Envisioning a Quantitative Studies Center: A Liberal Arts Perspective
Astronomy (Pomona), Computer Science (Pomona), Geology (Pomona), Mathematics (Pomona), Physics (Pomona)
quantitative studies center, liberal arts, quantitative skills, academic support, peer mentoring, tutoring
Several academic institutions are searching for ways to help students develop their quantitative reasoning abilities and become more adept at higher-level tasks that involve quantitative skills. In this note we study the particular way Pomona College has framed this issue within its own context and what it plans to do about it. To this end we describe our efforts as members of a campus-wide committee that was assigned the duty of investigating the feasibility of founding a quantitative studies center on our campus. These efforts involved analysis of data collected through a faculty questionnaire, discipline-specific input obtained from each departmental representative, and a survey of what some of our peer institutions are doing to tackle these issues. In our studies, we identified three critical needs where quantitative support would be most useful in our case: tutoring and mentoring for entry-level courses; support for various specialized and analytic software tools for upper-level courses; and a uniform basic training for student tutors and mentors. We surmise that our challenges can be mitigated effectively via the formation of a well-focused and -planned quantitative studies center. We believe our process, findings and final proposal will be helpful to others who are looking to resolve similar issues on their own campuses.
© 2010 Gizem Karaali, Philip I. Choi, Sara Owsley Sood, and Eric B. Grosfils
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Karaali, G., Choi, P. I., Owsley Sood, S., and Grosfils. E. B., Envisioning a Quantitative Studies Center: A Liberal Arts Perspective, Numeracy (journal of the National Numeracy Network), Volume 3, Issue 1 (2010), Article 4. doi: 10.5038/1936-4622.214.171.124