Michelle Manes


Associate Professor,
Department of Mathematics

Professor Michelle Manes in the Department of Mathematics reflects on the goal in mathematics as persistence and determination with the problem-solving process through collaboration, partial progress, incremental success, and revisions and states: “To persevere in the difficult work of learning mathematics, my students have to know that I believe they are up to the task.” That belief in her students and their awareness of that confidence in them generates the spirit of joy in mathematics through animated, engaging problems rather than skill drills. This is widely reflected in her students’ comments, “The math in this class is difficult because it takes different skills to approach the problem. I really had to think outside the box and not be afraid,” and “Her teaching methods allowed me to discover answers on my own, which really gave me the confidence I needed to do the work.” Former undergraduate students revel in the experience of Professor Manes’ innovative methods, such as replacing an expected quiz with the “epic scavenger hunt involving a ransom note for their abducted professor (Dr. Manes) and another math teacher dressed in a trench coat, and students decoding messages to figure out GPS coordinates, all culminating in locating the “abducted” Dr. Manes at Paradise Palms . . . with a box of malasadas!” Dr. Manes inspires and assists graduate students who describe her as having an “immense impact” on their careers as they journey on their paths of becoming educators. She extends her teaching beyond Manoa campus in ways that establish a trajectory back to Manoa in the future, such as collaborating with a colleague from another Manoa department on projects and grants to support K-12 mathematic education, including developing an electronic mathematics textbook. In this way, Professor Manes contributes to the preparation of K-12 students to eventually become future Manoa students who find mathematics thrilling and are eager to continue studies of it at UH Manoa. Her colleague writes: “Dr. Manes has earned a reputation for being an outstanding mathematics teacher by the education community. She is respected for her integrity and humility,” and an emeritus professor who was involved in hiring Professor Michelle Manes is concise in his assessment: “She is the best candidate I have ever met for a teaching award.”

Department of Mathematics