Mathematics Professor Patrick Sime, Ph.D., has watched the Athletics Department grow in his two decades-plus at Caldwell University. As the faculty athletics representative for the NCAA, he knows the advantages of college sports. “I think having a student-athlete presence on campus is a great benefit to the university as a whole. I think it is a great opportunity for students who enjoy playing sports to continue while getting a college education.”
The NCAA requires each college and university to have a faculty member who is not working in the Athletics Department take the position of a faculty representative to the NCAA. In that role, Sime’s duties include meeting with student-athletes before each semester starts, proctoring examinations for coaches seeking to become recruiters and facilitating applications for NCAA scholarships for graduate school or fifth-year undergraduate student-athletes. Mark Corino, Caldwell’s assistant vice president and director of athletics, says Sime has been a wonderful asset to the Athletics Department, “a voice that connects our student athletes and athletics staff to our faculty and administration.”
For the fall 2017 season, Sime looks forward to being a presence for students who will be on the university’s first-ever sprint football team. Sime points to statistics showing that student-athletes have higher-than-average graduation rates and GPAs.
Statistics and numbers certainly count for Sime. His life has centered around math since before pre-kindergarten. “I was always fascinated with numbers as a small child and was dealing with numbers. I don’t know why.” He attended Passaic Valley High School in Little Falls and received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Rutgers University-Newark and his Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Maryland in College Park, where he had a teaching assistantship. At Caldwell, Sime has taught math courses for majors and non-majors. Math, he says, is important for all students. “It helps critical thinking—the type of quantitative reasoning that is helpful for any career or many situations in life.” It has been most rewarding to see students succeed, particularly when at first it does not seem they are going to “cut it and then, whether through hard work or a change in philosophy, they improve.”
The mathematics major has been a strong foundation for alumni, some of whom have gone into teaching and some of whom have pursued fields like business, financial analysis, actuary science and even graduate school for a master’s or a Ph.D. “Sometimes employers look for the type of preparation math majors have, and that makes them more marketable,” Sime says.
In math, the basics do not change. “The math taught in undergraduate courses involves math developed up to the end of the 19th century,” he says. Technology has factored into teaching, and Sime warns against an over-reliance on it. “Use all the technology you want, but I am still a fervent believer that you should know some basics, like your times tables,” he says, one reason being to identify mistakes made on a calculator.
Sime has served on a number of university committees, including student life and academic foundations, and is an officer on the faculty council.
His early academic background was at large universities, which is why he appreciates Caldwell’s small size. At bigger schools, Sime says, “you can have over 100 faculties in your department but rarely get to know the teachers in the other divisions. I like to interact with faculty from other disciplines. It’s something I enjoy.”
Things you might not know about Patrick Sime
Sime is of Irish, Scottish and Syrian ancestry. “Two of my great-grandparents were from the city of Aleppo that has been practically leveled.”
He likes to travel and once while he was in Iceland he walked on the outskirts of the glacier Mýrdalsjökull, “which was interesting since I have a fear of heights,” he says. “On a couple of occasions, you have to walk between cauldrons, basically deep holes,” several hundred feet up. “We were on one of its ‘tongues,’ called Sólheimajökull.” He has also visited the Agincourt coral reefs in Australia.
A Yankees fan, Sime attended the last game at the old Yankee Stadium in 2008.