Donald Godwin, PhD
Dean and Professor
What is your job and for whom do you work?
I am the Dean and professor in the University of New Mexico College of Pharmacy. I teach the pharmacy students how to calculate doses of drugs and how many dosage forms (tables, capsules, inhalers, patches, etc.) a patient needs to feel better. I also teach my students the mathematics of how drugs behave in the body. How fast they are absorbed from your gut, metabolized by your liver, and excreted out of your body by your kidneys and into your urine.
What math skills are most helpful to you in your work?
I use algebra and more basic math (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division) every day whether it is in the classroom with my students or in my job running the College of Pharmacy. I also use business and finance math in my job. It takes millions of dollars to run the College and I work with a lot of people to make sure that everyone at the college gets paid on time and that we have money to teach our students, do our research, and work with patients to improve their health.
What has helped you be successful in math?
Practice, practice, practice. Math is just not being able to do the calculations. A calculator can can do that for you. Math is about being able think about and solve problems. Whenever you have a chance, work on solving problems whether it is figuring how much tip to add when you go out to eat or how long to cut this board as you are building something out of wood. Think about the problem, figure out how to solve it, and then use math. If you work on solving problems everyday, your math skills will get better in the classroom and in life.
What advice do you have for parents about math?
Let your children practice math and do what you can to help them. I remember being frustrated as a parent myself trying to help my daughter with her long division, but we were both patient and she eventually got it. Even if you can’t help your kids with their math, encourage them to seek help at school or from classmates. Everyone gets frustrated sometimes, but we just have to keep encouraging out kids.