Math chair to step down

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Math Chair Said Fariabi will step down as chair of the math department in the summer because of his health. He reflected on his journey and accomplishments as a professor at this college, which included the creation of Math 1314, College Algebra, intended for students with non-engineering majors. Sergio Medina

By Noah Alcala Bach

Dr. Said Fariabi, who has overseen the math department the past 15 years will retire this summer for health reasons.

Fariabi came to the United States in 1974 after graduating from the University of Tabriz in Iran. He received his master’s and doctoral degrees from Oklahoma State University in 1979.

Fariabi began teaching at UTSA full time in 1990 and part time at this college in 1994. He was brought on full time in 2000 and promoted in 2005 to department chair.

This year the college introduced the Equity and Excellence award, Fariabi was chosen as the first recipient. The award was created by the Student Success department to honor faculty who are dedicated to seeing student success. A red plaque in the shape of the Alamo featuring the recipient’s and award’s name was presented to Fariabi in January.

When Fariabi took the reins, the pass rate for Math 1414, College Algebra, stood at about 35 percent. The only algebra course offered was designed for students pursuing a STEM degree.

He introduced a second algebra course, Math 1314, College Algebra, that was designed for students not pursuing a STEM degree. In just a year, the pass rate jumped to 65 percent.

”We taught the course assuming every student was going to be an engineering major or a science major and that wasn’t the case,” Fariabi said. “Now we have a different path for the students.”

In addition to introducing Math 1314, Fariabi created a refresher course, Math 005; implemented 4- and 12-week developmental courses; and created different time frames for corequisite courses mandated by the state.

The district took note of Fariabi’s success and now offers these courses across all campuses.

Fariabi credits the math department’s success during his tenure to the faculty and their passion to educate and help students. He also credits the college’s administrators for constant support, going as far as saying they never said no to any reasonable request.

Fariabi’s successor hasn’t been chosen yet, but he hopes whoever takes the position prioritizes the success of students.

“We are here for the students. That’s the bottom line,” Fariabi said. “My biggest accomplishment has been the students’ success. That’s one thing I really cared about. My office door was always open for the students to come and see me. I helped the students as much as I could.”

Fariabi hasn’t set his last day yet and hopes to finish out the summer semester if his health allows

“He is one of the most selfless leaders I’ve ever worked with,” math department Coordinator Paula Mckenna said. “We all know replacing him is going to be next to impossible. There is no other Dr. Fariabi. There’s just nobody else like him.”

Putting his career in perspective, Fariabi said, “I’ve enjoyed working at SAC, every minute of it. I have no regrets.”


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