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Charles A. Dana Center Higher Ed In Brief
May/June 2018
A Message from Amy

Impact—one word with which we sum up the complexity of how our work affects the world.

When I was teaching, I saw the impact of my work on a daily basis: the look on a student’s face when a difficult concept suddenly clicked or watching students collaborate to solve a challenging problem. And special milestones like congratulating a proud student at graduation made me feel that I contributed in a small way to her accomplishment.

I don’t experience those same kinds of moments working at the Dana Center. Now, I am more likely to see numbers than faces. It’s a different kind of impact—larger scale, but less personal, and sometimes harder to explain to others. For example, today my heartwarming story to share with my husband at the end of the day is about a policy memo.

The Arkansas Department of Higher Education recently released recommendations on the applicability of quantitative literacy to programs of study. In that memo, I saw a picture of a not-so-distant future in which, every year, thousands of students in Arkansas will find transfer a little less confusing and onerous, will move towards completion of their degrees more quickly, and will save money by not having to take additional courses. Entering students more likely will take a course with content that is relevant to their goals and interests. Since this is a critical factor in motivation, those students will be more likely to learn and appreciate mathematics.

This memo came out of a process in which mathematics faculty across the state set a vision for improving entry-level college mathematics programs. They were supported by the Department of Higher Education and the Arkansas Center for Student Success and by their administrators and institutional leaders. Faculty in partner disciplines helped identify the math needed in their fields. Advisors and other student affairs professionals will help make the recommendations a reality for students. This is truly systemic change. We at the Dana Center are proud that we had a role in supporting these committed, hard-working educators in creating a better future for their students.

It isn’t quite the same as getting a hug in the receiving line at graduation, but I like to think that because of our work at the Dana Center, many more faculty will be congratulating many more students in the future. That’s impact.

Amy Getz signature
Amy Getz
Manager, Systems Implementation for Higher Education
The Charles A. Dana Center
What We Are Doing

DCMP Expands Impact with “Deep Dive” Work in Four States

The steady nationwide growth of the Dana Center Mathematics Pathways (DCMP) initiative expands to new, extended collaborations with higher education systems and institutions in four states: California, North Carolina, Georgia, and Maine. With the addition of these four major engagements, the DCMP continues to have substantial impact on the development of mathematics pathways in over 30 states since the project began in 2012.

Learn about our new collaborations.


MathPaths Videos Show the Impact of Mathematics on STEM Careers

Have you seen MathPaths yet? Launched last month, our MathPaths videos profile working STEM professionals who detail how mathematics impacts their personal lives and careers. With three MathPaths profiles available now and more due to be released in coming weeks, our featured professionals demonstrate the ways math is used to innovate, plan, measure, and understand solutions to real-world challenges. These videos are perfect to use in the classroom, for student advising, or to help prompt strong inspiration among aspiring mathematicians.

Visit now.


How Our Understanding of “Equity” Makes a Personal Difference in Students’ Lives

Read "Seeing My Teaching Philosophy in a New Light" by Connie Richardson.

Beyond developing and applying expertise in mathematics and pedagogy, beyond adhering to rigid sets of rules and expectations in the name of “fairness,” how can educators most fundamentally impact students’ experiences as learners? Connie Richardson explores these questions in the Dana Center’s blog.

Read about Connie’s “light bulb moment” here.

Explore much more from the Dana Center’s thought leaders on our blog.

What We Are Reading
Calculus Is the Peak of High School Math. Maybe It's Time to Change That

"Any time you have multiple pathways, the advantaged will capitalize on one and that will become the 'real' one... If we are going to create data science pathways, they had better be anchored in things that lead to upward social mobility and have a rigor to them... If we allow [statistics and data] to be the easy or weaker path, we relinquish the commitment to equity we started with." - Dr. Uri Treisman, Charles A. Dana Center Executive Director

Dr. Treisman provides insight in this article, published yesterday in Education Week, exploring the history, strengths, and limitations of Calculus as a high school course. Read the article here.
Multiple Paths Forward: Diversifying Math Pathways as a Strategy for Student Success

A new report from Just Equations highlights the importance of diversifying math pathways in college to improve quantitative literacy and shorten students’ routes to a degree. Read the full report.

