BOONE, N.C. — During the 2019–20 academic year, new courses offered by Appalachian State University’s Department of Mathematical Sciences, housed in the College of Arts and Sciences, are helping boost the success of calculus students. The courses are part of the “Supporting the STEM Pathway at Appalachian” project funded by a grant from the University of North Carolina System Office.
The $70,736 grant was awarded to Dr. Eric Marland, professor in and chair of the Department of Mathematical Sciences; Dr. Katherine Mawhinney, professor in and assistant chair of the department; and Dr. Trina Palmer ’99, professor in the department. Appalachian is providing a matching funds commitment of $17,458 for the project.
According to Mawhinney, the project provides new, one-hour corequisite courses and a fallback course for students taking MAT 1110 and MAT 1120, the first two courses within the calculus sequence. The corequisite courses focus on building student understanding of key calculus concepts while also fixing algebra misconceptions and increasing symbolic manipulation skills.
The fallback course is designed for students in MAT 1110 who determine they are not ready for calculus within the first month of a semester. Students may drop calculus and replace those hours with the fallback course.
“The fallback course will improve students’ understanding and skills with concepts that bridge precalculus and calculus, so that students can then take and be successful in calculus in the semester that follows,” Mawhinney said.
Calculus courses are required for majors other than math, including students whose programs are in biology, chemistry, geology, computer science, geography and physics.
Other Appalachian faculty in the Department of Mathematical Sciences who are collaborating on the project include lecturer Natasha Puckett ’05, associate professor Dr. Greg Rhoads and senior lecturer Dr. John Sevier ’07 ’08.
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About the Department of Mathematical Sciences
The Department of Mathematical Sciences offers undergraduate degrees in actuarial science and mathematics, with concentrations in business, computation, life sciences, physical sciences, secondary teaching and statistics, plus a general, self-designed concentration. The department also offers the Master of Arts in mathematics, with concentrations in college teaching and secondary teaching. Learn more at https://mathsci.appstate.edu.
About the College of Arts and Sciences
The College of Arts and Sciences is home to 16 academic departments, one stand-alone academic program, two centers and one residential college. These units span the humanities and the social, mathematical and natural sciences. The College of Arts and Sciences aims to develop a distinctive identity built upon our university's strengths, traditions and unique location. The college’s values lie not only in service to the university and local community, but through inspiring, training, educating and sustaining the development of its students as global citizens. There are approximately 6,100 student majors in the college. As the college is also largely responsible for implementing Appalachian's general education curriculum, it is heavily involved in the education of all students at the university, including those pursuing majors in other colleges. Learn more at https://cas.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the state of North Carolina, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls more than 20,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.