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The First Two Years of College Math: Building Student Success Evolution of Math Undergraduate Education for the Physical Sciences Paul Zorn, St. Olaf College.

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Presentation on theme: "The First Two Years of College Math: Building Student Success Evolution of Math Undergraduate Education for the Physical Sciences Paul Zorn, St. Olaf College."— Presentation transcript:

1 The First Two Years of College Math: Building Student Success Evolution of Math Undergraduate Education for the Physical Sciences Paul Zorn, St. Olaf College INGenIOuS and workforce issues

2 Is there really a STEM workforce problem?

3 Yes. STEM is not monolothic Uses of math/stats are broadening Diversity matters … See the report …

4

5 INGenIOuS Goals Planning ahead for a STEM workforce: What exists now? What’s needed? Implementation: What do stakeholders want? How best to deliver? Any low-hanging fruit? Investment: Where to target support? High- vs low-risk strategies? Who benefits?

6 INGenIOuS Themes Six initial themes (much more in report): Recruitment & Retention Internships Job Placement Technology & MOOCs Documentation & Dissemination Measurement & Evaluation

7 INGenIOuS Thread 1: Bridge gaps between BIG & academia Acknowledge & address the interests & requirements of BIG employers in educational experiences in academia. Forge new & strengthen existing relationships; promote collaborations among academia and BIG. Connect students to BIG internship opportunities. Develop opportunities for student research experiences onsite with BIG employers. Disseminate information regarding the math & statistics skills & competencies needed for BIG careers.

8 INGenIOuS Thread 2: Improve students’ preparation for non- academic careers Math sciences students need career-appropriate preparation that emphasizes the centrality of math & stat to the STEM enterprise. Better career prospects in math & stat can boost recruitment and retention in the short term. Longer term increase in number of graduates who enter the workforce well equipped with math/stat skills & expertise. Change will be needed in curricula & in some faculty members’ perceptions & valuation of BIG careers for their students.

9 INGenIOuS Thread 3: Increase public awareness of the role of math & stat in both STEM and non-STEM careers Faculty, students, AND the public at large. Professional organizations should undertake an expanded, cooperative, and coordinated program. Departments should include speakers from BIG as part of regular colloquia/seminars. Awareness activities should be started in K-12 with the preparation of future school teachers.

10 INGenIOuS Thread 4: Diversify incentives, rewards, & methods of recognition in academia Review & revise promotion & tenure criteria to include a broader set of professional activities. Build one community with diverse faculty roles. BIG employers encourage, recognize, & reward math scientists who engage in workforce preparation. Professional organizations & funding agencies recognize exemplary programs & support replication.

11 INGenIOuS Thread 5: Develop alternative pathways Traditional curricula & programs … Dominated by upper level theory courses Need more focus on apps that reflect the complexity of BIG problems Need more focus on big data applications, modeling, data analysis, visualization, high performance computing, & standard BIG technology Modern curricula & programs offer … Alternative entry points besides freshman algebra or beginning calculus Alternative options for major; interdisciplinary minors; professional master’s Alternative remedial and general education pathways

12 INGenIOuS Thread 6: Build & sustain professional communities A national community focused on workforce development to share information, resources, & best practices: Current technology tools Assessment & evaluation Identify internships & improve job placement Implementation: Virtual and in-person communication tools Electronic listserv, discussion board, workshops On-site, multi-day sessions for academics at BIG entities during which they join a team working on existing problems

13 CUPM (Committee on the Undergraduate Program in Mathematics) Modernizing curricula in the mathematical sciences CUPM Curriculum Guide 2015

14 CPUM History 1 “CUPM, The History of an Idea”, W.L. Duren, Monthly, 1965 before 1915: High school becoming universal … math becoming less classical : “25-year depression”. High school mainly personal development, vocational training, little math : Revival of public support for math ed ad hoc CUP appointed; 1953 became standing MAA committee under President E.J. McShane

15 CPUM History 2 “CUPM, The History of an Idea”, W.L. Duren, Monthly, : “space age” begins; huge demand, teacher shortage, perception of underpreparation of h.s. and college faculty : speculation on future … “ new math” will bring formerly graduate math to “freshman level” (most confident guess … ) huge expansion in college enrollment rise in computing …

16 CPUM History 3 “CUPM, The History of an Idea”, W.L. Duren, Monthly, : “space age” begins; huge demand, teacher shortage, perception of underpreparation of h.s. and college faculty : speculation on future … “ new math” will bring formerly graduate math to “freshman level” (most confident guess … ) huge expansion in college enrollment rise in computing …

17 CPUM History 4 “High level” math major at Northwestern U, around 1935; preparation for graduate school Year 1: College algebra analytic geometry Year 2: Differential, integral calculus Year 3: DE, advanced calculus, theory of equations Year 3: Higher geometry, functions of a real variable, honors seminar.

18 CPUM History 5 CUPM reports about once every years 1953 (involved new “universal course”, tested at Tulane) 1968, 1981, 1992, Curriculum Guide … in process

19 CUPM Guide Focus on Majors … The 2015 Guide aims to bring a fresh point of view to the design of mathematics majors that address the curricular demands of the wide—and widening—variety of mathematics programs now found across the nation.

20 CUPM Guide Implications for first two years Guide mainly address majors, but they depend on first two years Only 4 courses recommended for all students heading toward mathematics major: Calculus 1, Calculus 2, Linear Algebra, data-driven statistics course. Guide also addresses "programs”, e.g., in mathematics of biology. Mathematics tends to come early.


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