Week 2 Seminar Reading and Writing Prompts

Last week’s seminar reading invited us to consider one man’s articulation of what it means to be broadly educated in the liberal arts tradition. This week’s reading provides an opportunity to learn how a large and established professional community thinks about education in a particular discipline and its connections to other areas.

The Mathematical Association of America (MAA) has a Committee on Undergraduate Preparation in Mathematics (CUPM). In 2015, CUPM published a Curriculum Guide to Majors in the Mathematical Sciences after many years of research, discussion, consultation, and writing. You can access this guide by clicking here.

The Guide is very long. We are asking you to read very selected portions:

    • Overview of Majors in the Mathematical Sciences. Please focus on the Cognitive Goals and the Content Goals. We’ll provide a printed version in class on Monday.
    • Mathematics as a Liberal Art. We’ll provide a printed version in class on Monday.
    • Optional, strongly encouraged:
      • Choose two of the Program Reports (scroll down the linked page to find them). Given the students in the program, we guess that Physics and Mathematics, Chemistry and Mathematics, and the two Teachers reports will be of most interest, but every student chose the program for their own unique reasons, and we invite you to choose the two Reports that seem most interesting to you. We’ll provide you an opportunity on Monday to print out your chosen Reports, so try to decide in advance.

Below are some writing prompts that we hope will help you engage with the text and prepare for Wednesday’s Seminar.

  • Please type up responses to the questions below (short responses are fine, but take the space you need).
  • Bring a printed copy of your responses to Seminar. You will use it for the class discussion. At the end of the discussion, you will submit it for faculty review: faculty will look for evidence of completion and engagement.
  • Make sure your name is at the top of your printed copy.
  1. Compare the CUPM Cognitive Goals to theĀ list of qualities Cronon gives in “Only Connect”, the Six Expectations of an Evergreen Graduate, and the PSAM Program Learning Goals (from the program syllabus). a) What significant similarities do you notice? b) What major differences do you see? c) What goals that are important to you personally are missing (and from which set are they missing)?
  2. The claims made in Mathematics as a Liberal Art, while supportable, are not supported in the actual essay. Choose one (or one related set) of the claims in the piece to discuss more fully, and expand on it using examples from your own experience. Feel free to redirect the claim or shade it in ways that seem important as you give a fuller discussion of it.
  3. optional: For those of you who chose to read any of the Program Reports: which did you choose to read, and why? Briefly describe the most important things you learned from reading the Reports. In what ways (if any) was your thinking about your own education clarified/changed?