by Becca Muenks of The Columbian staff
Kenneth Felts, instructor of mathematics, is the newest full-time Columbia College faculty member. Felts is also currently working on his doctorate at the University of Missouri-Columbia and plans to complete it by March.
Felts, originally from Poplar Bluff, Mo., has been in Columbia for the past 12 years. He spent five years at the University of Missouri earning an undergraduate degree in mathematics and a minor in computers. He's spent the last seven years working on his doctorate.
This past semester Felts taught Finite Math, Pre-Calculus and Calculus 1. Next semester Felts says he will replace Finite Math with Calculus 2. Felts says he is willing and able to teach any math class the department needs.
Felts says he was attracted to Columbia College because of its focus on teaching. He says he enjoys being in Columbia and plans to stay. But the biggest factor in choosing the college, he says, is that Columbia College focuses more on teaching and less on research. "Teaching is my passion, not research," Felts says.
Felts says all the faculty at Columbia College are here because they want to help students. Felts adds that that most professors at the university seemed more interested in conducting research than actually teaching. While he says this made it easier for him to stand out as a good teacher, he is happy to have more competition at Columbia College. He says it will only make him work that much harder.
Dr. Larry West, chair and professor of computer and mathematical sciences, says Felts is an excellent addition to the department because he is personable, has a good sense of humor and a great work ethic. West says Felts also is valuable because he is working on his doctorate.
Dr. Ann Bledsoe, associate professor of mathematics, says Felts is uniformly energetic and friendly and that they even helped each other prepare for the new semester. Bledsoe also says his dedication to teaching makes him a perfect fit with Columbia College. She adds that she has heard nothing but good things about Felts from math-major students, often the toughest judges.
On a personal note, Felts says he enjoys sports, especially golf, but that he doesn't have a lot of time to play. Felts was married in August 2007 and his wife, Kathy, finished her graduate work at the University of Missouri in May 2008 and is now conducting institutional research for the university. They welcomed their first son, Pierce Richard Felts, in Nov. 2008. Felts reports his wife and son are doing great.