Getting to Know: Roland Minton

by minton on August 30, 2019

Mathematics major and Honors student Olivia Long wondered about the profession of mathematics professor at a small college like Roanoke. She asked us several questions about the present and the future of our job. Here are the edited results, so that you can get to know us and our job.

Roland Minton enjoys levitating light bulbs, Klein bottles, and various illusions. His book Sports Math features a picture of Roger Federer that he took at Centre Court, Wimbledon. He is a big sports fan, especially of Clemson football.

His research is on golf analytics, most recently classifying golfers and courses based on their strengths and weaknesses and applying those classifications to determine how a specific golfer will do on a specific course. He gives his classes research projects using data collected by the Roanoke College Stat Crew to ask statistical questions of interest to Maroon athletics.

As he became more accustomed to being a professor, he decided to move toward research that he could pick up and drop as needed, and that students could collaborate on. He imagines Roanoke College in 2050 to be a place where online work will be common, but face-to-face interaction remain important. He imagines moving away from fact-based testing towards guiding research and internships that benefit Maroons greater than students with online degrees. His favorite phrase to use in class is, “Does that make sense?” and his favorite sport to play is golf.

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