Austin Mohr, Ph.D.

Contact Information

Austin Mohr, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science
Program Coordinator for Data Analytics
Mathematics and Computer Science
Office location

Acklie 226J

My desire to teach mathematics stems in part from its increasing usefulness in the modern world and its role in training young minds in the art of critical thinking. The power of mathematical tools in enabling the next generation of scientists, engineers, businesspeople, etc. gives me a sense of social responsibility that brings meaning to my work. Even with those students for whom mathematical content is less important, the utility of mathematics for sharpening logical thinking and general problem solving is unparalleled.

The same qualities can surely be found in other fields of study, but I feel drawn to teach mathematics especially for its austere beauty as a thing not confined to reality. One may find beauty in the nuclear reactions of stars or the controlled chaos of subatomic particles, but there is more to experience than that which does or can exist in the physical universe. The mathematician works in a state of pure freedom, creating ex nihilo the object of study by sheer force of will. Indeed, Cantor insisted that "the very essence of mathematics is its freedom". Moreover, once the mathematician has breathed life into a new object, its behavior can be investigated by human ingenuity alone. As Hilbert declared, "within us we always hear the call: here is the problem, search for the solution, you can find it by pure thought". I take great pride in my role in helping students not only to understand, but to create in the purest sense of the word.

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  • Ph.D. Mathematics, University of South Carolina at Columbia, 2013
  • M.S. Mathematics, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, 2008
  • B.S. Mathematics, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, 2007
  • B.S. Computer Science, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, 2007

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Research and academic interests
  • Graph Coloring
  • Permutation Enumeration
  • Writing Instruction in Mathematics
  • Mastery-Based Grading
  • Active Learning
  • Growth Mindset

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Professional and community affiliations, certifications and awards
  • NWU Margaret J. Prouty Teaching Award (2022)
  • Principal Investigator for National Science Foundation Scholarships in STEM Grant (2020 - 2022)
  • National Science Foundation Center for Undergraduate Research in Mathematics Grant (2019)
  • NWU Faculty Advisor of the Year (2018)
  • National Science Foundation EPSCoR Grant for Undergraduate Research at Small Colleges and Universities (2016)
  • Mathematical Association of America Project NExT Fellow (2014)