The Case Against Lectures

The efficacy of the lecture, as a teaching method, is in doubt. The latest salvo comes from a study published in Science last month. In contrast to lecture-based methods, project-based learning and designed thinking do not just help STEM students “get” the material in time for a good grade on the test; it also helps deepen their appreciation for what they learn. Read the Nautilus article covering the study here.
Spotlight Resources

One of the clearest ways to see the impact of mathematics pathways is by exploring the ways in which different math pathways implementation teams address institutional and systemic challenges. The Dana Center Mathematics Pathways Notes from the Field series presents on-the-ground stories of overcoming these challenges.

Notes from the Field #4 and #5, released today, take a close look at one of the hottest (and most challenging) topics in math pathways implementation: co-requisite courses for developmental math education. These “partner” issues in the series approach the topic from two distinct perspectives: that of a two-year college and that of a four-year university.

Read Notes from the Field #4: “Scaling Co-Requisite Supports at the University of Central Arkansas: Perspective from a Four-Year Higher Education Institution”

Read Notes from the Field #5: “Scaling Co-Requisite Supports at the Tulsa Community College: Perspective from a Two-Year Higher Education Institution”
Save the Date
Essential Mathematics for Nursing

Mathematical competency and effective quantitative reasoning skills are essential for safe nursing practice. However, research on mathematics education in nursing identifies fundamental disconnects between typical educational practices and the mathematical skills required for safe nursing. The Dana Center and the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) are excited to collaborate with the nursing community to explore, implement, and continuously improve best practices for the mathematics education of nursing students. With Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN), we are bringing together the two fields of mathematics and nursing to improve student success and quality practice. Learn more about this important collaboration.

Taking place next week in Bonita Springs, Florida (May 30–June 1), the QSEN International Forum will convene faculty and nursing leaders for the improvement of quality and safety education in the field. This conference marks the launch of the QSEN / Dana Center / MAA task force.

Learn more and register for the QSEN International Forum.

Design Pathways to Empower Students as Math Learners
Do some of your students struggle to make progress toward finishing a degree or certificate? Does the reason boil down to math? Design mathematics pathways that will empower your students as math learners. The Dana Center and Achieving the Dream have collaborated to bring you the Designing Math Pathways workshop (June 11–13) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Join us in Pittsburgh and learn how to boost student success through mathematics pathways.
Welcome Aboard!
We are excited to welcome the newest member of our leadership team to the Dana Center, Lara Zuehlke, our director of marketing and communications. In this role, Lara leads the Center’s marketing and communications strategy and guides day-to-day execution of communications activities. This includes ensuring a cohesive brand identity, elevating the Center’s leadership, and promoting the Center’s K–12 and higher education products, programs, and services.

Lara brings more than 20 years of experience in communications strategy, integrated marketing, editorial production, and digital marketing. Lara has developed content for virtually every type of digital and print channel, and has worked for companies and institutions ranging from Pierpont Communications to The University of Texas at Dallas and the Mays Business School at Texas A&M University.

An award-winning writer and presenter, Lara regularly presents and facilitates workshops in the areas of brand storytelling, content strategy, unblocking creativity, and leading and working with creative teams.

Getting to Know Lara: Three Questions

What’s the strangest / most unusual job you’ve ever had?
I wouldn’t say it’s all that strange but it’s hilarious now given where we’ve come with technology. My job all through college was making copies of handouts and setting up classrooms for Texas A&M’s computer training group. They taught faculty/staff courses like “Browsing the Internet” and “Introduction to Email.”  

Who is your favorite musical artist?
This is a hard one because I like many genres of music. If I have to pick one, I’d say Dolly Parton. I love her voice and love that her flamboyance is equally matched by a business sense. 

What’s your favorite way to spend a free afternoon?
Riding my bicycle and then meeting friends at one of Austin’s great restaurants.
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