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Christopher Cunningham

Mathematics and Sciences
Mathematics
Instructor

Welcome to Waubonsee Community College!

I teach a variety of math courses here, and I get very excited about all of them. I see homework as the core of every math course.

  • Math 107 - Basic Statistics
  • Math 111 - College Algebra
  • Math 131 - Calculus I
  • Math 132 - Calculus II
  • Math 233 - Calculus III
  • Math 240 - Differential Equations

Math 107 - Basic Statistics

The best thing about Statistics is how important it is as a language of science. In my statistics courses, students collect data and perform tests to see what kinds of conclusions can be drawn from the data that is all around them. It is my hope that when my students measure something about the world, they will be able to use statistical techniques to make more precise statements about what they see. 

Math 111 - College Algebra

The best thing about College Algebra is the connection between algebra and geometry. The fact that everything that happens in algebra has a corresponding thing that happens in the picture is an extremely powerful idea that can carry you through a large amount of mathematics. I hope that students who complete my College Algebra course can look at a tough algebra problem and consider switching it to a graphical question -- or take a tough geometric problem and consider switching it to an algebra problem.

Math 131 - Calculus I

Calculus I is my favorite "payoff" class. A lot of hard work goes into the prerequisites, but if you really know your stuff from Math 111 and Math 112, you feel extremely powerful in Calculus I. The best part, in my opinion, is the idea that you can take any fact about the world (an equation from any science class) and take the derivative of both sides to get a new fact about rates of change.

Math 132 - Calculus II

Calculus II is my favorite course to teach in the summer. I teach it as two parallel courses -- one on integration, and one on sequences and series, that combine to form the extremely powerful punchline of Power Series at the end of the course. The best part is the day where I bake cakes and we slice them in different ways.

Math 233 - Calculus III

We live in a three-dimensional world. When you complete Calculus III, you are now able to write down amazing facts about the real world in precise mathematical terms. Have you ever heard of Maxwell's Equations? They are written in the language of Calculus III.

Math 240 - Differential Equations

I teach this course with an aim to really understand Fourier Series at the end of it. Fourier Series are one of the most powerful engineering-mathematical tools that currently exist, and allow us to deeply understand sound, heat, and light. I spend very little time on the rote solving of equations to save as much time as possible for this incredible topic.

I believe you are defined by the things you do that are not required. 

  • Math & Engineering Club
  • Math Circle
  • Software & Tech Club
  • Impromptu Gatherings
  • Open-Source Software

Math & Engineering Club

Math & Engineering Club meets on Thursday afternoons, usually at 2:30, usually in Bodie 245. The club is run by Mark Crawford and I. Each week, we delve into a mathematical topic, prepare for the math contest, or work on an ongoing engineering project. Topics have included "What is the simplest problem that no one knows the answer to" and more formal topics like game theory, cryptography, graph theory, and the mathematics of color. 

Engineering projects that have been completed in the past include an FM radio, a magnetic track, a hovercraft (didn't work :), and a homemade speaker.

Math Circle

We invite pre-college students to campus on Saturdays to eat pizza and do math for fun. See the link on the left side of the page for details.

Software & Tech Club

Students interested in programming and technology meet for snacks and presentations at the Software and Tech club. The primary advisor is Tim Moriarty, tmoriarty@waubonsee.edu. Students interested in game design projects are welcome.

Impromptu Gatherings

Strong students interested in strange topics should feel free to ask abuot them. I've put together a summer programming club that ran for a couple months and would be happy to run other things.

Open-Source Software

I've recently been getting involved in some open-source software projects; see the link on the left side of the page for details.

Education and Teaching Experience

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, MI

  • B.S. Mathematics 2006
  • I got my start grading and tutoring; I highly recommend it. Check out Waubonsee's tutoring center in Collins 144.
  • Summer instructor and resident assistant for the Michigan Math & Science Scholars.

Cornell University - Ithaca, NY

  • M.S. Mathematics 2010 (incomplete Ph.D. program)
  • Teaching assistant for various courses.
  • Instructor for various calculus courses.
  • Lead Instructor for the Prefreshman Summer Program.

University of Illinois - Champaign, IL

  • Extensive academic advising in the mathematics department.
  • Instructor for Math 221 - large-lecture Calculus I.
  • Instructor for Math 286 - Differential Equations for Electrical/Computer Engineers.

Waubonsee Community College - Sugar Grove, IL

  • Full-time faculty starting in 2014.

CONTACT INFO

Bodie 233
Sugar Grove Campus
630-466-6818
ccunningham@waubonsee.edu

Office Hours:
Office hours are different each semester. They are posted on the board each day in class. If you cannot make these hours, send me an email to set up an appointment.