Veteran math teacher gets big honor

January 28, 2009 10:45:57 AM PST
Making sense of numbers and symbols. For 26 years, math professor Vali Siadat has been a source of understanding for all his students at Daley Community College. "The citizens need to know mathematics because mathematics is really the gateway to success in any I am happy that I'm able to teach mathematics," said Dr. Vali Siadat, math professor.

This month in Washington, Siadat received the Haimo Award of Distinguished Teaching of Mathematics, the gold standard of math honors. Previous winners came from Harvard, MIT and University of Chicago, never from a two-year community college.

"I was very happy, and I thought I got this on behalf of all the fine faculty members of City Colleges of Chicago...I thought I was their representative representing the excellence," Siadat said.

Siadat says at last count he has educated 10,000 students.

"He takes it slow, he explains everything, and when you don't know the problem or question...ask him and he'll explain it to you," said Liliana Patliuca, student.

"I was informed by other students that he is a great teacher, so I decided to take his class," said Joe Naylor, student.

Winning awards is not unusual for him. For example, four years ago, he was named Illinois Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

"It's extremely important to have someone like him to lead our faculty in the teaching of mathematics," said Dr. Sylvia Ramos, college president.

As far as teaching at a two-year college, that's important to him.

"I think it's a great opportunity for me to teach a wide spectrum of students from under represented groups," said Siadat. "To have a good impact on their lives, I think this is something very gratifying to me."