Meet Dr. Kyle Besing

Assistant professor of Mathematics and Mathematics Program Coordinator

Education: “I earned my B.S. in mathematics with a minor in physics from the University of Southern Indiana. I did my graduate work at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where I earned an M.S. in applied mathematics as well as a Ph.D. in applied mathematics with a minor in physics. My dissertation was on several models used to study quantum oscillator systems. My research interests are in spectral theory and mathematical physics. However, I have also become interested in studying mathematics education. This is an exciting time in mathematics education, and there is a big push to move away from the traditional lecture model into a more active and student-focused classroom model.”

Why did you become a teacher?
“I have been interested in teaching since middle school. Originally, I was a mathematics secondary education major at USI, but I fell in love with mathematics and wanted to pursue graduate studies. Teaching at the college level allowed me to both teach and continue my studies.”What rewards and successes have you experienced at Wesleyan?
“One of the defining opportunities I have received while at Wesleyan was the support to take part in Project NexT (New Experiences in Teaching), a year-long, nationally competitive program through the Mathematical Association of America for recent mathematics Ph.D.’s who want to learn more about how to effectively teach mathematics. This experience has propelled our Mathematics Program to undergo a large redesign in order to incorporate active learning and student-led experiences into our classrooms.

“The most rewarding aspect of teaching at Wesleyan is the relationships I am able to form with students. I’ve been here long enough that students who were freshman when I started have now graduated. Watching them progress through their time here has been fantastic. I’m excited to see where they go and what they do after they leave KWC.

“One of my favorite things about teaching mathematics is working with students who describe themselves as ‘bad at math.’ Too many students (and people in general) believe you are either born with the ability to do math or you aren’t. I try to show these students that the ability to do math is just like any other skill. You just need to practice.

“Let’s say you want to learn to play the guitar. You wouldn’t just listen to someone explain how to play the guitar and then watch them play and think you should be able to play the guitar without practicing.  But that is exactly how we approach math. I love getting feedback from students about how they enjoyed a class even though they ‘hate’ math or that they aren’t as afraid of math anymore.”

How do you spend time away from the classroom?
“In the past, I have enjoyed spending time playing soccer or basketball. I also play the saxophone and would love to get back into that. For now, my time outside the classroom is spent soaking up Marshall’s childhood. His eternal curiosity constantly fascinates and exhausts me. We spend a lot of time in the backyard playing baseball and soccer or pretending to be dinosaurs.”

How have you seen The Wesleyan Way in action?
“The Wesleyan Way is continuously demonstrated by the faculty and staff at Wesleyan. From the very beginning, this campus and community have been enormously welcoming. I’m incredibly blessed by the friendships I’ve made and the support I’ve received.”