2019 Shilts/Leonard Teaching Award to Dennis Snow
Dennis received his B.A. from Merrimack College and his Ph.D. in mathematics from Notre Dame. He was appointed Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Notre Dame in 1982 and has long been regarded as one of the Mathematics Department star teachers.
In calculus courses aimed at a broad audience as well as upper level undergraduate offerings aimed at math majors, Snow is known for his strong emphasis on concrete computations and examples, his high standards, and his generosity in helping students succeed in his classes. His class in Complex Variables, an upper level undergraduate offering, is one of the perennial favorites among electives for math majors. One of the hallmarks of the course is its success in engaging students on both the regular math majors track and the honors track. In addition to his classes, Dennis is one of the most prolific advisors of undergraduate math theses. He devotes himself to the success of all of his math students.
His students express universal appreciation for his clarity, his patience, his availability, and his unwavering passion for mathematics and for teaching. They uniformly say that he emphasized the “why” of the lesson and that he wanted his students to fully understand concepts. They comment on how much they learned and that they felt “confident in themselves that they could do math and calculus after taking his course.” One student indicated that Dennis Snow “is the reason I am passionate about mathematics. He is the reason I hope to eventually study upper level mathematics at graduate school.” And several others suggested that “everyone should take his courses because they challenge you to think and to better understand mathematical concepts.”