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Mathematical Sciences

Hilary Risser

Hilary   Smith   Risser

Associate Professor and Department Chair, Department of Mathematical Sciences
Museum 112
Phone: (406) 496-4581
E-mail Hilary Smith Risser


Dr. Smith Risser is a tenured Associate Professor in the department of Mathematical Sciences. Dr. Smith Risser received her Ph.D. in Computational and Applied Mathematics from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. Dr. Smith Risser taught at Plano West Senior High School and Texas Woman's University before coming to Montana Tech in 2008. In the past six years, she has served as a board member for the Montana Council of Teachers of Mathematics and the Butte School Board. Dr. Smith Risser is a member of several state committees concerned with mathematics and science education and serves as a reviewer for three different academic journals.

In 2013, Dr. Smith Risser was honored with both a Merit Award and a Rose and Anna Busch Faculty Achievement Award. Dr. Smith Risser is the adviser for students seeking certification in secondary mathematics education through the dual enrollment program with The University of Montana Western. She is the supervisor for the Supplemental Instruction program.

Research Interests

Dr. Smith Risser’s research focuses on the use of technology in the teaching of mathematics and the use of technology in professional development for teachers. She has published articles on the use of technology in the teaching of mathematics, a book chapter and an article on mentoring, and two articles on online professional communities of teachers. Dr. Smith Risser has collaborated with more than twenty different faculty members from across the world on research projects in education. In the past six years, Dr. Smith Risser has assisted and supervised nine undergraduate/graduate research projects on a variety of topics related to math and science education. She regularly presents with students at regional and national conferences.

Non-Research Academic Interests

Dr. Smith Risser is deeply interested in encouraging students of all ages to appreciate the beauty of mathematics. She organizes and participates in outreach activities concerning mathematics for children of all ages. These activities are designed to help students see beyond the mathematics they are taught in school. Some of the topics she has presented on are, mathematical modeling of disease transmission, the mathematics of code breaking, the mathematics of social networks, and the mathematics in music.

Selected Honors & Awards

  • 2013 Rose and Anna Busch Faculty Achievement Award
  • 2013 Montana Tech Faculty Merit Award

Career in Brief

  • 2011-Present: Associate Professor, Montana Tech
  • 2008-2011: Assistant Professor, Montana Tech
  • 2006-2008: Assistant Professor, Texas Woman’s University
  • 2002-2006: Mathematics Teacher, Plano Independent School District

Courses Taught

  • M 172 - Calculus 2
  • M 329 - Modern Geometry
  • M 330 - History of Mathematics
  • M 410 - Numerical Computing for Engineering and Science

Selected Publications

Smith Risser, H. & Bottoms, S. (In Press) Newbies" and "Celebrities": Detecting Social Roles in an Online Network of Teachers via Participation Patterns, International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning.

Smith Risser, H. (2013) Virtual Induction: A Novice Teacher’s Use of Twitter to Form a Mentoring Network. Teaching and Teacher Education, 35, 25-33.

Bottoms, S., Pegg, J., Adams, A., Wu, K., Smith Risser, H., & Kern, A.(2013). Mentoring from the outside: The role of a peer mentoring community in the development of early career education faculty. Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, 21(2).

Smith Risser, H. (2011). What are we afraid of? Arguments against teaching mathematics with technology in the professional publications of organizations for US mathematicians. IJTME, 18(2), 97-101.

Smith Risser, H. (2010). Internal and external comments on course evaluations and their relationship to course grades. TMME, 7(3), 401-412.

Personal Interests

In her spare time, Dr. Smith Risser is an avid knitter and quilter. She also enjoys photography, gardening, and cooking. Among her most important personal accomplishments is being the mother of two amazing daughters.