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Ricardo D. Fierro

Ricardo D. Fierro, Ph.D.

Chair of the Dept of Mathematics, April 2009-June 2012
Associate Dean of the College of Science and Mathematics, June 2012 - Present


Ph.D., Mathematics, University of California, San Diego
B.S., Mathematics,  University of California, Davis

Truly, it is not knowing but learning,
not possessing but acquiring,
not being there but getting there,
which yields the greatest enjoyment.
Carl Friedrich Gauss, 1808

I joined the Dept of Mathematics in 1992, but took a leave of absence for a postdoc at UCLA for one year. I published numerous joint articles in numerical analysis, and co-authored two MATLAB software packages: "UTV Tools" (joint work with Per Christian Hansen, Professor of Scientific Computing, at, and P.S.K. Hansen), and "Expansion Pack" (joint work with Professor Per Christian Hansen) that supplements and complements UTV Tools. Both MATLAB collections were published and are freely available at

I've taught a wide variety of courses such as mathematics for elementary school teachers, linear algebra, modern geometry, statistics and probability, optimization, numerical analysis, business calculus, modern algebra, and college algebra.

I spent a sabbatical leave teaching K-6 students at local elementary schools, including a third grade class with Mrs. Emme, a fourth-fifth grade combination class with Mrs. Roncaglia, and two sixth grade classes with Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Dugger. It was an intensive opportunity to develop, test, and refine techniques, based on classroom experiences as well as recommendations from the literature, for helping students learn math content. The elementary school teachers I've worked with continue to welcome me to their classrooms to teach their students. These past and present experiences help establish a stronger connection between the elementary classroom and the college classroom while teaching prospective teachers in Math 210, Math 212, and Math 311.

Recent publications:
1.  Mathematics for Elementary School Teachers (textbook, 946 pages; Cengage Learning, Brooks/Cole imprint, available Feb 3, 2012). The textbook covers the five strands of mathematics in the elementary curriculum: numbers and operations, algebra and functions, data analysis and probability, measurement, and geometry. This work is based on several hundred hours of experience teaching elementary school students, a sabbatical leave spent teaching in local elementary schools, fifteen years of teaching prospective teachers in college classrooms, published research of talented K-8 teachers and college educators, NCTM (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics) and CCSS (Common Core State Standards) standards that describe what teachers should know and be able to do, and valuable feedback from instructors, editors, peer reviewers, and a skilled team of editors.
2.  Acitivities Manual (to accompany the textbook, co-author Randa Kress, available Feb 3, 2012).
3. Instructor's Solution Manual (557 pages) and Student Solutions Manual (119 pages) to accompany the textbook, co-author Scott Fallstrom, available Feb 3, 2012).

Cover of textbook