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Stats Prof. Co-Edits Handbook for Math Support Centers

Michael Schuckers, Rutherford professor of mathematics and professor of statistics and director for the Peterson Quantitative Resource Center, recently co-edited a handbook with colleagues at Bates and Hamilton colleges on directing a quantitative and mathematics support center (QMaSC).

QMaSCs exist in some form at many U.S. colleges and universities and are pivotal for student retention for majors within the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) pipeline, such as physics, mathematics and engineering. QMaSCs can also support courses with quantitative content within the core curriculum outside of the STEM field. For example, many colleges and universities administer quantitative literacy and quantitative reasoning programs aimed at assessing and building the quantitative skills of all of their students. Traditional support uses tutoring, review sessions and workshops.

The handbook, which has already been downloaded over 1,000 times, is intended to be a resource for directors and staff of quantitative and mathematics support centers, whether they are heading an existing program, starting a program, or updating a program. Directors and administrators who wish to establish support centers that represent the mission of their institutions will find examples of successful practices, including planning an inviting space, hiring staff and tutors, managing budgets, working with the campus community, incorporating technology, developing assessment practices, and coordinating with stakeholders. 

Each chapter has been written by an experienced center director and includes ten case studies written by the directors, representing a range of centers from community colleges to liberal arts colleges to large research institutions. The material is based upon work supported, in part, by the National Science Foundation and a national workshop Schuckers co-hosted in 2013 on how to sustain mathematics support centers at institutions of higher education. Chapters are freely available online at http://scholarcommons.usf.edu/qmasc_handbook.

The Peterson Quantitative Resource Center at St. Lawrence University has had more than 2,100 student visits during the Fall 2016 semester. Between 20 and 25 percent of the St. Lawrence student body visits the PQRC each semester.

For more information, visit St. Lawrence’s Department of Mathematics, Computer Science and Statistics.