About Math Pathways
Student struggles in mathematics are common to any university, yet when it comes to finding a solution to the problem, universities often operate independently. The University of North Carolina System’s Math Pathways project originated with a desire to take a broad, thoughtful look at how students were moving through their mathematics courses of study. Rather than reflecting locally, at the institution level, a larger scale assessment of common issues and common solutions drives the collaborative effort between the 17 UNC System member institutions. The statewide effort leverages the expertise of our System’s faculty, staff, and administrators to tackle the various issues that may inhibit student success in mathematics, which ultimately impacts student success in college.
At its core, the Math Pathways project is an effort to remove roadblocks, share information, and support System institutions and support their students.
Since the Fall of 2017, the UNC System Math Pathways Task Force has regularly met, working to identify the core areas of focus, develop recommendations that each university can implement, and engage and support universities that are working to begin a Math Pathways implementation. The variety of institutions, histories, and objectives provides the System with a wide range of needs for students. The Task Force is working diligently to provide support and identify actionable recommendations while preserving each institution’s ability to address the needs of its individual students.
Tamar Avineri, NC School of Science and Mathematics
Tracey Howell, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Thomas C. Redd, North Carolina A&T State University
UNC System Math Pathways Task Force Co-Chairs
The charge statement of the University of North Carolina System Math Pathways Task Force, adopted in April 2018, was to develop recommendations and processes that support the efforts of each UNC System institution to implement and scale mathematics pathways that yield increased student success and learning in gateway mathematics and statistics courses. In addition to the charge elements, a concerted effort was made by the Task Force to identify successful curricular and pedagogical strategies and models across the UNC System institutions and to disseminate those strategies and models to enhance student success and learning throughout the System.
The Task Force recommends that each institution develop campus-specific groups of disciplinary majors (i.e., degree clusters) and create visual representations highlighting each of the following:
- available majors and degree options that can be obtained via each pathway
- the math pathway required for each of those groups of disciplinary majors
The Task Force recommends that, using disaggregated mathematics course data, individual institutions regularly review their student support programs and adjust as needed.
As institutions develop or refine their mathematics pathways and student support models, the Task Force recommends that each institution critically examine student learning outcomes, mathematics course content, and sequencing of courses to ensure that students’ mathematical experience is relevant and appropriate for their individual programs of study.
The Task Force recommends designing and implementing System-wide mechanisms for identifying and disseminating impactful, promising practices on the teaching, content, and delivery of lower-level undergraduate mathematics courses, including strategies for reducing disparities in student learning for diverse student groups, and on the training of faculty and graduate students to teach those courses.
The Task Force recommends that each institution critically reviews and appropriately updates advising programs (e.g., structure, policies, and processes) to ensure effective advising of students into the appropriate mathematics pathway based on students’ academic and career goals. Advising programs that have proven effective can serve as models to other institutions.
The Task Force recommends that each institution evaluate its current placement practices to determine effectiveness in initial math course placement. Each institution may consider different, and perhaps multiple, measures for each of its college-level mathematics courses, based on those measures deemed appropriate.
The Task Force recommends strengthening partnerships among educational institutions in order to: analyze data that can affect seamless movement at each transition point (e.g., high school to college; community college to university), share best practices for teaching and learning, increase availability and diversity of academic supports, and increase opportunities for 9th-12th graders to engage with academic and professional communities.
The Task Force recommends that deliberate collaboration and communication be established to ensure more seamless and effective student transfer and course applicability between and among UNC System and NCCCS institutions.
In support of data collection and all recommendations in this report, we recommend that the UNC System Office add mechanisms by which to identify all gateway and entry-level mathematics and statistics courses in Student Data Mart and use it regularly to analyze and provide outcomes-based information to UNC System universities.
