Lydia Marcus- Staff Writer
Every few months, it seems, Dordt students see a headshot of statistics professor Nathan Tintle on DCC accompanying a press release highlighting the newest grant or award Dr. Tintle received.
Dr. Tintle is a notable educator, and this January the Special Interest Group of the Mathematical Association of America on Statistics Education (SIGMAA Stat Ed) awarded Dr. Tinle the annual Robert V. Hogg Award for Excellence in Teaching Introductory Statistics. The award recognizes that Dr. Tintle exhibits both excellence and growth in teaching introductory statistics. Dr. Tintle is the fifth recipient of this award.
“Dr. Tintle gets very excited when he teaches. My mom calls him a math evangelist because he is so obviously passionate about it,” says junior biochemistry major Jenna Veenstra, who began working for Tintle as a freshman. Veenstra’s work under Tintle includes assistance in analyzing data about fatty acids and cardiovascular disease.
“His classes are more interactive than usual,” says senior statistics minor Anya Kalsbeek, who also conducts research for Tintle.
“One thing I’ve noticed is that he tries to get to know his students so he can help them see the practical applications of what they’re learning in their future career. Often math seems abstract, but when you have a practical application for the math, especially if it’s in your field, learning it is more exciting.”
Tintle often uses a flipped classroom style where students learn the material on their own and then come to class with questions. Tintle also uses an intuition-based approach to statistics rather than a formula-based approach.
“Reflecting on my first statistics class with Dr. Tintle, I realize that I built up applicable skills in statistics, not just knowledge. I might not remember everything we covered, but I have a solid understanding of how statistics works,” Kalsbeek said.
“It’s definitely a better way of teaching,” Veenstra adds.
Dr. Tintle, who received his Ph.D. in statistics from the State University of New York and joined the Dordt faculty in 2011, said that “over the years, I find that I spend more and more time thinking seriously about how students learn statistics.”
“I enjoy thinking about how students grow in their statistical understanding and then trying to develop curricular materials and classroom activities that help meet students where they are.”