Department of Mathematical Sciences Mission Statement & Philosophy
The department supports the university’s mission by empowering students to:
- Develop critical thinking and problem solving skills, content knowledge, and the ability to communicate ideas effectively;
- Understand the connections within mathematics, as well as applications of mathematics and statistics to other disciplines; also, to develop connections to professional communities;
- Appreciate the creative nature of mathematics, statistics, and teaching, and have the opportunity to participate in the discovery of new results, novel approaches to problems, or innovative ways to engage students in the learning of mathematics and statistics;
- Cultivate academic responsibility and good standards of professional practice.
The primary goal of the Department of Mathematical Sciences is to provide effective instruction to Fredonia students. In so doing the department is guided by curricular and pedagogical recommendations made by relevant professional societies, particularly the Mathematical Association of America and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
Students take courses offered by the department for a variety of reasons, and the department constantly seeks to better understand the background, strengths, challenges, academic goals, and career aspirations of all its students. Nevertheless, every course offered by the department will strive to:
- develop mathematical thinking and communication skills; and
- communicate the breadth and interconnections of the mathematical sciences.
In addition, courses taken primarily to satisfy general education requirements are designed to
- engage students in a meaningful and positive intellectual experience;
- sharpen abilities in quantitative and logical reasoning needed for informed citizenship and productive employment; and
- encourage students to take additional coursework in the mathematical sciences.
Cognate courses for students majoring in partner disciplines will meet the needs of those disciplines and advance the students’ ability to:
- create, analyze, and interpret relevant mathematical models; and
- make sound arguments based on mathematical reasoning and careful data analysis.
Programs and courses for pre-service and in-service teachers, including graduate students, will help them develop:
- a deep understanding, appropriate to the level of certification, of numbers and operations, algebra and functions, geometry and measurement, and statistics and probability;
- knowledge of a broad range of explanations and examples, with facility for separating and reconnecting the component parts of concepts and methods; and
- the disposition, confidence, and motivation to pursue career-long mathematical growth.
Finally, programs and courses primarily for our majors aim to help students:
- progress from a procedural/computational understanding of mathematics to a broad understanding encompassing logical reasoning, generalization, abstraction, and formal proof; and
- gain experience in the careful analysis of examples and data, making appropriate use of graphing calculators, computer algebra systems, visualization software, and statistical packages.
Overall, the department’s goal is for students to view mathematics as an engaging field of inquiry, rich in beauty, with powerful applications, and as a discipline with an intriguing history, vibrant present, and promising future.
To achieve such a vision, it is necessary that the department:
- Make a commitment to excellence in teaching
Each faculty member will provide effective instruction. This requires knowledge of the subject, preparation, organization, and availability both in and out of the classroom. Formal and informal advisement of students will be performed with care. Faculty, both individually and as a group, will engage in regular self-assessment and seek to improve their teaching and advising through discussions with peers, attendance at workshops and conferences, and by keeping abreast of the relevant literature.
- Create a supportive and intellectually stimulating environment
Faculty will engage in scholarly activity, and will seek to involve students in their work whenever possible. The department will provide students with mathematical challenges above and beyond normal coursework - for example, in problem-solving sessions and the Honors Program. The physical environment in which students and faculty learn and teach, particularly the Fishbowl, will be maintained and enhanced with the necessary materials and amenities. Student membership in organizations such as Chi Tau Omega (Math Club) will be encouraged, and the department will provide students with opportunities to attend conferences, make presentations, hear invited outside speakers, and interact socially with the faculty and each other. The department believes that its intellectual climate is enhanced by the presence of students and faculty from diverse backgrounds, and will promote an atmosphere of support and respect.
- Design innovative courses and programs
The department will collaborate with faculty from other departments to insure that general education and required cognate courses in mathematics and statistics meet student needs. Given our especially proud tradition in the education of teachers, we will work with our partners in the Professional Education Unit to design effective courses and programs for pre-service and in-service teachers. Most importantly, through regular program assessment, keeping abreast of innovative practices at other universities, and participation in relevant professional organizations, the department will maintain and seek to enhance the national reputation it enjoys for the quality of its programs, as well as for the recognition it has received for success in attracting majors.
- Perform outreach
The department will be proactive in educating the campus and the larger community about the nature and beauty of mathematics, and importance of mathematics and mathematics education.
- Recruit and retain the best personnel; develop and improve facilities
The department will make every effort to recruit and retain the best faculty and students and provide them with high quality classrooms, offices, technology and other material support to facilitate their work.
- Strengthen ties with alumni
The department will cultivate an ongoing relationship with its former students, and elicit their support and assistance. Alumni can be invaluable as guest speakers, as "ambassadors" for the program, and by providing or helping to locate internships and other career opportunities for students. They are also a critical component of the department’s assessment system.