Report of IMPAC Meeting April 30 and May 1, 2004

Mathematics

Prepared by Martin Flashman (IMPAC lead faculty for Mathematics)

 

The primary objective for the statewide meeting sessions  was to come to consensus about recommendations developed from the regional meetings this year:

   Mathematics Course Related Recommendations

   Mathematics Community Improvement Recommendations

   Business Related Recommendations

The final versions of the Mathematics recommendations are contained in the appendix to this report.

                                                                                                                       

Friday, April 30

Some preliminary information and past topics were reviewed initially.

UC dual admission. Much cooperation will be needed for the student to take the first 2 years at the college and transfer to a UC campus. Normally the student will be advised by the university regarding what courses to take at the college.

CSU chairs. The CSU chairs are currently developing a list of courses that will lead to a lower division certification at the CSU’s for Mathematics majors. This is a part of the P.O.L. – Project On Lower division requirements, also referred to as a 45-15 plan..

The morning discussion centered on the Mathematics community recommendations related to communications, especially with regard to ASSIST and the coordination of transfer information at the departments. Eric Taggart, director of the ASSIST project, attended  the morning session.

ASSIST: It was noted that ASSIST is put together by articulation officers. It was generally agreed that the responsibility for making updates and changes to the ASSIST information should be shared between the articulation officers and  the individual departments. Though some university campuses have contact information available on ASSIST, a key issue was what information should be easy to access on the data base page for all university’s and college’s. 

The discussion of ASSIST began with the issue of whether ASSIST would provide a consolidated web page with contact information for all the university mathematics departments. Eric T. said the ASSIST board would probably ask if they should go to all this trouble for one discipline and suggested we involve other disciplines.

There was a comment that it would be great if each school’s Math home page had a direct link to ASSIST.  Every university math department currently has a web page, but only some of  the colleges have web pages for mathematics. One item for the ASSIST mathematics web page would be listing the web pages for all the university math departments. Other information at ASSIST might include university contact phone numbers.

Communication: The discussion on the responsibilities for communication led to a delineation of  separate duties involved and a consensus was reached that there were separate communication tasks to be performed perhaps by different individuals: management of information on ASSIST and the department web pages, communication about articulation agreements, and student advising. An additional suggestion was made that each university have a “structure” in place to perform these duties.

University Web Pages: After lunch the discussion focused on the university web page recommendation.   Some comments included: 

                   Maintaining and updating the web page is difficult. 

·        Who will be responsible? 

·        Clear language and legal concerns can make the content presentation problematic.

·        The web page should discuss issues such as how transfer courses are treated for content vs. graduation unit credits.

·        If the information is available on the web then the student would know how their lower division course would be treated at the transfer institution, thus relieving some anxiety. 

·        The goal would be to clarify on the department web page as many common questions as possible.

·        Providing information on course outlines and sample final exams was already a practice at some universities. The issue of misinterpreting this information was seen as a reason to keep the examinations to more private communications. 

The intersegmental mathematics community: After a break the discussion turned to the Organizational Recommendations for improving the intersegmental mathematics community. These recommendations would extend one of the primary purposes of IMPAC in bringing together teachers from the three areas:  CSU, UC and Community Colleges to talk about common problems and improve transfer. Some examples included in the discussion were:

·              The State of Jefferson Mathematics Congress in northern California where for more than 20 years mathematicians have camped out on a weekend with colleagues from several of the Universities and colleges to discuss mathematics

·        Transfer days held at universities and some colleges for prospective transfer students. These don’t help communication between university and college mathematics faculty.

·        University faculty attendance at CMC3 or CMC3 South Conferences.

·        Other current activities and suggestions:

 

·        Integration Bee’s.

·        Problem of the week.

·        College math club guest speakers.

·        Bakersfield Math Council- from K-12 through Cal State Bakersfield.

The key to this recommendation is the creation of informal or formal inter-segmental mathematics councils to organize these types of events locally.  Small groups of  the session participants started to develop ideas about how to proceed based on local areas.

 

    State of Jefferson – Northern California

       Organize a mathematics fair in Redding at Shasta CC

       3 speakers( math research, application of math at junior-senior level, panel of students and faculty to discuss the difference between lower and upper division     

       day of activities

       have advisors available

       sponsor lunch 

                     LA region: The contact person at each school will be the math club president. They plan to organize a BBQ and picnic social to get everyone together and meet and discuss future agenda at Eldorado Park.

                     Central Valley region: Bakersfield, Cuesta and Fresno were the only reps available.  They weren’t sure where to meet and were trying to determine which schools constituted their region.

                     San Diego region:  It was noted there already was a north county organization and we might be able to take advantage of that.  NCHEA (North County Higher Education Association) this may mean that the San Diego region will subdivide into a southern and northern region.

