summitp16SDSU has been awarded $286,060.00 over 5 years as part of a $2.6 million National Science Foundation grant to fund the project Collaborative Research: A National Consortium for Synergistic Undergraduate Mathematics via Multi-institutional Interdisciplinary Teaching Partnerships (SUMMIT-P) led by Dr. Susan Ganter at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Eleven colleges and universities, including SDSU, will form a consortium to renew the lower division undergraduate mathematics curriculum based on research about the needs of partner disciplines. The project studies the role of interdisciplinary and inter-institutional faculty learning communities in building collaborations for meaningful curricular change. At each institution, mathematics and partner discipline faculty will collaborate to understand recommendations from the (prior) Curriculum Foundations (CF) project, determine how these recommendations can be used to effectively improve the content of affected courses, introduce modifications in pilot sections, work with a central evaluation team to measure the effectiveness of new approaches especially as pertains to students from underrepresented groups, offer workshops and support for instructors using these new curricula (locally, regionally, and nationally), and scale-up these new offerings within the consortium and through dissemination to additional campuses.

The Curricular Foundations recommendations rest on two pillars: contextualizing problem solving and active learning, both of which align with initiatives that SDSU’s Dept of Mathematics and Statistics has  initiated to reform the Pre-Calculus and Calculus curricula. The SDSU team, headed by Dr. Janet Bowers, will work with Dr. Joe Mahaffy from the Dept. of Mathematics and Statistics to develop applications from biology and Drs. Usha Sinha and  Matt Anderson in the Dept of physics to integrate some applications from physics into the Pre-Calculus curricula. They will increase the relevance and frequency of applications in the course; adapt and develop materials to make the modeling labs richer and examine the ordering of topics to better mesh with the timing needed by the partner disciplines. The team will also visit the other participating campuses to investigate innovations such as integrative co-classes, summer workshops, and learning communities that have successfully supported students from underrepresented groups in STEM. All of these efforts have the expressed goals of bolstering the transition from Pre-Calculus to Calculus and relieving the bottlenecks in the STEM pipeline.