Knowledge is processed into its content and form largely through educational institutions. The dissemination of the accumulated knowledge is carried out through eminent personalities of the universities, especially concerned with the mathematical discipline. St. Mary's College, Thrissur is a well reputed college in Kerala, under the affiliation of University of Calicut, Kozhikode. This narration aims to unveil the process of development of the department of Mathematics as a branch of knowledge within the institutional framework of St. Mary's College.
History of Mathematics Education
The legacy of Mathematical education in St. Mary's College goes to a period before independence. The Alma mater and with it, the department of Mathematics, opened its doors in 1946 with under graduate and pre -university courses. The first chair of the department was Sr. Chrisantha CMC, who had been an associate professor in Calicut University. With a motto so high to unravel the unexplored, the faculty geared the development of the department to its heights.
After 20 years due to the bifurcation of the college in 1967, the under graduate courses were shifted to Vimala College, Cheroor, which was under the same management. Although left out only with pre -university courses, the department was famous all through the state and as a result, students from all over Kerala, found it a matter of prestige to enroll in this institution, especially for Science streams. Those days were blessed with showers of ranks from Calicut University and entrance examination for medical and engineering programmes.
Again in 1980 under graduate courses were re-established under the headship of Smt. A. O. Celine. Even in those olden days the department gained reputation as one of the best department under the affiliation to Calicut University. Giving impetus towards excellence the post graduate programme was started in 1995, and the department becomes pioneer to post graduate in St. Mary's College. Faculty progression and curriculum transitions paved way to victorious achievements in university results and student placement campaigns. The process of gradual intellectual growth was continued by a vibrant progress of intellectual engagement.
Landmarks in this process of growth include the emergence of a research culture and as a result, establishment of a well equipped Marian Research Center for Mathematics in 2011, with two guides from the department. The start of the doctoral programme is generally recognized as the first step that a department takes towards academic respectability. At present the areas of Graph Theory, Functional Analysis, Fuzzy Set Theory and Convexity Theory are opened for intensive research. Around 10 zealous research scholars are enrolled for the PhD programme from all over Kerala.
Curriculum and Pedagogy
As the institution is an affiliated college, the content of Mathematics is prescribed by Calicut University and innovative approach was possible only by means of creative pedagogy. Rather than brooding over the helplessness in modification of curriculum, the faculty focused upon novel methods of effective communication of Mathematical content. It includes the methods of seminars, assignments, peer teaching and remedial classes in the atmosphere of smart classrooms and departmental library. Also students were encouraged to ask relevant mathematical questions and doubts. Tutorials, counseling sessions and departmental activities promoted all rounded integration of staff and students. Deserved students were always aided with academic scholarships. National Seminars and inter-collegiate competitions added pace to the intellectual development and research orientation. A good collection of Mathematical content is being made available through books and research journals by the librarian.
Outlook to the Future
Looking forward to develop the alma mater into a nationally recognized centre of excellence in education training and research, the present head of the department, Dr. Magie Jose, shared her plans for the future mission. The mission is to build up and improve student's logical skills as well as subject content nurturing a research culture. The main strategies included the realization of departmental renovation, equipment efficiency, undertaking of major and minor projects and the publishing of research journals.
Over the last 70 years the department has grown slowly but steadily and has become more and more research oriented in its staff and students. We hope and expect that these trends will continue…
(Note:These essay is prepared by Smitha Rose C. G. [Research Scholar, Christ University, Bangalore] a former student of St. Mary's College, Thrissur. For more details please visit the website: http://www.stmaryscollegethrissur.edu.in/department.php?department=13)