                     Bay Area region: David Meredith, from San Francisco State, may play a big organizational role [This was not verified]. The Bay area already sponsors the Bay area Math Olympics and Bad Math days.

                     Inland Empire region:  The reps available were Cal Poly, Riverside CC, College of the Desert, San Bernardino State, and Chaffey

         Bob Stafford, a retired San Bernardino Valley and adjunct San Bernardino State instructor, took charge and suggested a meeting at San Bernardino Valley College which is centrally located for our area.

 

Saturday Morning, May 1:

The Joint Business Math Session.

At the joint Business Mathematics session there was lengthy and heated discussion of proposals by business participants for new CAN descriptions for a hybrid (calculus-finite) business math course and a statistics course. The main thrust of the discussion was on the practicality of teaching the proposed list of topics within the specified number of units.  No final recommendation was made though the developing hybrid proposal was much closer to the current Business Calculus course in content.

 

Continuation of the Mathematics Session:

Course Descriptions: The group decided on recommending a revised CAN descriptor for the Linear Algebra course. The lower division bridge course was discussed next. There were several alternatives for this recommendation.

 

Bridge Course Recommendations.

Under the recommendation for college cross registering for the bridge course, Berkeley noted that they traditionally offer this course each summer term and so does Fullerton. Teaching the bridge course on line may be a possibility. Several related issues arose, such as:

 

         How would you grade this course on-line?

         Clarification of distance learning. This would be  a hybrid course, not entirely on line.

         Videos should be available as a part of the distance learning.

         What about the value of a shared student community?

         This course can require a huge amount of “contact time”.

 

Another approach to better prepared student: If most other course work is completed then the student may be able to transfer early to take a requires course not available at the college.

There was some interest in trying to put a NFS grant together as in one of the recommendations.

The group approved several of the alternatives and voted to recommend CANNING the bridge course though did not agree on specific language.

      

Possible agenda items suggested for next year.

          Service courses for education.

         CAN.

         IMPAC should assist with work on a formal process to CAN courses.

          IMPAC may want to develop a process involving more systematic state wide review with greater involvement from the UC’s.

         There are a many CANNED math classes. This curriculum should probably be reviewed and brought up to date.

         Dual Admissions- The UC is currently revising its scheme arranging for students to plan to attend UC while starting at a community college.

         The CSU’s POL (45-15) plans as they develop.

 


APPENDIX


 

Mathematics Recommendations from the Statewide IMPAC Meeting

 

There were two main areas for recommendations at this meeting. Each of these areas and many of these suggestions had been explored at one or more of the regional IMPAC meetings this year.

 

I. Course Related Recommendations. These relate to the nature of and CAN description of the lower division Linear Algebra Course and the development of a description and proposals for a variety ways to provide a "bridge" course, i.e., a transitional course for Mathematics majors.

II. Improving communications within the Mathematics Community regionally and/or statewide for mathematics transfer students.

 

The following recommendations were accepted by consensus among the participants at the mathematics sessions of the statewide IMPAC meetings April 30 and May 1, 2004.

I.  Course Related Recommendations.

A. Linear Algebra:

Recomendation 1. The lower division linear algebra course should include in its presentation some structural aspects of linear algebra. These include, but are not limited to, the statement of axioms and structural definitions for real vector spaces, linear transformations, and linear operators. Use of these structures should be demonstrated with some proofs- though only a reading level of literacy is supposed.  Limited writing literacy may be required in verifying structural properties with examples and applying structural results in specific contexts.

Recommendation 2. The CAN description for Linear Algebra should be modified to reflect a limited treatment of the structural aspects of linear algebra.

Current:

         CAN:          MATH 26

         Title:         Linear Algebra

         Description:  Matrices and linear transformations; vector spaces;

         determinants; eigenvalues and eigenvectors.

         Prerequisite: CAN MATH 17/18. 3 semester units or 4 quarter units.

Recommended modification:

         CAN:          MATH 26

         Title:         Linear Algebra

         Description: An introduction to computation and algebraic structures for real vector spaces, matrices and linear transformations; determinants; eigenvalues and eigenvectors.

         Prerequisite: CAN MATH 17/18. 3 semester units or 4 quarter units.

 

 

B. Lower Division Bridge or Transition Courses

Preface. Many CSU and UC Mathematics programs have a lower division required course that provides a transition from the computational and algorithmic nature of lower division courses such as calculus to the more structural and proof oriented organization of upper division mathematics courses. [Currently 9 CSU and 3 UC campuses have a proof class as either recommended or required in the lower division.]

