$99,500 over 20 months. Wheaton College frames its proposal for a Working Group most broadly in terms of the United States’ lagging competence in math and science relative to the rest of the world, arguing that liberal arts colleges can play an important role in reversing this trend. An understanding of quantitative analysis and quantitative literacy is essential for comprehending data that describe life’s intellectual, economic, and political realities. Such abstract and applied knowledge and skills establish a framework for evaluating relationships between entities, for understanding perspective, and for interpreting change in spatial and temporal terms.
The working group will consist of a core of three, and augmented by faculty and students from a range of departments, the head of the College’s Multicultural Center, trustees, alumni, and external advisors. They will propose new pedagogical approaches, new campus-wide and external collaborations, exercises, and displays to instill interest, improve performance, and engage faculty and students to pursue quantitative analysis knowledge and skills more aggressively and successfully. The work to be accomplished includes:
- Enhancing two existing initiatives (peer tutoring in the QA Resource Center and “Course Connections,” which asks faculty to design and link courses across disciplines);
- Developing a Math Practicum in which teams of eight students and two faculty members will work for a semester with local and regional businesses and industries on research projects that demand mathematical solutions.
- Scheduling events and speakers;
- Developing ways to foster work in quantitative analysis in participating departments;
- Assessing the impact of the work done over the grant period;
- Producing a White Paper to be submitted to the Foundation.
Indicators of success will include a greater number of math majors, math minors, and non-majors in course connections that feature math courses; a greater number of students making use of peer tutoring activities; a greater number of course connections offered; successful launch of the Math Practicum.