curriculum and major requirements. In the classroom, students see a powerful outline of the way in which probability (the mathematical tool for a statistician) governs any statistical analysis, learn how to think rationally about random variables in the world around us, and see how to crunch data in their many different forms, no matter what the underlying experimental structure. Finally, each statistics student gains experience by looking at real-world data sets of various types, sizes, and complexities. This experience develops each student’s abilities and use of computational tools to know how to work in corporate settings and as an expert researcher. Participation in student-faculty collaborative research is strongly emphasized and can have applications in any discipline that focuses on analyzing random variables and data. Butler’s geographic position in Indianapolis puts it in the heart of the Indiana corporate world, allowing our students to forge connections with the large number of local companies offering internships or seeking solutions to statistical questions.

Statistics Student Learning Outcomes

Statistics students graduate with a demonstrated mastery of the fundamental and broad content areas of probability, statistical theory, statistical methods, and applications to the real world. They are able to use critical thinking to advance scientific inquiry. They are also able to communicate statistical knowledge well to others, design real-world tests and collection of data, and continue learning new facts about statistics throughout their lifetimes.

Degree Programs

  • Actuarial Science (BA, BS)
  • Mathematics (BA, BS)
  • Statistics (BA, BS)
  • Minor in Actuarial Science
  • Minor in Mathematics