(CONTRIBUTED/ Kenneth Roblee)
Kenneth Roblee is a professor of Mathematics and the chair of the Department of Mathematics. He joined Troy University in 2004.
1. What is your favorite thing about Troy?
I like the university because I like working here. It is not a job that I dread going to which is the draw that has kept me here. I have met a lot of great people here as well. The city is pretty great, too, and has done a lot to improve the quality of life.
2. What are some significant changes in Troy that you have seen in recent years?
There have been a lot of changes in the past decade or so. We have had a lot of new infrastructure on campus. There are a lot of new buildings, as well as parking lots. When I first came in, there was a horseshoe-shaped parking lot where the main quad is now.
In terms of the Department of Mathematics, it used to be the Department of Mathematics, Physics, Geomatics and Computer Science — all of which have grown and now are departments on their own. We have started the annual math conference called Math Fest and also the math honor society.
3. If you could change one thing about Troy, what would it be?
Maybe once a month get a Monday off. Every now and then we joke about these. We could definitely get used to four-day work weeks.
4. What is your field of expertise and how did you choose it?
My field of expertise is graph theory. In simple terms, it deals with configuration of dots and lines and their application in mathematics and elsewhere. I was influenced by my advisor in graduate school who was a good teacher, as well as a good salesman who sold me the idea of pursuing graph theory. I first took a course with him and then later decided to pursue my Ph.D. in graph theory, and 19 years later I still enjoy it.
5. Research or teaching? Why?
That is a difficult one. I would say teaching because with teaching you get to have an effect on someone’s education, which is a big deal. Sometimes with classes, like Senior Seminar, research and teaching go hand-in-hand.
6. What is your favorite class to teach?
I think Calculus I is the class I enjoy teaching the most. It is the beginning of a three-semester sequence in calculus, and for most students it is not just the bridge to calculus but to their first college-level math class. I almost feel like a tour guide of a museum introducing it to the students while appreciating the big concepts in calculus.
7. What is the next big thing for the Department of Mathematics?
We are working on starting a Master of Science program in Mathematics with concentrations in discrete math and statistics. It will be a very unique program, and if everything goes as planned we will begin as early as Fall 2021.
8. What are the perks of being a department Chair?
As a chair you get to work with many people in the department in helping resolve issues that may arise. I don’t know if this is a perk, but you are ultimately responsible for a lot of things in your department. Other than that, seeing students grow academically and get into different opportunities is a perk.
9. Microsoft or Apple?
I would say Microsoft because I have not had much experience with Apple.
10. Skittles or M&Ms?
I like sour candy, so I am going to go with Skittles.