Patricia Hammer

Patricia Hammer

Patricia “Trish” Hammer, Ph.D., serves as vice president for academic affairs. Before her appointment as vice president, Trish served as acting vice president for academic affairs from 2013 to 2014. From 2009 through 2013, she served as dean of academic services, and from 1990 through 2009 taught full time in the department of mathematics and statistics at Hollins.

As vice president for academic affairs, Trish oversees all matters of faculty, curriculum, and instruction, including 27 undergraduate programs and eight graduate programs, the Wyndham Robertson Library, the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum, the Batten Leadership Institute, the Office of International Programs, including established programs in London and Paris, the Office of Registrar and Academic Services, Hollins athletics, and all matters of SACS accreditation.

In her role as dean of academic services, Trish provided oversight in the areas of faculty advising, peer mentor advising, first-year seminar and first-year experience programs, retention and persistence analysis, academic policy, and learning accommodations.

In the mathematics and statistics department, Trish completed several terms as chair of the department, showing a passion for teaching all levels of mathematics courses, including calculus, cryptology, fractals, game theory, real analysis and NUMB3RS. From 1998 to 2003, Trish served as co-leader in Hollins’ efforts to develop a quantitative reasoning program and as co-investigator on an NSF grant titled “A Faculty Development Program for Quantitative Reasoning Across the Curriculum” from 2001 to 2003. Hollins’ quantitative reasoning program continues to receive national recognition.

Trish started at Hollins in 1990 after completing her Ph.D. degree in applied mathematics from Virginia Tech. Her mathematical research focuses on the identification of unknown parameters in several partial differential equation-based models using a technique known as quasilinearization. Specific applications include both heat conduction and fluid flow models, with publications appearing in the Journal of Mathematical Systems, Estimation and Control, MAPLE Technical Newsletter, and other applied mathematics journals. Other areas of scholarship focus on the application of mathematics to several disciplines, including medicine, biology, and physics, as well as the use of technology in the mathematics curriculum to solve complex real-world problems. Two articles, “Estimating the Area of Virginia Using Integration” and “Design of a Thrilling Roller Coaster,” appeared in the Journal of Online Mathematics and Its Applications. More recent work involves the mathematical generation of fractal movies and fractal music.

For fun, Trish enjoys telling (bad) math jokes.



  • B.S., M.S., Ph.D., Virginia Tech


Her Ph.D. dissertation and related articles have appeared in professional journals. “Applications of Quasilinearization to Parameter Identification in Partial Differential Equations” appeared in the Pitman Research Notes in Mathematical Series, edited by J. Weiner and J. Hale. Another article, “Parameter Identification in Parabolic Partial Differential Equations Using Quasilinearization,” appeared in the Journal of Mathematical Systems, Estimation, and Control. Her article “Identification of Diffusion Coefficients in the Heat Equation using MAPLEV” discusses the incorporation of parameter estimation problems into undergraduate mathematics courses and appeared in the spring 1995 issue of the MAPLE Technical Newsletter. An online interactive web based calculus project entitled “Estimating the Area of Virginia using Integration” has recently (2003) appeared in the Journal of Online Mathematics and Its Applications.

Hammer has been actively involved in the development of a quantitative reasoning (QR) across the curriculum program at Hollins. Hammer, along with Professor Caren L. Diefenderfer, received an NSF grant for 2000-2002. This grant involved outside speakers and faculty workshops for development of applied quantitative reasoning courses at Hollins.

Research Interests

Her scholarly interests involve the application of mathematics to several disciplines including medicine, biology, physiology, and physics. More specifically, she determines mathematical models that best represent certain physical processes.