Evaluation of the Accreditation Report for the Department of Mathematics

The Department of Mathematics had to go through an evaluation by an external panel that leads to an accreditation report. I am not in favor of this procedure as it usually leads to insults and misunderstandings. Moreover, it treats our departments as if their faculty has no international experience or is indifferent for the Department's quality; some wise persons will have the great ideas that we could not think of, and will help us emerge to the western world norm.

What follows is my evaluation of the accreditation committee's report. Their report is published on our web here.

Let us see the Accreditation panel (as written in their report):
  1. Prof. Alekos Vidras (Chair), University of Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus
  2. Prof. Nikolaos Dimakis, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Texas, USA
  3. Prof. Panagiotis Souganidis, The University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA
  4. Prof. Nikolaos Stylianopoulos, University of Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus

A few more details by me:

  • Professor Vidras is in Complex Analysis and related topics. His default University page has a list of selected publications and he does not have a personal web page himself (as of Nov2020).
  • Professor Dimakis is in Computational material science. His default University page has a list of 5 publications (I guess selected) and he also does not seem to have a personal web page himself (as of Nov2020).
  • Professor Souganidis, a distinguished professor, is in PDEs and related topics and he does have a web page other than the University default.
  • Professor Stylianopoulos is in Numerical Analysis, Complex Analysis and related topics and he does have a web page other than the University default.


2 out of 4 do not have a web page other than the University default (as of Nov17/2020).

2 out of 4 do not have a complete publication list but a selected list (as of Nov17/2020).

This panel with the above characteristics found that 2 out of 20 Professors in our Department do not have a personal web page, although all of them have the University default. It was explained that one of those persons was just elected in our department and it was only 1 that did not have a personal web page. However, they used this to inflate their report with suggestions :

"The faculty should maintain up to date webpages listing their education, academic positions, service, teaching, and a complete list of publication."

The University of the Aegean is one of the most developed Universities in Greece in computer systems and Web presence. I find the above critique not acceptable.

3 out of 4 of the panel are related to Numerical Analysis. This leaves questions about their suggestion to remove the teaching of the Lebesgue measure in R as a compulsory course and instead make compulsory the numerical analysis one, although the previous accreditation of the department praised the fact that we teach the Lebesgue measure in R as compulsory and actually suggested to move it to the 5th semester instead of the 6th. To teach a little of measure in R is quite modern and used to improve courses such as probability, geometry and several others. To teach Numerical Analysis as a compulsory course does not lead to many courses in this curriculum. If they wanted us to completely change the curriculum to add more Numerical Analysis courses, then my comment is that not only numerical analysts produce students that look for a job.

On Analysis they suggest us to teach the material of Rudin "Principles of Mathematical Analysis". This indeed took me with surprise. I respect Professor Rudin, I got to know him personally when he visited Texas A&M University in the nineties, and his books offered a lot to the mathematical community. But this is a book of the early sixties. Most probably Rudin started the writing if the book in the fifties. The translation to Greek is erratic (to my opinion) with questionable translation of several terms. All in all this is a bad choice in 2020. I tend to believe that Souganidis did not read his suggestion. He just signed the evaluation. There is no other explanation for this. And if we do this the next accreditation panel will blame us for teaching too old books.

"At the beginning of every academic year, each faculty member must submit to the Head of the department an updated CV and 1-2 pages 'yearly activities' report."
Is "I taught my courses, was loaded with practically infinite bureaucracy, and I was thinking on those problems" enough? Mathematics is not a computer or lab activity to have guaranteed results. Moreover, this supersedes the law. And why the CV of some of you is stuck in 2014?

Course overlap. Yes they found a paragraph in just one course that was placed there to provide reminders to students. And with this they make an issue "avoid overlaps and provide accurate description of the classes offered". About the accurate description, we are of the rare departments they describe many course's material on a weekly basis. What is the proper rate? Per minute?

They suggest to teach a new course and show students of the first year the potential uses of Mathematics. Does Princeton have such a course? Where is it and what book do they use so we can do the same? I promise I will translate it to Greek.

"Have an undergraduate seminar once every two weeks."  I work hard every year with other colleagues to have a weekly quality undergraduate seminar that exists only in few universities around the globe, has its own web page https://myria.math.aegean.gr/psag/
and publishes the talks given, distributing the printed journal in all University libraries of Greece. This is insulting.
Where is the web page of their undergraduate seminar in Cyprus, Chicago or Rio Grande?

The rest of their suggestions, I am really sorry to say, are trivialities. For example, "have an orientation week for freshmen", "continue to have all relevant policy documents pertaining to the department readily available and accessible". They do not understand that this is insulting. Did we need "the judge" to have our documents accessible or orient the freshmen? Did they come to write their report thinking that we are low quality and were surprised by the fact that our web pages are so rich? Other suggestions are violating the law. For example "This requires ... the ability of the faculty members to teach more one semester and less another." Do you suggest us to violate the law?

And, no, I will not teach Rudin's Principles book on Analysis from the fifties in 2020.

Antonis Tsolomitis. Nov17/2020