For #FacultyFriday this week, meet Dr. Chantel Blackburn, an associate professor of mathematics who has taught at PUC since 2013. She specializes in mathematical knowledge for teaching at the elementary level. Previously, she worked as a graduate teaching assistant in the department of mathematics at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Ariz., assisting with classes such as Trigonometry, Calculus Preparation, Calculus I, and Understanding Elementary Mathematics. Dr. Blackburn also worked as a contractor instructor, substitute teacher, and teaching assistant at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Mich. She has been awarded several research grants and taken two summer sabbaticals while at PUC after being awarded the college’s Faculty Development, Research, and Honors grant. Recently, Dr. Blackburn also helped raise money for the PUC Forest project by selling black(40)berry jam, which was a rousing success.
Name: Chantel C. Blackburn
Title: Associate professor of mathematics and assessment seminar coordinator
Faculty since: Winter 2013
Classes taught: Introduction to Statistics; Basic Algebra I & II; Precalculus; Foundations of School Mathematics I & II; Elementary Differential Equations; Logic and Sets; Mathematical Modeling; Biomathematics; Junior & Senior Mathematics Seminar; Assessment Seminar; Senior Assessment Seminar
Education: Bachelor’s in mathematics, from Andrews University, 2006; master’s in mathematics, from the University of Arizona, 2009; Ph.D. in mathematics, from the University of Arizona, 2014
Editor’s note: Since Dr. Blackburn’s professional activities are extensive, we have listed only a few of her most recent accomplishments.
Blackburn, C. C. (2017, April). “Counting across the ages: Exploring and expressing counting strategies in K- 12 and beyond”, Mills Möbius Band Math Club, Mathematics and Computer Science Department, Mills College, Oakland, CA.
Blackburn, C. C. (2017, March). “Hands-on learning never gets old: Making connections to build understanding.” March 22, 2017 Virtual Professional Learning Community of Southern Union Conference of Seventh-Day Adventist Secondary Mathematics Teachers. Lecture conducted from Pacific Union College, Angwin, CA.
Blackburn, C. C. (2016, November). “Advanced Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching: A Case of Professional Teaching Knowledge Influencing Instruction”, In M. B. Wood, E. E. Turner, M. Civil, & J. A. Eli (Eds.), Proceedings of the 38th annual meeting of the North American Chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (p. 522), Poster Session. Tucson, AZ: The University of Arizona.
Turner, E., & Blackburn C. C. (2015). Prospective and mentor teacher perspectives on co-learning events. Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, 24:4, 271-289, DOI: 10.1080/13611267.2016.1235010
What made you decide to be a teacher?
When I was in 7th or 8th grade I tended to learn mathematics a lot more slowly than the rest of my classmates; I took my time to understand the material thoroughly when I first started out, rather than rushing through it. By the time I caught up to my classmates, they were often struggling with the more challenging problems and I was able to understand and help them with their work. The moment when my classmates had that “ah-ha” moment, and the work clicked and made sense to them was very satisfying to me. When choosing where to go to college I was debating between pursuing a secondary teaching credential in mathematics and religion at one institution and film and television at another. Some health challenges I encountered after my junior year of high school put me in a position where I wouldn’t have the energy for the work required for film and television so I ultimately decided to pursue mathematics. I was originally planning to be a high school mathematics and Bible teacher at an Adventist academy. While I was in college, one of my professors suggested I should consider pursuing a graduate degree in mathematics. It had never occurred to me that teaching at the college level was even a possibility but it turns out it was a great fit for me as I learned more about mathematics and the teaching opportunities available at the postsecondary level.
What are some of your hobbies?
I have a hard time defining what my hobbies are because I tend to immerse myself in something for a period of time before moving on to something new. Some of the hobbies I have enjoyed include writing recreationally, dabbling in solo multitrack recording with guitar, voice, and recorder, and playing video games. Lately, I’ve been spending most of my time outside of work playing my clarinet in PUC’s symphonic wind ensemble and orchestra, watching football, and spending time with my cats.
What’s something people might be surprised to know about you?
While it might not be much of a surprise to learn I’m a bit of a Star Trek geek, my writing took that interest to a higher level. I suppose I was too young and the internet “new enough” that I wasn’t aware of the concept of fan fiction so I actually submitted a complete spec teleplay to the series “Star Trek: Voyager” at the end of my freshman year of high school. My script was logged in and out and when I got it back, along with my very own signed rejection letter from the script coordinator, it had clearly been read. This remains a highlight of my writing experience because I felt it was quite an accomplishment to have attempted something like that as a 9th grader.
What’s your favorite thing about PUC?
The community is definitely my favorite thing about PUC. I have always desired to be in a place where I could have interactions with people in both intellectual and spiritual dimensions and I have found that here.
What’s your favorite spot on campus?
If I had to choose a favorite spot on campus, I would probably say Paulin Hall Room 144 where I’ve had the opportunity to get to know students better while I participate in music ensembles. I don’t think I’ve experienced more fun anywhere else on campus.
What’s your favorite movie?
For some reason, I really enjoy science fiction “looping” stories (basically sci-fi versions of Groundhog Day) like “Edge of Tomorrow,” “Source Code,” and the “Stargate SG-1” episode, “Window of Opportunity.” I can watch them over and over again.
What advice would you give to an incoming freshman?
View your education as training for your future job or career. It will probably include elements you may not like, but those are opportunities to develop your responsibility for all aspects of your work. It also means following through on your obligations and meeting deadlines. This might sound boring but there is incredible satisfaction in a job well done and knowing you haven’t taken any shortcuts to get where you want to be. I would add this isn’t something easy to do at the start. I personally struggled with time management when I started college. I sought out help throughout my college career and kept making adjustments until I got the results I was looking for. By the way, I still seek out help and make adjustments.
Interested in learning more about PUC’s mathematics program? Visit puc.edu/admissions!