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(205) 934-2154
University Hall 4022

Research and Teaching Interests: Topology, Dynamical systems, Mathematics education at all levels

Office Hours: By appointment


  • B.S., Randolph-Macon College (Virginia), Philosophy
  • M.A., University of Florida, Philosophy
  • Ph.D., University of Florida, Philosophy
  • Ph.D., University of Florida, Mathematics
  • Post-Doctoral, University of Saskatchewan, Mathematics

John C. Mayer considers Florida his family home state. He graduated from Riverview High School (Sarasota, FL) and Randolph-Macon College (Ashland, VA), and taught middle and high school grades in Georgia before returning to graduate school, where he earned PhDs in both Philosophy and Mathematics at the University of Florida. After serving two years as a post-doctoral student at the University of Saskatchewan (Canada), he joined the Department of Mathematics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 1984 and is currently professor of mathematics.

In 1993, he co-founded, with the enthusiastic cooperation of the faculty of mathematics, the Mathematics Fast-Track Program at UAB, a program where undergraduates work with a faculty mentor every term, participate in individual and group research projects, participate in seminars, attend and present at conferences, and complete both BS and MS.degrees in mathematics in four to five years. Many go on to graduate and professional programs in mathematics and the sciences, or into teaching mathematics. He has personally mentored over 50 students in research at various levels. In 2014 he founded and served as one of the two initial co-directors of UABTeach, which is designed to nurture and train a new teaching force of highly qualified instructors in STEM subjects — science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. In order to support UABTeach and future teachers of mathematics, he redesigned three upper-level mathematics courses to use inquiry-based pedagogy: Mathematical Modeling, Modern Algebra, and Geometry.

His research interests are in topology, dynamical systems, and mathematics education at all levels. He is a winner of the George Polya Award (1989) of the Mathematical Association of America for expository writing, the UAB President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching (1997), and the Mathematical Association of America’s Distinguished Service Award (Southeastern Section, 2014). He has served as undergraduate program director, graduate program director, Fast-Track Program co-director, and associate chair of mathematics at UAB. From 2005-2015, with NSF and local support, he led the Greater Birmingham Mathematics Partnership in which UAB, Birmingham-Southern College, and nine school districts in the greater Birmingham area partnered to improve middle school mathematics education.

When not teaching mathematics — everything from graduate courses in his research areas to the lowest-level course in mathematics at UAB for which a student can receive credit and fulfill the university mathematics requirement — he finds time for reading science fiction and fantasy, listening to music (classical 70%, jazz 20%, popular 10%) and going to concerts, collecting works of art (mostly from local artists), and traveling. He particularly admires Scotland, and has a reproduction collection of the Lewis chessmen.