Students at North Central Missouri College along with eight other universities and community colleges in Missouri will soon receive expanded options for mathematics courses that are more aligned to their intended majors. A new initiative, led by the Missouri Department of Higher Education in collaboration with the Charles A. Dana Center at The University of Texas at Austin, will support institutions of higher education to scale up their efforts in mathematics pathways.
Through a $1.1 million grant from the philanthropic foundation Carnegie Corporation of New York, participating institutions will support a combined population of more than 45,000 students, representing 20–25 percent of Missouri’s total college and university enrollment. Institutions in the Kansas City region serve African American and Hispanic students at rates above statewide levels.
Mathematics pathways are a rapidly growing national movement in colleges and universities to align math courses more closely to students’ intended majors and future careers. The Dana Center Mathematics Pathways (DCMP) began in 2012 and has conducted extensive work in more than 30 states. A major goal in this approach is to accelerate students’ successful completion of their first college-level math course while maintaining the academic rigor of those curricula, often accomplished through the use of “co-requisite” models of instruction. Earning credit in an entry-level math course is a critical milestone in degree or certificate completion, but national data show that less than 10 percent of students complete a college math course within the first two years of college.
The institutions selected for this initiative are a mixture of public universities (Missouri Western State University, Northwest Missouri State University, University of Central Missouri and University of Missouri–Kansas City); private universities (Avila University and Central Methodist University); and community colleges (Metropolitan Community College, North Central Missouri College and State Fair Community College).
“These colleges and universities, and the Kansas City region as a whole, were selected for this important work in large part because of the extensive and successful efforts already underway in developing math pathways to support Missouri’s diverse student population,” said Dr. Martha Ellis, the Dana Center’s director of higher education strategy, policy, and services. “The mathematics pathways movement is very much focused on eliminating barriers and increasing opportunity for traditionally-underserved students. We are very excited to be working in a state and with organizations that share in this vision for supporting more students for success.”
“We are thrilled to continue our collaborative work with the Dana Center on math pathways, and especially excited to expand our engagement with our P–12 colleagues,” said Dr. Rusty Monhollon, assistant commissioner for academic affairs at the Missouri Department of Higher Education. “This initiative will allow Missouri to continue to improve the effectiveness of postsecondary math education, which is a key component of our larger strategy to increase educational attainment and improve student success statewide, and, most significantly, decrease opportunity gaps for racial, ethnic, and other underserved populations.”