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Teaching & Learning Standards

The mission of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Bowling Green State University is three-fold:

  • to sustain a curriculum and programs that meet the intellectual and vocational needs of our students,
  • to foster a sound teaching environment, and
  • to provide a setting for professional research in mathematics and in statistics.

To accomplish the teaching and learning aspects of its mission, the Department has set seven goals that, ideally, every student will meet at an appropriate level. These are lofty goals or standards that all faculty will help all students meet. We believe that much will be gained by aspiring to meet these standards:

  1. Each student will become proficient at using the language of mathematics and statistics.
  2. Each student will understand what mathematics and statistics are, how they are done, and how they relate to other disciplines.
  3. Each student will be able to objectively and critically evaluate information and assess performance using mathematical ideas.
  4. Each student will develop an appreciation for the beauty, utility, and impact of mathematics and statistics.
  5. Each student will learn mathematical problem solving techniques and become adept at applying them in novel situations.
  6. Each student will learn to use the appropriate technology to successfully attack a wide variety of mathematical tasks.
  7. Each student will understand the basic ideas, techniques, and results of the areas of mathematics and statistics studied.

Further explanation of each goal:

1. Communication Skills

Each student will become proficient at using the language of mathematics and statistics.

There are two distinct roles to communication: (1) sharing information in oral and written form and (2) receiving information by list pages, etc.). In short, every student must be able to read, write, listen and speak effectively about mathematics and statistics.

2. The Nature of Mathematics

Each student will understand what mathematics and statistics are, how they are done, and how they relate to other disciplines.

To delineate what mathematics is is a question that has perplexed philosophers for centuries, but is a question worth thinking hard about. The field has a distinct nature that students should try to understand. Mathematics pages, etc.). In short, every student must be able to read, write, listen and speak effectively about mathematics and statistics.

3. Valuation of Ideas

Each student will be able to objectively and critically evaluate information and assess performance using mathematical ideas.

A great benefit of mathematics and statistics is that they enable us to understand the world around us. Anyone who has studied mathematics and statistics must realize that information is not all of equal value. What one hears and reads must be analyzed critically, evaluated carefully and judged competently, regardless of whether its source was an acquaintance, a newspaper article, a textbook, a professor, or even something you wrote yourself. On some issues -- but not all -- there is a standard of absolute truth and we must learn to recognize when it can occur and when it does occur.

4. Aesthetic Response

Each student will develop an appreciation for the beauty, utility, and impact of mathematics and statistics.

Society has consistently expected the well-educated individual to have a degree of aesthetic understanding and sensitivity. Professional mathematicians are attracted to the field primarily by its beauty and aesthetic appeal. Students need to understand that mathematics and statistics is often done for its own sake. Moreover it is important to understand that mathematics and statistics have had a significant impact on our society and how mathematics and statistics reflect and effect cultural, political, and human issues. Students should be aware of mathematics and statistics as a human endeavor with a rich and complex history that have done much to benefit mankind.

5. Problem Solving

Each student will learn mathematical problem solving techniques and become adept at applying them in novel situations.

The heart of the mathematical sciences is problems. Posing problems, attacking problems, solving problems -- all of these are crucial. Fortunately there are general guidelines that can be taught and learned about problem solving. It takes practice to master them, but once mastered they apply to many situations, including those outside the mathematical sciences. This skill makes individuals educated in the mathematics and statistics incredibly valuable in business, government and teaching -- as well as good citizens.

6. Technology

Each student will learn to use the appropriate technology to successfully attack a wide variety of mathematical tasks.

No task can be accomplished without using the proper tools. In mathematics and statistics there are a great number of tools which the successful practitioner must be able to use effectively. One must learn to use the available tools, be open to the use of new tools, and know when to use which tool. The entering undergraduate major should quickly learn to use the graphic calculator, a word processor, email, and a computer algebra system. The upper-level undergraduate should be proficient at the use of the library (including computer searches), the internet, mathematical manipulatives, the overhead, and an ever expanding variety of software packages and languages (Logo, Geometer's Sketchpad, spreadsheets, statistical packages, etc.). The graduate student should, in addition, be able to create web pages and to use TeX.

7. Content

Each student will understand the basic ideas, techniques, and results of the areas of mathematics and statistics studied.

November 15, 1995