Timeline: Fall 2017 – Academic Year 2020
UNC System Math Pathways Task Force Roster
- Tamar Avineri, Math Faculty, North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics*+ (Curriculum, Pedagogy, Faculty Engagement)
- Yufang Bao, Math Professor, Fayetteville State University
- Daniel Best, Math Faculty, Western Carolina University
- Banita Brown, Assoc. Dean, University of North Carolina at Charlotte***(Communication)
- Beth Bumgardner, Math Faculty, University of North Carolina at Charlotte**
- Jo-Ann Cohen, Math Professor, North Carolina State University
- Elizabeth Creath, Math Faculty, University of North Carolina at Wilmington***(Summit)
- Alina Duca, Assoc. Professor Math, North Carolina State University
- Peter Eley, Interim Chair and Professor, Math Education, Fayetteville State University
- Katie Floyd, Math Faculty, University of North Carolina at Pembroke
- Richard Gay, Assoc. Dean, University of North Carolina at Pembroke
- Taylor Gibson, Math Dean, North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics
- Mark Ginn, Vice Provost, Appalachian State University***(Defining the problem)
- Linda Green, Assoc. Professor Math, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- Johannes Hattingh, Math Chair, East Carolina University
- Ellen Hilgoe, Assoc. Director NC EMPT, East Carolina University + (Placement)
- Tracey Howell, Math Faculty, University of North Carolina at Greensboro*
- Frank Ingram, Assoc. Dean, Winston Salem State University
- Kenneth L. Jones, Math Chair, Elizabeth City State University
- Mohammad Kazemi, Assoc. Math Chair, University of North Carolina at Charlotte *
- Jeff Lawson, Professor and Math Department Head, Western Carolina University
- Eric Marland, Professor and Math Department Chair, Appalachian State University
- Katie Mawhinney, Math Professor, Appalachian State University + (K-14)
- Valentin Milanov, Assoc. Prof, Fayetteville State
- Radoslav Nickolav, Math Chair, Fayetteville State + (Advising)
- Thomas C. Redd, Assoc. Chair, North Carolina A&T State University*
- Viji Sathy, Assoc Professor Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- Dipendra Sengupta, Math Professor, Elizabeth City State University
- John Smail, Associate Provost, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
- James Smiling, Math Faculty, University of North Carolina at Pembroke
- April Talbert, Instructor and Director, Math Department, East Carolina University
- Guoqing Tang, Math Chair, North Carolina A&T State University
- Dan Teague, Math Faculty, North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics
- Matt TenHuisen, Prof/Assoc. Dir CTE, University of North Carolina at Wilmington
- Richard Townsend, Math Faculty, Gen Ed Chair, North Carolina Center University
- Dong Wang, Math Professor, Fayetteville State University
- Coral Wayland, Assoc. Dean, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
- Tracy Foote White, Assist Math Prof, Winston Salem State University + (Design)
- Cathy Whitlock, Math Faculty, University of North Carolina at Asheville
- Dan Yasaki, Assoc. Math Professor, University of North Carolina at Greensboro + (Student Support)
North Carolina Community College System Office
- Rinav Mehta, Math Chair, Central Piedmont Community College + (Transfer)
UNC System Office
- Laura Bilbro-Berry, Director, Academic Affairs (joined 2019)
- Eric Fotheringham, Director, Academic Affairs
- Michelle Solér, Director, Academic Affairs ++
- Shun Robertson, Assistant Vice President, Strategy and Policy
UNC System Math Pathways Advising Council
- Melinda Anderson, Associate Provost, Elizabeth City State University ***
- Richard Gamble, Advisor, Western Carolina University***
Charles T. Dana Center at the University of Texas at Austin
- Heather Ortiz, State Implementation Specialist
- Paula Talley, Professional Learning Manager
- Carl Krueger, Senior Policy Analyst (Transfer)
Past members, UNC System Math Pathways Task Force
- Phil Cauley, Assistant Vice Provost, Western Carolina University
- Till Dohse, Math Professor, University of North Carolina at Asheville
- Susan Hanby, Lecturer, University of North Carolina at Pembroke
- Jonathan Loss, Assistant Dean, Math Faculty, Catawba Valley Community College + (Transfer)
- Trina Palmer, Math Professor, Appalachian State University
- Elizabeth Reilley, Director, Strategy and Policy, UNC System Office
* Current and past co-chairs
** Assistant chair
*** Working group chair
+ Subcommittee chair
++ UNC System Office Lead