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A spirit that is not afraid

New COSAM associate dean for academic affairs plans to move college in a more modern direction

After arriving at Auburn University in 2007 as a mathematics department professor, Maggie Han is taking on new responsibilities as the COSAM associate dean for academic affairs. Han came to Auburn after finishing her Ph.D. in applied mathematics at The State University of New York at Buffalo and has worked at Auburn since. She has worked with and graduated six Ph.D. students since then and is currently mentoring five others.

Last school year, Han took on the role of acting deputy associate dean of academic affairs. Now, as she officially moves into her new role, Han has exciting plans for the college that will have an effect on many incoming students.

“[In] this position, I will be maintaining or supervising everything really everything related to academic affairs. You can imagine daily activities dealing with students from as small as course substitution to as big as academic dismissal,” Han said.

Han will be in charge of the academic concerns of mainly undergraduate students in the COSAM, working with academic advisors to give students the foundation they need to be successful in their time at Auburn and beyond.

“I've been working with our student services advisors to have some type of orientation course including all of our clubs and majors for the first year,” Han said.

Similar to other colleges across Auburn’s campus, Han hopes to establish an orientation course for freshman COSAM majors to learn more about the faculty, organizations and resources in the department. Currently, there is only a pre-health orientation course, which has led Han to plan on creating a broader introduction for all majors in the college.

“Another thing I want to do is to promote active learning,” Han said.

Citing the newly opened Academic Center Lab Complex building as inspiration, Han is making strides in an attempt to bring COSAM professors to 21st century learning standards. She aims to improve the overall quality of teaching and incorporate new technological standards into the department.

“[With] applied math, that means we work on problems arising from real-world applications. We mainly do computations, like numerical experiments, no real experiments. Most of us do not have a lab,” Han said.

Han conducts research on neural networks, specifically in relation to artificial intelligence. Most of her work is passed onto biologists and doctors, who then use the data in their fields of work. Students that work under her conduct similar research, with two of them currently working on analyzing biological applications such as cancer treatment.

“[I] Talk to different people from different areas, they always have interesting problems and they need the math,” Han said.

Throughout her academic career, Han has published over 70 papers and four books across a variety of mathematical topics. She has collaborated with a broad range of faculty from several departments, including chemistry, biology, ecology, computer science and infectious diseases. 

Diane Pham | News Writer

Diane Pham, freshman in industrial engineering, is a news writer at The Plainsman.

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