Montana Tech Chancellor Don Blackketter will present Johnathan Bardsley, PhD., with the Chancellor’s Medallion at the university’s commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 6.
The Chancellor’s Medallion is given at the sole discretion of the chancellor to recognize an alumnus who has excelled in both their educational and professional careers.
Blackketter said Bardsley "is an outstanding scholar and nationally recognized researcher as well as being commended by his students and colleagues as an outstanding teacher.”
Bardsley grew up in Butte, graduating from Butte High School in 1992. He credits his senior year trigonometry teacher, Bob Toivonen, for establishing a strong foundation for success in undergraduate mathematics. During his first semester at Montana Tech in the fall of 1992, Bardsley took Calculus 1 from Professor Nagendra Pandey and changed his major to mathematics, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in 1996. Bardsley credits the math department for excellent preparation for graduate school, with many solid professors, including Dennis Haley, Jim Handley, Dave Hill, Nagendra Pandey, Michael Poole, Rick Rossi, and Celia Schahczenski.
During his senior year at Tech, Rossi encouraged Bardsley to apply for a graduate teaching assistantship, which would pay for graduate school, as well as a small salary, in return for teaching lower level math courses. Not ready for a "real job," a news release said, Bardsley applied for, and received, a TA in the Math Department at Montana State University. After two years of study at Montana State University, he received his master’s degree in mathematics in 1998. He then went on for a PhD at the University of Oregon, but opted to return to MSU after one year (and a second master’s degree in 1999) to pursue a PhD in computational mathematics, receiving his PhD at MSU in 2002 under the direction of Professor Curt Vogel.
Bardsley spent the year following his PhD as a postdoctoral researcher at the Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute in the Research Triangle Park of North Carolina, under the direction of Dr. H. Thomas Banks. Although the postdoc was to last for three years, a dream job opened in the Math Department at the University of Montana, which Bardsley applied for, and received, beginning his career at UM in the fall of 2003.
Since arriving at UM, he has spent two years abroad: first a one-year faculty exchange to the University of Helsinki in Finland during 2006-07; and then a sabbatical year at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, during 2010-11. John’s time in both places was research-focused, and the output from these years helped him to receive promotion to associate professor in 2007, tenure in 2009, and promotion to full professor in 2013.
Bardsley has been a productive researcher throughout his career, having published over 45 peer reviewed journal articles thus far. He has also been successful in the procurement of external grant support, primarily from the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy, totaling in excess of $500,000. And finally, John has been the major supervisor of five PhD students, who received their doctoral degrees in 2006, 2008, 2010, 2013, and 2016.
Bardsley is also active in service to his research committee, including as a referee several times per year for top journals in his research discipline, and as a reviewer for grant proposals to the NSF and other international organizations. Moreover, in 2015 he organized a well-attended research conference at UM – called Montana Uncertainty Quantification – focused in his research discipline and that was supported by a NSF grant. At UM, Bardsley is a devoted and successful teacher, and has served as the Grievance Officer for UM’s faculty union since 2015.