Project NExT is the largest professional development program for new or recent Ph.D.’s in the mathematical sciences. Established in 1994, the program has a long history of assisting new mathematics faculty members with all aspects of their academic careers: improving the teaching and learning of mathematics, engaging in research and scholarship, and participating in professional activities. It also provides the participants (called "Fellows") with a network of peers and mentors as they assume these responsibilities. To date, 1480 Fellows have participated in the program.
Kung brings a wide range of experience to this new position. He is currently a Professor of Mathematics and served as chair of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at St. Mary's College of Maryland, where he began his faculty career in 2000. He has served as principal investigator or co-principal investigator on several National Science Foundation grant projects over the past eight years and as co-director of an MAA Professional Enhancement Program for faculty for three years, managed the Young Mathematicians Network for six years, and received numerous awards for teaching and service. "Students and faculty at St. Mary's College of Maryland have benefited from Professor Kung's expertise and enthusiasm for teaching and learning," said Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty Beth Rushing. "We are proud that he has the opportunity to serve as the Director of Project NExT, so that others can have the same experience."
Kung was accepted into the MAA Project NExT program in 2000 and has since served as a mentor for other Fellows as well as a presenter at Project NExT workshop sessions. "As a Project NExT fellow, I am deeply grateful to the MAA for a program that has helped to welcome new mathematics faculty into the profession for two decades," Kung said recently. "The program's impact on my own career, and that of over 1400 math professors around the country, can't be overstated. Carrying on that tradition will be my primary goal as director. I am honored and humbled to be selected to succeed Aparna as the director of Project NExT and look forward to working with past, current, and future fellows to carry on NExT's amazing tradition of building a vibrant mathematics community."
Two others will join the Project NExT leadership team in August: Alissa Crans, Associate Director of Diversity and Education at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute and Associate Professor of Mathematics at Loyola Marymount University, has been selected as an Associate Director of Project NExT, and Anthony Tongen, Associate Professor of Mathematics and Statistics at James Madison University, as an Assistant Director.
Both Crans and Tongen are Project NExT Fellows (2004 and 2005, respectively). Crans maintains an active research program and has a variety of professional experiences that give her unique perspectives on differences between institutions, as well as teaching experience that spans a wide spectrum of courses and audiences. She has an appreciation for the history of Project NExT and an enthusiastic and collaborative leadership style.
Tongen has a wealth of experience in externally funded interdisciplinary research and work with underrepresented groups. He appreciates the value of applied mathematics as a vehicle for engaging a broader spectrum of students in the field. "I am excited to give back to an organization that was critical in my transition from a research postdoc to tenure-track faculty," he said.
The MAA believes that Kung, Crans, and Tongen have the right mix of skills to complement the existing Project NExT leadership team members and to lead the program into its next decade of success.
Currently, the Project NExT leadership team consists of Aparna Higgins (University of Dayton), Judith Covington (Louisiana State University in Shreveport), Julie Barnes (Western Carolina University), Matt DeLong (Taylor University), and Steve Schlicker (Grand Valley State University). Barnes and DeLong will continue as members of the team in 2014-15.