James Jones - General Information

Contact Information

Title James Jones

Professor of Mathematics

Office

C223 - located with the Business and Technology Division. In case you've been here for a while and don't recognize the name, the division was previously known as the Occupational and Technical Division, before that known as the Occupational & Technical Career Programs West (OTCPW), and prior to that as the Industrial Technology & Mathematics Division. It is at the north end of the upstairs center hallway.

Phone

Web Address

http://people.richland.edu/james/

Email Address

james@richland.edu

Teaching Schedule and Office Hours

I am in class or my office during these times. You might try to catch me before, after, or between classes if you can't find me in my office. All of my classes are in room S137. My office hour is often spent in the classroom helping students with their projects, so if I'm not in my office, try S137.

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri
    Office Hour
10:00 - 10:20
  Office Hour
10:00 - 10:20
Math 113 - 01
10:30 - 11:40
  Math 113 - 01
10:30 - 11:40
  Math 113 - 01
10:30 - 11:40
Office Hour
11:50 - 12:50
  Office Hour
11:50 - 12:50
  Office Hour
11:50 - 12:50
Math 113 - 02
1:00 - 2:10
  Math 113 - 02
1:00 - 2:10
  Math 113 - 02
1:00 - 2:10
Office Hour
2:20 - 2:50
  Office Hour
2:20 - 2:50
   
Math 121 - 01
3:00 - 5:15
  Math 121 - 01
3:00 - 5:15
   
Math 160 - 01
5:30 - 7:20
  Math 160 - 01
5:30 - 7:20
   

Education / Experience

Associates Degree

I graduated Richland Community College with an A.S. degree with a Mathematics concentration. Yes, that's a right, I'm a product of the institution I went to school at. None of my math professors are here anymore, but we've got a new group of dedicated faculty.

I went to Richland on a JETS-TEAMS scholarship after winning the mathematics competition. It's now called WYSE and if you're a high school student who gets a chance to participate in their academic challenge, please do. The 2006 challenge was held at Richland on February 1. Tests can be taken in mathematics, English, chemistry, physics, engineering graphics, and computer science. You get a chance at winning a year's worth of tuition.

Bachelors Degree

I then went to Eastern Illinois University where I received a B.A. in Mathematics with the Teacher Certification option. I had planned on teaching high school mathematics. That was until I student taught at Stephen Decatur, HS. It was a big shock for me since I had grown up in a small school district.

I joined the R.C.C. staff immediately after receiving my B.A. as the Study Assistance Center Coordinator and Adjunct Mathematics Faculty.

Masters Degree

I held both jobs for three years and continued my education at Sangamon State University. I became a conditional full-time Mathematics Instructor in August 1992 pending the completion of my Master's degree. I received my M.A. in Mathematical Sciences from Sangamon State University in May 1993. Soon after my graduation, they shut down the upper level mathematics program at SSU.

Rank

I received tenure at Richland in 1995. I received a promotion to Assistant Professor of Mathematics in the Spring 1996 semester. I was promoted to Associate Professor of Mathematics in the Spring 2000 semester. I became a full Professor of Mathematics in the Spring 2003 semester.

Additional Courses

I took a class in statistical computing at the University of Illinois, Springfield, in the summer of 1999. This course taught SPSS and SAS.

In May 2001, I attended an ICTCM short course on using the web in mathematics on the campus of Texas A&M University in College Station, TX. I attended another ICTCM short course on using multimedia in mathematics in May 2002 in Phoenix, AZ. I attended yet a third ICTCM short course on Assessment and Real World Applications of Mathematics in August 2004 in Providence, RI. Each of these courses required a project that I have incorporated into my classroom teaching.

Professional

I wear two hats at Richland. I am a full-time professor of mathematics and have an extra duty assignment of the Internet. I have divided my professional accomplishments by the hat I'm wearing.

Professor of Mathematics

I am a member of the Illinois Mathematics Association of Community Colleges (IMACC) where I maintain the web pages for the organization.

I am a member of the International Conference on Technology in Collegiate Mathematics (ICTCM) and attend their short course conferences when opportunity allows. I attended the annual meeting in 2003 and 2006. I plan on attending another short course in 2006.

For several years I served on the technology advisory committee for the Maroa-Forsyth school district. They either haven't met in a couple of years or they stopped inviting me to the meetings, so I'm assuming that my tour of duty on that committee is over.

I have served the college as both a leader and member on several committees, task forces, search committees, and continuous improvement process (CIP) teams. I have been trained as a trainer for the CIP teams. Currently, I have managed to whittle the committee work down to just being a member of the Placement Standards Taskforce.

I was selected by the students as the Faculty Speaker for the 2004 Richland Commencement ceremony. I talked on how mathematics is like life as both require you to look at the big picture and maintain balance. If you were there, I'm sure you remember the stress-relieving yell at the beginning of the speech.

I was selected as the Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year in 2005. Luckily, there's no speech required with this honor, but I did get to read the names of students at graduation.

Internet Systems Specialist

I have the extra duty assignment as the Internet Systems Specialist for the College. Among other things, this means I am responsible for keeping the Internet up and going at Richland. I'm not responsible for the web pages anymore, but I am working behind the scenes to provide technical support.

