Cumberland University

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Laurie Dishman

Director of Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment, and Associate Professor of Mathematics

Laurie Dishman

Director of Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment, and Associate Professor of Mathematics


B.S., Carson-Newman College

M.A., Vanderbilt University

Ph.D., Vanderbilt University



Laurie P. Dishman earned a Bachelor of Arts from Carson-Newman College (now Carson-Newman University) in 1993 with majors in mathematics and French and a minor in music. She earned a Master of Arts in 1995 and a Doctor of Philosophy in 1998, both in mathematics, from Vanderbilt University. She began teaching at Cumberland University in August 1998. In 1999, Dr. Dishman also became the Director of the Learning Center @ Cumberland University until 2004 when it closed. From 2008 to 2013, she served as the Dean of the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences (SLAS). She has been the Program Director for mathematics since 2008.

While at Vanderbilt, Dr. Dishman was competitively chosen as a Master Teaching Fellow. She worked in the Center for Teaching, organizing and leading an orientation program for incoming teaching assistants in mathematics and economics; serving as a consultant to teaching assistants from across the university; and learning how to improve her own teaching techniques from experts in academia. Dr. Dishman's teaching style is a relatively open format in which questions from her are many and questions from students are encouraged. She wants students in all her classes to always ask "Why?" about the mathematics they are studying. She believes that they can gain a deeper understanding from knowing why and how topics in mathematics work the way they do. Recently, her students have benefited from the use of online homework systems (WeBWorK and Hawkes Learning Systems), through which they receive immediate feedback when working outside of class.

At Cumberland, Dr. Dishman has taught many different courses, including Foundations of Scholarship & Learning, our transition to college course required for all college freshmen, and mathematics courses at all levels, ranging from Basic or College Algebra through the three-semester calculus sequence to most of the upper division courses required in the mathematics major. Her favorite courses to teach are the calculus sequence and Abstract Algebra. She has served on the Faculty Senate (both as secretary and as president), Institutional Effectiveness Committees for mathematics and physics, the Admissions Committee, the Financial Aid Student Appeals Committee, the Benefits Committee, the University Curriculum Committee (UCCCAP), and many others. While Dean of the SLAS, she served on the Deans’ Council, the Executive Management Team, the SACS Leadership Team, and the SACS Compliance Audit Committee, as well as various faculty search committees. As Program Director for mathematics, she oversees scheduling classes each semester, hiring adjunct instructors and fulltime faculty members, and assessment of the mathematics program.

Dr. Dishman is a co-sponsor of the Abelian Group, Cumberland’s student chapter of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA). This student organization has monthly speakers and activities for students interested in mathematics. Students are also often able to attend the MAA-Southeastern Section conference meetings, participating in many activities geared for undergraduates as well as presenting their own work in poster sessions or undergraduate talks. Dr. Dishman currently serves as the Tennessee State Director (2014-2017) for the Southeastern Section of the MAA.

Outside of academia, Dr. Dishman and her husband, Stephen, are avid Nashville Predators hockey fans. They enjoy traveling and have visited Scotland, England, France, Austria, Germany, Ukraine, and Romania, as well as many places in the U.S., including Hawaii. They are also very active in their church in Hendersonville, participating in the hand bell choir and other ministries. Another ministry close to Dr. Dishman’s heart is the Little Pantry That Could, where she serves on the board and gives financial support. In addition to holding clothing and food drives on campus for the pantry, she takes a group of students to serve at the pantry each fall semester. Dr. Dishman has donated her hair five times to Locks of Love for use in wigs for cancer patients. She and Stephen walked the Country Music Half-Marathon in April 2004 to raise money for the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic at Vanderbilt in memory of their daughter, Nadia. Their second daughter, Sasha, is the joy of their lives and keeps them very busy with school, gymnastics, and spending time with her friends.



Interassociates of the Free Commutative Semigroup on n Generators, Semigroup Forum, Springer New York, Volume 74, Number 3, June 2007.