Endowment Encourages Excellence in Mathematics Education

"Students will not care about what we know as teachers, until they know how much we care about them as people" ~ Marvin L. Bittinger

Professor Emeritus Dr. Marvin Bittinger pictured with Dr. Jeffrey Xavier Watt who was named the Bittinger Chair in Mathematics EducationProfessor Emeritus Dr. Marvin Bittinger pictured with Dr. Jeffrey Xavier Watt who was named the Bittinger Chair in Mathematics Education

In 2005, Professor Emeritus Dr. Marvin Bittinger and his wife Mrs. Elaine Bittinger made a $1,000,000 bequest in their estate to establish the Bittinger Chair in Mathematics Education at IUPUI.  Created to support the expansion of the math education research team in the Department of Mathematical Science the Bittinger’s  gift has enabled the school to dedicate a tenure track research position to the study of best practices in math education, potentially impacting college student and youth mathematical learning across the country. 

Recently the Bittingers revisited their original gift agreement, refining the intent of the chair further in areas of math education research and embracing the naming of Dr. Jeffrey Xavier Watt as the current chair recipient. 

 “The gift of this chair reflects my gratitude for the marvelous way IUPUI supported my writing and professorship in math education throughout the years, and rewarded my work through ongoing promotions,” Marvin Bittinger said.

When asked what prompted them to take initial steps to establish the chair Marvin replied, “When I was a student at Manchester College, I often walked by a plaque on the wall honoring the Issac and Etta H. Oppenheim Endowed Chair in Mathematics.  As a professor at IUPUI, I reflected on that legacy. With the encouragement of my dear friend & financial advisor, Barton L. Kaufman, who had already personally donated a chair to IU, conversations we held with Curt Simic (then President of the IU Foundation), Dean David Stocum and Department Chair Ben Boukai, I decided that I too wanted to leave a legacy of my work and encourage others in the field after my retirement.”

These days, Marvin and Elaine continue close communications with the School of Science, and Marvin continues an active writing and publication schedule, producing works related to math education and his second passions, the games of softball and baseball.  His latest publication is an e-book titled Dusty Baker’s Hitting Handbook.

 “Marvin and Elaine Bittinger have been selfless and visionary in enabling the creation of the Bittinger Chair in Mathematics Education at IUPUI, the first named chair established in the School of Science,” said School of Science Dean Simon Rhodes. “With matching programs  now in place to generously support additional chairs, the school hopes that this gift will serve as an example for others showing the significant impact that private philanthropy can make on a department or program of the school.”