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Carol Rardin earns Professor Emeritus distinction

January 1, 2011

A longtime Central Wyoming College math professor was awarded the distinction of a Professor Emeritus title during CWC Convocation activities Wednesday, August 31.
Carol Rardin, who began her association with the college when her family moved to Fremont County in the 1970s, joins 22 other faculty in the college’s 45-year history to receive the honor.
CWC President Jo Anne McFarland presents the award during the eighth annual Convocation, which begins at 4 p.m. with the traditional faculty march to the ceremony which will be held at the plaza in front of the Intertribal Education and Community Center.
“I’m thrilled,” Rardin said. “It was something I wanted and I was really pleased.” She is especially honored to join the faculty who she looked up to when she joined the staff at CWC fulltime in 1991. “For me, it has value because I have so much respect for the people I worked with.”
Rardin, ironically, began teaching stained glass classes at CWC and served as the Lander outreach coordinator. She also organized the Summer Arts Festival at the CWC Field Station (now known as the Sinks Canyon Center).
She takes exception to the notion that mathematicians are left brained and that artists use the right side. “With both art and math, you have a goal,” she said. “There is a creative process in both.”
While attending school in Thermopolis, Rardin discovered a knack for math and later earned a bachelor’s degree in math education. But as a college student in the 1960s, the cultural uprising caused her to take an interest in the arts.
She discovered teaching high school math wasn’t her thing and abandoned the vocation for 15 years. That was until she took a computer course at CWC while she was pursuing an associate’s degree in art. “That hit on the math again,” she said. That spark caused her to take an adjunct position at Central, teaching developmental math. “I really liked it,” she recalled.
After teaching on a part-time basis, Carol decided she wanted to pursue to teach at the college full time. She spent three summer sessions and a fall semester at the University of Northern Colorado getting a master’s degree and waited for a job to open at the college. A few months later, Gib Wilson, also a professor emeritus, retired and she was hired to replace him.
Every degree seeking student is required to take math, which for some causes a great deal of anxiety. “You could almost feel their physical reaction coming into the class,” she said. These apprehensive students hated coming into a math class because they had never had success.
“It’s a great self-esteem builder when they can find that they can do it,” she said. “To be able to go and succeed is a really empowering experience. That’s the really rewarding part of teaching.”
Math must be in the Rardin genes. Daughter Kate has earned a PhD in mathematics and is now doing post-doctoral work in New Zealand.