Lee News

NSF Awards Grant to Lee

 

NSF Grant Team
Pictured (left to right) is the SUMMIT-P team Dr. John Hearn, Dr. Caroline Maher-Boulis, Dr. Bryan Poole, and Dr. Jason Robinson.


Lee University has been awarded $155,000 over five years as part of a $2.6 million National Science Foundation grant for a collaborative project in mathematics involving 11 higher education institutions across the country.

The project, Collaborative Research: A National Consortium for Synergistic Undergraduate Mathematics via Multi-Institutional Interdisciplinary Teaching Partnerships (SUMMIT-P), is led by Dr. Susan Ganter at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Lee will work alongside the other colleges and universities to renew the lower division undergraduate mathematics curriculum based on research about the needs of partner disciplines.

“It’s very exciting to add another NSF Grant to support curricular innovation, particularly in the STEM and Teacher Education areas,” said Dr. Debbie Murray, vice president for Academic Affairs at Lee. “This grant will not only encourage more collaboration among Lee faculty in various departments, but it will also provide rich opportunities for us to work with faculties from other institutions to ensure that our mathematics curriculum maintains relevance for students in all areas of study.”

SUMMIT-P studies the role of inter-disciplinary and inter-institutional faculty learning communities in building collaborations for meaningful curricular change. The goal is to enrich the content of the math courses in order to make it more meaningful to students in their chosen specialties.

These improvements include modifications in pilot sections; work with a central evaluation team to measure the effectiveness of new approaches, especially as it pertains to students from underrepresented groups; offer workshops and support for instructors using the new curriculum (locally, regionally, and nationally); and scale-up the new offerings within the association and through distribution to additional campuses.

The main focus of the enhancements center on contextualizing problem solving and active learning, both of which align with Lee’s curriculum and commitment to student learning.

https://www.nsf.gov/Dr. Jeneva Clark, formerly of Lee, initiated the collaborative relationship with Ganter. Lee associate professor of mathematics Dr. Caroline Maher-Boulis now leads the Lee team, which includes Dr. Bryan Poole, assistant professor of psychology; Dr. John Hearn, assistant professor of chemistry; and Dr. Jason Robinson, assistant professor of education.

According to Maher-Boulis, the interdisciplinary collaborative consortium’s work is based on research done by the Curriculum Renewal Across the First Two Years (CRAFTY) subcommittee of the Mathematics Association of America. The Curriculum Foundations Project, ran by CRAFTY, gathered information about the needs of partner disciplines in the mathematical courses offered in the first two years of college.

“The outcome of the SUMMIT-P project will be experienced faculty learning communities at Lee and among the consortium,” said Maher-Boulis. “Our courses will also be informed in a new way through this project as well. We are all very excited to be part of SUMMIT-P.”

Lee University’s goal is to expand upon two college algebra courses, one for teacher education majors and the other for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) majors, and lead a student exchange program for mathematics and social sciences majors.

“The final result will be a more applicable course offering and increased learning environment,” said Maher-Boulis.

For more information, visit National Science Foundation.

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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1625142. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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