Lyon College’s Schwanke receives ‘extraordinary senior lecturer’ position in South Africa

A Lyon professor has been appointed to the post of extraordinary senior lecturer at North-West University in South Africa.

Assistant Professor of Mathematics Dr. Christopher Schwanke will have access to campus, academic journals, and travel funds through the position, which retroactively began Jan. 1, 2019, and will expire Dec. 31, 2021. The position can be renewed for another three years at that time.

Schwanke was a postdoctoral researcher at North-West University from 2015 to 2018. His wife still lives in South Africa, so he spends his summers there.

“My former supervisor thought it would be a good idea to nominate me for this appointment,” he said.

“It was an honor to have the university’s top-ranked officials give me this recognition. It’s a great opportunity to travel to South Africa to visit my wife and continue my research with my colleagues, who have similar interests.”

He is currently working on two research projects: further developing a theory of complex analysis from an order theoretic perspective and a theory of stochastic processes from an order theoretic perspective.

“In math research, we prove new theorems that could hopefully end up in textbooks one day, like the quadratic formula,” he said. “Someone had to prove that it actually works.”

The position is unpaid, but the South African government will award North-West University about $6,700 (100,000 rands) every time Schwanke gets an article published.

“I publish in both Lyon’s name and North-West’s name, so about 10 percent of that will go back to me for research costs, such as traveling to conferences and inviting colleagues [to North-West University].”

He plans to renew the position indefinitely.

“I plan on going to South Africa every summer right now to see my wife and then to see her family after she moves here,” Schwanke said.

“Most of my collaborators are in South Africa, so it makes sense for me professionally to be there over the summer anyway. Research is a big part of my job, and I’d like to continue this appointment.”