If “mathletes” are members of a team, Daley College’s Dr. Vali Siadat is a hall of fame coach.
Vali is a professor of mathematics at Daley College and his commitment to students is one of the qualities that sets him apart. He was recently given the 2019 American Mathematical Society (AMS) Award for Impact on Teaching and Learning of Mathematics.
When you receive one of the highest honors from one of the most prestigious math organizations in the world, you are elite.
AMS said about Vali: “His influence is not just limited to the students at his own institution, as is evident from the many honors he has received from various regional and national organizations, including the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and Council for Advancement and Support of Education, the Mathematical Association of America, the Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the National Council of Instructional Administrators, the University of Illinois at Chicago, the Illinois Community College Board, the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development, and Northeastern Illinois University.”
The organization went on call his teaching “a gift both to his many generations of students and to mathematics education.”
He is the first community college faculty member in the United States and the first City Colleges teacher to win the award. He’s also only the second ever from Illinois to earn the distinction.
Vali has been at Daley for 37 years. He won the Distinguished Professor Award of Daley College in 1999–2000. Daley College Interim President Eddie Garza wasn’t surprised to hear Vali received one of math’s top prizes.
“Dr. Siadat’s dedication to his students is relentless, and many of them cite him as the reason they are now comfortable with math,” said President Garza. “What people might not realize about Vali—and what hopefully they will now—is that his contributions and passion around math have not just impacted Daley students; he has influenced mathematics education and the way the subject is taught regionally and nationally on the two-year college level through projects, research and presentations.”
His students realize that Vali is no ordinary teacher. “When I arrived at Daley, I was intimidated by math and convinced it just wasn’t my thing,” said Daley student Iliana Perez-Garcia. “Dr. Siadat’s teaching style and the attention he gives students made me realize that I was able to not just learn math, but also excel at it.”
“Simply put, he is an exceptional teacher,” Daley College student Gail Forbes added about Vali. “Math was always kind of a challenge for me, but when I started taking Dr. Siadat’s class, I learned a foundation and concepts and it changed everything.”
Prior to City Colleges, Vali taught at California State University at Dominguez Hills, the University of Southern California, Chicago State University, and Loyola University Chicago. He’s found a home at Daley College, though, where he’s currently a distinguished professor.
“The students at Daley want to learn and have the ability, and as a teacher, that’s half the battle,” said Vali. “The energy and enthusiasm the students bring to class inspire me—our students motivate me and drive me as an educator.”