Other programs make this kind of course a initial part of upper division course work or have no such course. These courses are generally viewed as beneficial for many reasons and are discussed in the IMPAC mathematics recommendations memoranda recently distributed across the state. The problem is how to make this kind of course available to the college students when most colleges will not offer this kind of course because of projected low enrollments.

 

There are a variety of issues here both with regard to improving instruction for developing college math majors and satisfying requirements at various CSU’s and UC’s.

Since practically no college currently offers such a course, these recommendations are not mutually exclusive and are presented primarily for students planning to attend a university that requires a lower division bridge course.

 

Recommendation 1. When possible the student should be encouraged to cross-register in a bridge course at a local university. This course would be articulated amongst the various universities that have these courses as lower division requirements.

 

 

Recommendation 2. Universities that offer these bridge courses should coordinate their summer course offerings. This will create opportunities for many transferring students to enroll in a bridge course during the summer prior to beginning university studies. Universities should explore offering these courses in a distance learning model using video and online resources.

 

Recommendation 3.  A consortium of colleges and universities should organize a special summer program (funded by the NSF, a state agency, or some private philanthropy) that would provide the kind of experience in working with proofs found in these bridge courses along with beginning work in mathematical research. This program should provide  a stipend for the students and recruit students from the California Colleges specifically to help develop their mathematical maturity.  

 

Recommendation 4. A new CAN Number and descriptor should be developed for this bridge course. The value of this would be in making the transfer of these courses taken at any of the CSU’s by college students equally acceptable for articulation as appropriate across the CSU campuses.

 

II. Improving communications within the Mathematics Community

At the regional meetings a variety of issues were discussed related to improving the communication and sense of community between the segments. Better communication could provide information about transfer courses, the nature of mathematical studies in upper division courses, and key people to contact and places to obtain information with regard to the specifics of transfer. 

Some progress was made this year with the final dissemination of the letters (composed at IMPAC’s  2002 statewide meeting) to students, advisors and counselors  recommending course work for a student prior to transfer.  Related to these letters are efforts at both  CSU and UC Mathematics Departments to provide more specific directions for pre-transfer mathematics coursework.

The recommendations are divided into two categories:

A. University and College Recommendations and B. Organizational Recommendations.

 


 

A. University and College Recommendations.

Recommendation 1 Each University department should designate one or more faculty  or advising staff members as transfer advisor(s). The advisor(s) will be responsible for matters related to transferring students –such as transfer course approval and program planning .

 

Recommendation 2 Each College department should develop a structure (using resources such as MESA, matriculation funds, and other grants) to assist students planning to transfer.

 

Recommendation 3. Each University department should designate one or more faculty members responsible for articulation agreements . University departments should keep recognized feeder colleges informed on relevant changes to requirements and courses.

 

 

Recommendation 4. Each University department should maintain a web page to advise prospective transfer students on relevant requirements and advice for transferring as a mathematics major. This page should be linked clearly from the department home page and should address at least the main issues from the IMPAC letters of advice for transfers while indicating how to obtain details on articulation agreements through ASSIST or otherwise. It should give the name and other relevant information of the department’s designated transfer advisor(s).

 

Recommendation 5. Each College and University department should work with their campus articulation officer to maintain current articulation and contact information with ASSIST.

 

Recommendation 6. When possible University departments will provide information through the web describing required courses for the major including course outlines

 

 

 

B. Organizational Recommendations

Recommendation 1. A web page should be developed containing information and links for all university mathematics departments. The information on this web page will be maintained as current by each department  in cooperation with the campus articulation officer. This web page will be developed in cooperation with ASSIST and placed in an easily found location on the ASSIST web site and possibly mirrored elsewhere at the CSU and UC system transfer information web sites. The web page will include the following information for each University Campus :

A Contact Person / Advisor with E-mail Address and Phone.
A link to the Mathematics Department Web Page and a Recommended Phone Contact Number.
A link to Any Mathematics Department Transfer Information Web Page

 

Recommendation 2.  Regional cooperation should be developed between individual campuses and where possible by the formation of intersegmental mathematics councils. These councils would meet at least once annually to develop programs and disseminate information. [These might initially meet during IMPAC meetings, but eventually would be independent of IMPAC.]  Some areas for possible cooperation include:


 

     College Math club guest speakers from the university.

     College faculty taking courses or participating in university seminars. Sabbatical leave positions being fostered for College faculty at Universities.

     Math contests at the university that the local college students are invited to enter.

     Math Transfer Day:  Math departments at the university campuses could sponsor jointly a regional math transfer day where advising would be available and faculty from feeder colleges and students could come together to participate in joint mathematical activities: poster sessions/ lectures/ demonstrations- a REGIONAL MATH EXPO.

     Presentations at CMC3 and CMC3S Professional Meetings related to University major  curriculum developments.