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Kenneth Mulder Ph.D.

Director of Quantitative Literacy
Assistant Professor of Mathematics
Green Mountain College

Griswold 224A
One Brennan Circle
Poultney, VT 05764-1199
Email Address: mulderk@greenmtn.edu
802-287-2941

Personal Statement
Three themes have unified my professional life. I am a life-long learner who revels in science, research, writing, and mathematics—all ways of using my mind to deepen my understanding of the world. I am passionate about teaching, working with adults to help them develop the skills and knowledge they need to be successful citizens, professionals, and residents of the earth. And I am committed to working to make the world a better place. I am Quaker who sees the light of God in others and in creation, and I see my professional callings as a teacher, mathematician, farmer and scientist as part of my obligation to work for peace and justice for all.


Teaching Philosophy
Mathematical thinking is as innate to humans as language and cooperation. The world in all of its aspects reflects a deeper mathematical structure that is at once beautiful and powerful. Teaching mathematics is first and foremost about unlocking a realization of this deeper structure because this is where the fun, the beauty, and the utility stem from. I see this frequently in the classroom where students come to me and say things like, “I forgot how much I like math,” or, “That couldn’t have been math; it was too cool.”

To achieve this connection and realization, I also believe in a close integration of classroom- based exposure to theory and field-based exposure to reality. Math is an essential tool in our society, and students need to experience that aspect of mathematics by putting it to use. One of the best things about being at a place like GMC where sustainability and practice are taken seriously is that there is no shortage of applications for math. Algebra, systems thinking, data analysis, calculus—they all have their place when we are serious about understanding our impact upon the world. That connection needs to be real in the classroom.

Professional Highlights

  • 2014: Initiation of the Center for Quantitative Literacy at Green Mountain College and reform of the math curriculum at the college.

  • 2011 – 2013: Developed and oversaw the 3-year LEAFS research project comparing human, animal, and engine power for vegetable production. Several presentations and articles came from this work as well as an expansion of technologies used and taught on the farm.

  • 2007 – 2013: I was able to be part of a time of very exciting growth in the GMC Farm and Food Project. During my time as farm manager, we had a significant expansion in farm production, in the number of students involved as well as in the means of involvement, in research on the farm, and in the sustainable agriculture curriculum

  • In 2009 we initiated Farm Life Ecology: A Field and Table Intensive at Green Mountain College, which I directed for the first 4 years. This 14-credit summer program has revolutionized how we teach agriculture during the summers at GMC and significantly expanded our farm and food curriculum.

  • In fall of 2008 I taught a three-credit oxen course that was one of the most rewarding educational experiences of my life with many students thanking me after our field sessions. NPR did a story on the “driving test” final.

  • From 2006 until 2009, I worked as an economic consultant for the Vermont Natural Resources Council in a permitting hearing on whether to build a large Wal-Mart store in a corn field on the outskirts of a northern Vermont town. Read an article about the hearing.

  • From July of 2004 to July of 2005, I worked as a human rights and peace advocate in Sri Lanka for the United Methodist Church. My efforts protesting the deaths of civilians caught in the crossfire garnered the attention of the Sri Lankan government and a free ride home for me. Although I would have rather stayed, I believe the attention this raised made combatants on both sides more aware of civilian casualties.

History

  • 2014 – Present: Director of Quantitative Literacy at Green Mountain College and Assistant Professor of Mathematics

  • 2007 – 2013: Farm Manager at Green Mountain College and Assistant Professor of Sustainable Agriculture. Adopted Annamaria and Leila Dominika. Family at eight and holding steady.

  • 2006 – 2007: Post-doctoral researcher in mathematical ecology at Kellogg Biological Station. My research included modeling ecosystems as well as examining the impacts of biofuels.

  • 2003 – 2006: PhD work at the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics. I defended my dissertation entitled The Stoichiometry of Resource Utilization in Living Systems in March of 2006. Mamie Beth and Thaddeus John both born during this time. (Careful of farms with math degrees: They can’t help but be fruitful and multiply.)

  • 1999 – 2003: Mulder CSA and Bakery. My wife, Emily, and I homesteaded and made our living by farming and selling bread, eggs, milk, beef and vegetables. Obadiah James and Zekie Allen born here.

  • 1996 – 1999: Math Instructor at Kalamazoo College and avid volunteer at Tillers International. I split my time between teaching math and systems thinking and learning how to farm with draft animals.

  • 1995 – 1996: Human rights worker in Sri Lanka. This was where I realized the importance of agriculture—by living with people that were literally dying because of the destruction of their food culture.

  • 1994 – 1995: Fulbright scholar in Budapest, Hungary. Researched math during the day, volunteered at a Red Cross refugee shelter on the weekends, and got my first taste of a true rural culture by spending time in the countryside.

  • 1992 – 1993: My master work in mathematics at the University of Oregon as well as a stint as a code-breaker for a communications think tank.

  • 1988 – 1992: Kalamazoo College, B.A. in mathematics: Where I went from being a West Point drop-out interested in chemistry to being a feminist mathematician.

  • 1969 – 1988: Grew up in Ada, Michigan. Barely touched a vegetable let alone a weed.

Selected Publications




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