Since January 2005, I have been working on a single sign-on (SSO) solution for the students at Richland. When I started, you had a login and password for your email, a different one for WebCT, a third for WISE1, one to access the network resources, and possibly another if you accessed protected web pages for your instructor. The goal of this project is to combine all those of those accounts into a single account with a single password.

We went live with the single sign-on in January 2006. It wasn't quite ready but a bug in a new version of the software forced us into using it. We're still not done with it, but not much more has been done during the spring semester as teaching has taken precedent.

Personal

Physical

Height is 186.69 cm if I stand up straight, but call myself 185.42 cm since I never stand up straight. In August 1999, I went to the doctor's office for a physical. Rather than measuring my height, the nurse simply asked how tall I was (as a statistics instructor, this method of data collection really bothered me). Soon after that, I had a body composition test performed where our fitness instructor was kind enough to guesstimate my height. He said it was the height I've been claiming (even down to the 1/2" I throw in), so I feel better knowing that I haven't been misrepresenting my height for all these years.

Weight on 1/28/2001 I used to say that my mass was about 83.01 kg, but I didn't have any scales to verify that. But, I finally broke down and bought scales so that I could weigh my garage door. Feeling that buying scales just to weigh the garage door was a waste of money (how often does the weight of the garage door fluctuate?), I decided to weigh myself. When I first stepped on them, it came in at 240 lbs. I yelled "No Way!" (literally) as I had never been above 200 lbs in my life1. Then I took the scales off the plush carpet and into the bathroom where the floor is tiled and was much more comfortable with the reading. Still not entirely happy, as it now read 86.36 kg, but much happier than when it read 240 lbs. My weight had gone up considerably since the picture, but it is actually back around that value for fall 2005. I leave this photo out there as a reminder of my glory days and I don't have those scales anymore to take another photo.

Eye color is blue, when not red from lack of sleep. I used to wear glasses, but I had the lasik eye surgery performed in August 2001. My eyesight is now 20/20 with some astigmatism in the left eye. With the glasses, my eyesight was 20/15, so things are actually a little bit blurrier than they used to be, but at least I can see when I get up in the morning.

As for general health, I had a complete physical including lab work and a body composition test performed during the fall of 1999. I came in at 18% body fat. For males my age and height, 13-19% is normal, so I guess that's a good thing. Actually, all of the results from all of the tests came back without any problems, so I'm in better shape than I thought I was.

Personality

Relaxing on the sand dunes My temperament used to be melancholy with about equal parts of phlegmatic and choleric, but very little sanguine. Over the last several years, the choleric has diminished and the phlegmatic become more dominant. So, at this time, I would have to say I'm a mel-phleg borderline phleg-mel. Generally, that means that I am analytical, self-sacrificing, gifted, calm, easy going, and rarely angered (that last one is not a challenge). The photo is of me relaxing on Mt. Baldy, a sand dune at the Indiana Dunes.

I like to think that I have a sense of humor. I do know that you need to be able to laugh at yourself so that when other people laugh with you, it really is with instead of at. I try to convey this attitude in class and keep things light. Hey, people have enough anxiety about mathematics anyway without making it boring and stressful to boot.

My Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is ISTP - Introversion, Sensing, Thinking, Perception. Internally, I tend to be ISTJ (Judgment). I scored a 0 on the feeling aspect of the indicator. I used to be kind of proud of that, but not anymore. A score of 0 means that I prefer to think rather than feel, it doesn't mean that I don't feel. However, from June 2001 (or maybe before) until December 2003, I didn't allow myself to feel. I kept myself busy with work so that I wouldn't have to deal with things. That has changed and now I'm ready to feel and love again. If I can give any advice to people in similar circumstances, it would be to allow yourself to be complete and not try to shut out parts of who you are.

In April 2004, I took the Keirsey Temperament Sorter II, which is a lot like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. On this shorter version (only 70 questions), my preferences were ISTX (X meaning a tie between the two). The nice thing about this is that now, after five months of allowing myself to feel again, I did mark 20% of the questions indicating a feeling preference instead of 0% as before. That just makes me feel good.

Since many people ask what these letters stand for, here is a little more information. First of all, realize that these are continuums and very few people completely exhibit one preference over the other.

I've taken a couple of spiritual gifts inventories. In 1997, I scored highest in exhortation, helps, and leadership, followed closely by administration, hospitality, prophecy, and service. In 2000, I scored highest in leadership, helps, teaching, wisdom, exhortation, giving, and knowledge. We won't go into what I scored lowest on ... suffice it to say that one can't be gifted at all things.

Interests

Piano

Give the World a Smile I like to play the piano. Actually, I would like to be able to play the piano correctly - as opposed to as hard and as fast as I can. The picture to the right is of me playing "Give the World a Smile", my mom's favorite song. There's no audio, but it sounds better that way.

I taught myself to play the piano when I was growing up on church hymns and children's songs. Every now and then mom would provide advice like "I think you should hit a black note there." I tried taking the second semester of introduction to piano (without having the first) in the summer 1995, but I fear it messed me up more than it helped.

