David C. Vella


(The active links are either courses currently being offered - click on them for a brief syllabus, assignments, etc.; or are links to more information about the the ambient programs surrounding these courses.)

Regular courses, Independent Studies & Seminars:

Note: LS designates courses which are part of the (now defunct) Skidmore College Liberal Studies curriculum.

SSP designates Scribner First Year Seminar Courses.

Senior Theses and/or UWW final projects directed:

  • Applications of Partitions - Julia Varbalow '92
  • Fourier Series - Holger Zwickau '93
  • Galois Theory - Peter Benoit '93 (UWW)
  • Coxeter Groups in Nature - Adam Lahti '03
  • Orbits of Algebraic Groups on their Lie Algebras - David Wiygul '04
  • Towards a Discrete Calculus - Claire Rupprecht '08
  • Nilpotent Orbits for Borel Subgroups of Modality Zero - Madeleine Burkhart '15
  • Generalizing the Fundamental Theorem of Arithmetic - Casey Hill '16
  • An Introduction to p-adic Numbers - Kun Zhou '19
  • Bernoulli Numbers and Related Topics - Kaifeng Yang '19
  • Lie Alebgras with Applications to Computer Vision - Michael Miller '21
  • Nilpotent Borel Orbits in Type B_3 - Bella Finkel '23

Note: UWW, the University Without Walls is the former Skidmore College continuing education program.

Skidmore College Honors Forum:

Fall 1998 marked the inception of a new program on campus designed to provide a more challenging academic environment to our more highly motivated student, to recognize exceptional ability, and in general to raise the academic level on campus overall. Called the Honors Forum, faculty participation in this program entails offering courses with an "honors" designation, which could be regular 3-credit courses, 1-hour add-ons to regular courses, or 1-hour stand-alone courses not attached to regular courses. While open to any student, student members of the Honors Forum must enroll in a certain number of honors courses per year (and maintain a certain level of performance) to retain their membership.

I was the Director of the Honors Forum, from Fall, 2007 - Spring, 2011.

I have taught the following Honors Forum courses:

  • Fall '98 & Fall '99: MA111H - Honors Calculus I.
  • Fall '99, and nearly every fall since then: MA125H, MA225H, MA325H - Problem Solving in Mathematics (see below).
  • Spring '00, Fall '03: MA113H, Fall '11 - Honors Calculus II.
  • Fall '00: HF101 - First Year Honors Colloquium. This new team-taught course covers a wide range of topics from the three major disciplinary foci. I participated for one month in the Science/Math focus, where the topic of discussion was Chaos Theory. From Fall, 2007 - Fall, 2010, I was the principal instructor for this course.
  • HF301 - Honors Forum Senior Seminar.

Problem Solving in Mathematics is a 1-credit stand-alone course in where students will work on problems posed in journals (and submit their solutions) and take the Putnam Exam in the fall semester for Honors Forum credit. First-year students enroll in MA125H (or MA126H in the spring), sophomores in MA225H (MA226H in the spring), juniors & seniors in MA325H (MA326H in the spring), but all levels will meet concurrently. Students may repeat the course for credit. Some of our solutions have been published.

Center for Talented Youth The Johns Hopkins CTY program is a summer program comprising intensive studyfor the gifted student ages 12-16. It is just one of the many programs coordinated by the office of special programs at Skidmore College.

Courses taught:

  • up to 1993:
    • Algebra I
    • Algebra II
    • Plane Geometry
    • Trigonometry

  • 1998 - 2012, 2014-2015, 2019: Probability and Game Theory.
  • 2018: Mathematical Logic (University of Hong Kong CTY site)


Last revised: 1/21/2024