It’s not unusual for Dr. William Bauldry to start class by playing the opening chord to “A Hard Day’s Night” by The Beatles.
There are five instruments that make the chord sound the way it does, but only four official members of the band, Bauldry said. But, the mystery can be solved using mathematical analysis, and that’s what his Calculus II students learn.
“The class has to be interesting; it can’t be a standard of starting at formulas,” Bauldry said.
This goes for math majors but also non-math majors who take classes like Calculus II to fulfill a degree requirement, Bauldry said.
His favorite class to teach is Operations Research, which is only offered every other year. In that class students evaluate the effectiveness of certain processes, which can be heavily applied to business math.
The most recent class Bauldry taught analyzed the efficiency of a recent initiative by Appalachian’s administration to prioritize academic programs. The class was able to present a research poster on its findings for a business math conference.
Bauldry also enjoys mentoring students on a research project on a topic of their choice.
Bauldry has been a faculty member of the Department of Mathematical Sciences since 1986 and has taught more than 20 different classes, from pre-calculus to graduate courses.
Originally when he came to campus, he planned to stay about three years and move on.
But, he discovered that Appalachian creates an environment that is supportive of his research and educational projects. For example, early on Bauldry was the first mathematics faculty member to apply for a National Science Foundation grant to fund a computer lab dedicated to mathematics. It continues to operate today on the second floor of Walker Hall, thanks to the department’s renewal of his grant.
“Appalachian is a place where you can define yourself,” Bauldry said.