Sports and Recreation

I like to play softball and other sports, but am not much for watching. Several years ago a student challenged me to a game of tennis. She had practiced and knew what she was doing, I had not. I'm not allowed to tell who won the game. I participate each year in the Community Challenge with Richland's softball team. I always sign up for other sports but end up hurting myself sliding or tripping during softball and can't play. We never win, but it's not about winning, it's about having fun.

I enjoy playing board games with friends, but don't do enough of it. I have a large collection of board and party games that fills a cabinet and a good chunk of a closet. There are probably 60+ games in my collection.

Reading

I am trying to read more, but it takes me a while to get through a book. Maybe if I read fiction instead of people's doctoral dissertations it would go faster. I have read several books by John Shelby Spong and Marcus Borg. As a comparison of fiction to doctoral disserations, I read The Da Vinci Code in two days, so maybe fiction is a faster read than fact. A very interesting book I finished in 2005 was History: Fiction or Science by a Russian mathematician who sets out to prove that the whole chronology of events that we know is wrong and nothing before about 1000 years ago can be trusted. I finished volume 2 (it is a 7 volume chronology) although it took much of January and February 2006 to make it through the book.

As a senior in high school, reading and analyzing John Milton's Paradise Lost left me with a very sour taste for reading. Since then, most of what I had read was reference materials and non-fiction religious books. I read Dan Brown's books in the fall of 2004, but then became busy working on the single sign on during the spring of 2005. During the summer of 2005, desperately needing a break and something to do to relax, I discovered that there was a name for the kind of book I enjoy, techno-thrillers, and went on a reading binge.

Here are some of the books I've recently read. This is not an endorsement, just an acknowledgement.

Travel

James Jones at Niagara FallsI like to travel and have been to 44 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Canada (Ontario and British Columbia), and St. Martin since March 2001. I took a 4000 mile trip in July and August 2004 through the Eastern United States, adding WV, VA, NC, SC, DC, MD, DE, PA, NJ, NY, CT, MA, VT, NH, ME, and RI to the list of states visited and about ten pounds to my weight from all the fast food I ate on the trip. I went bungee jumping over Valentine's Day weekend in 2005 and added WA and OR to the list of states. The jump was awesome! I still have ND, WY, MT, ID, AK, and HI2 to visit. The photo of me to the right was taken from the observation tower at Niagara Falls, NY, in August 2004.

I went back to St. Martin in August 2005 for a week on the beach with no Internet (or TV, radio, or phones) so I didn't have to think about the single sign-on. Here's a little advice to all of you who like to read at the beach. Don't lay your paperback book on your wet towel. A large number of the US citizens that I met had taken Calculus and were involved in technical or engineering fields. Upon hearing that I was a mathematics professor, one geophysicist began quoting the calculus differentiation rules that had been drilled into his head years ago. I mention this because the resort isn't cheap and one might conjecture that success in mathematics courses is somehow beneficial to your financial status in life.

I returned to Vancouver to go bungee jumping over Valentine's Day weekend in 2006. The weekend was very eventful, beginning with the nose gear on the plane locking in place, the Canadian's shutting down the border because they can just leave if they feel threatened, missing the ferry by 3 minutes and by the time I got to the bungee jump being told that there were too many people and they weren't accepting anymore that day (I did get to jump the next day), having a crown break off, having a sore throat that turned into a cold, and then changing dentists because mine couldn't see me to fix the tooth for almost a week. But all in all, it was a decent trip and the new dentist fixed me right up.

Spring Break 2006 involved a trip to Orlando, FL, where I attended the annual meeting of the ICTCM group. Yes, it's vacation and I'm spending it at a conference. Did I mention that I really love teaching? I did manage to squeeze in some beach time and a trip to visit my brother while I was at it.

If you want to know anything else about me, feel free to ask. I may not answer, but that shouldn't stop you from asking.


1. I finally weighed more than 200 lbs during the 2001-2002 winter and continued to gain until reaching about 215 lbs during the summer 2003. The one exception was in May 2003 in a Pilot Travel Center in Oak Grove, KY, where you put a quarter in and you get your weight and horoscope. After getting a weight reading of 183 lbs, I laughed so hard that I left before getting my horoscope. I used another of those machines at the outlet mall in West Frankfort, IL, in April 2005, and it said my exact weight was 180.3 lbs. I once again laughed but stuck around for my fortune which was that money was going to be coming to my hands. I figured that's a big scam where they tell women that they weigh a lot less than they do and then the money coming to their hands is the money used to pay for all the new clothes bought to celebrate weighing so little. I finally switched to a digital scale in late 2003 after getting tired of getting about three different readings each morning on the old scale. The new scale read under 200 lbs (even if it was 199.5) for the first time on Nov 20, 2003. I was down to 184.5 on Dec 29, 2003. That's more than 30 lbs lost in two months and about 5 more pounds than I wanted to lose.

2. I have driven my car through each of the states and the District of Columbia. It is unlikely that I will drive it through Alaska and Hawaii. For Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia, I flew into Seattle and then rented a car.