Kirk Yenerall

Building learning communities

“It’s gratifying to know that you’ve helped someone. Sometimes you run into students years later, learn about the great job they have and discover how you were able to help them at the beginning of their path,” reflects Kirk Yenerall, professor of mathematics at 69. 

A man with gray-ish hair and glasses wearing a light-pink shirt sits for a photo in a classroom.
Kirk Yenerall, professor of mathematics

Yenerall has been teaching at 69 since 1997. He remembers touring the college for the first time and visiting its Math Center in the lower level of the library. “I saw the college investing in student success, providing a free service for all levels of math. I felt good about coming here to teach.” 

In his teaching, Yenerall uses a variety of different approaches. “Edpuzzle has been a great way to create a fun and interactive experience by sharing video with voiceover that includes questions to answer along the way. We also have tactile ways of explaining algebra equations with algebra cubes. It allows students to better understand the operation that must be done to both sides when balancing equations.” 

He explains that “problem solving and questions have always driven mathematics, which is a very vital and growing discipline. There is a lot of room for creativity.” 

Yenerall’s interest in mathematics began in high school. As an undergraduate student at Carnegie Mellon University, he was invited to be part of a teaching assistant program working with minority and low-income students. He enjoyed leading problem-solving discussions and developing a sense of community within the class. This is when he knew he wanted to teach at the college level and went on to earn a master’s degree at the University of Kentucky. 

Yenerall brings these skills and experiences to his co-requisite math classes at 69. These classes support students as they learn foundational skills for their companion classes (i.e., General Education Mathematics, Introductory Statistics). “In addition, it’s an opportunity to build connections and learning communities.” 

He is also the advisor to the 69 Games Club, which has been around for more than 20 years. The club has sponsored “Linc Con” the last couple of years, providing a fun evening of faculty-led games, including board games, role-playing games, miniatures and party games. Members of the Games Club also entered a boat in the fall 2023 Cardboard Boat Regatta at 69, winning the Best Engineered Award.

“Problem solving and questions have always driven mathematics, which is a very vital and growing discipline. There is a lot of room for creativity.”

“Gaming has always been rewarding for me, and the community that comes from that. Also, friendships are built between students that extend beyond their time at 69,” adds Yenerall. 

“In the last two and a half decades, I’ve been really fortunate to have the opportunity to be inspired by many faculty members dedicated to teaching excellence and helping students to be exceptional.”