Alan Iliff has taught mathematics and computer science at North Park for more than three decades and enjoys teaching interdisciplinary Dialogue courses where he reads, discusses, and supervises student writing about important books and ideas.
Professor Iliff’s interest in student learning extends to his research interests. These include mathematical logic, especially proof theory where the theory of how truth is proved in mathematics as well as undergraduate mathematics curriculum and pedagogy, particularly learning how to prove mathematical theorems. In addition Iliff teaches computer science and pedagogy, including theory of programming languages and computer approaches to proving truth in mathematics.
“Mathematics is transcultural. It is absolutely the same everywhere it is known,” he says. “The only way to relate it to multiple cultures is to apply it to issues in different societies, either geographically or historically.”
Contemporary issues of different cultures are relevant in higher-level courses like History of Mathematics, Biostatistics, and Environmental Statistics. Classes like MATH 1030 and STAT 1490 involve students in social issues in Chicago and include field trips to the city. Iliff also believes the absolute truth of mathematics inclines people to believe in God and in God’s presence and influence in people’s lives.
According to Professor Iliff, mathematics is the study of eternal ideas in the mind of God, some of which are ideas we have known for millennia and some of which are yet to be discovered.
“The Role of the Matrix Representation in Peirce’s Development of the Quantifiers.” In Studies in the Logic of Charles Sanders Peirce, edited by Nathan Houser et al. Indiana University Press, 1997.
Professor Iliff is involved in the Math Club and Kappa Mu Epsilon, an undergraduate mathematics honor society.