Periodic Review: Department of Mathematics Self Study -- 2010

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Final
-

4/11/11

I and II. Background and Previo
us Reviews


1

P
eriodic Review: Department
of
Mathe
matics Self Study
--

2010



I.


Context.

Give a brief overview of the history of the department and describe the mission of
the department.



The
Mathematics

D
epartment

is reaching the end of a long transition from a p
urely teaching mission
to a mission

that balances teaching and research
. Until 1987

all faculty were full time teachers.
Research was not r
equired for promotion or tenure. Sc
holarly activity, if any, was self
-
motivated and
largely unrewarded.


Beg
inning in 1987 the department’s new assistant professors were hired with the expectation that
they produce publishable research.
The research expectation came with a lighter teaching load than
that expected of pre
-
1987 hires.
Tenure and promotion guideli
nes changed, but it was still possible to
achieve tenure and forge a successful career based on teaching alone. For assistant professors hired
with
an initial research expectation

foregoing research meant a return to the histor
ical teaching load.
From
1987

to the present the department has had two distinct classes of professor
-

those whose duties
formally include research and those whose duties are exclusively teaching and service.


By
the early 1990’s
the department was no longer hiring assista
nt professors without a research
requirement for tenure and promotion. Existing faculty continued to conduct their careers under the
older guidelines, but from this point on
non
-
research faculty were e
ffectively
barred from

promotion to
full professor.
Retirements and new hires had changed the mix of research and non
-
research facul
ty to
roughly equal numbers.
Although half the faculty were spending significant time on research,
historical precedent and department leadership kept a strong focus on the t
eaching mission. Teaching
success remained the dominant component of tenure and promotion decisions.


At about this

time the department committed to a pair of strategic objectives: one to create salaried,
full time teaching positions to be filled
by long serving adjuncts, and the other to build and maintain
research groups of at least three faculty with common interests in some sub
-
discipline. A group in Set
Theory was already established. Topology, Numerical Analysis an
d Computer Science were
nascent.
Plans were made to start a Statistics group and revive the
Mathematics

Education group.


Over the next decade these plans were largely
accomplished. By 2004

the department had achieved
working research groups of at least 3 productive schola
rs in all the target areas except
Mathematics

Education. (
This
was still a work in progress, with two active researchers). Computer Science grew so
successfully that it became a separate department. The Set Theory group included two full professors
wi
th international prominence. Other groups were younger and still building their reputations.
Our
conversion from a purely teaching mission was well underway, but throughout
the transition we
retained our insistence that teaching success figure prominentl
y in tenure and promotion decisions.
We had also established seven full time lecturer positions.


Today
we are a department of 23

profes
s
ors and 10 full time lecturers. All of the research groups
projected in the late 1990’s have been formed and ac
hieved a reasonable level of stability. We are
nearly at the end of the

era in which professors were either "research" or "non
-
research". We
continue to hold tenure track professors to the historical teaching standards but more and more
emphasis has be
en placed on their research activity. Looking forward, the department will continue to
expand its research profile while maintaining its commitment to teaching.



The department's mission has evolved along similar lines. Once solely focused on te
aching and
service, we have added more and more emphasis on research. This parallels the development of

the
u
niversity and fits perfectly with the
institutional plan
to become a metropolitan research university of
distinction.
However, no matter what le
vel of emphasis is placed on research we are and intend always
to be a department committed to excellence in teaching. Broadly, then, our mission is research,
teaching, and service.

Final
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I and II. Background and Previo
us Reviews


2


The nature of research varies

by discipline. For a pure
m
athe
matici
an it means proving theorems.
For a numerical analyst perhaps the same, perhaps devising new numerical algorithms, certainly
implementation in

the form of efficient code. Research in

m
athematics

education could be clinical
studies and statistical analysi
s or observational studies and narrative descriptions. Across all disciplines
the department's mission is to
actively
support
and encourage
research
,
and
to
ensure that it forms a
significant part of every p
rofessor's career.


The teaching mission m
ust accommodate an enormously varied clientele.
T
he department offers
Mathematics

and
A
pplied

Mathematics

bachelor's degrees and a master's in
Mathematics
. We
provide
training and professional certification with a
Mathematics
, Secondary
Education

degree,

and we offer a
m
aster's degree in
Mathematics

Education to practicing teachers. We
deliver
the foundational
m
athematics

instruction for all the sciences and engineering; we provide the
m
athematic
al training for
all elementary school teachers; we provide

the core
mathe
matics

courses required of every degree
program in the university; we provide (until recently, exclusively in our region) developmental
m
athematics

i
nstruction for all those whose prior training has not prepared them for college level work.

Across this vast range our teaching mission is to serve the needs of each group while maintaining
appropriate standa
rds of content and
rigor.


Se
rvice activity is an essential part of each faculty member's career but highly variable in nature and
q
uantity. Every researcher is expected to contribute to the functioning of the international community
in which research is produced and disseminated. Every teacher is expected to provide guidance to
students as they move along their educational paths an
d to collaborate in the successful execution of
the department
-
wide teaching mission. Every faculty member is expected to contribute to the healthy
functioning of the university and its colleges and departments. The departmental service mission is to
de
liver our fair share of all this work as it arises and as it is needed.



II.

Previous Reviews


Our

last program review was conducted in 2001
-
02.
The external r
eview was strongly positive
regarding
our research activity
. It was also positive about
our te
aching effectiveness, both within the
major and in service to other programs, with the exception of developmental
Mathematics
. This was
their only major concern, although they noted several smaller items.


The s
elf study, external review

report, action i
tems, and 2005
progress report are attached.


Since that review the department has struggled with the delivery of developmental
m
athematics
. At
the
time of the review we had just launched an entirely new hybrid course design. In every subsequent
year con
cerns about student success have led to significant adjustments in course delivery with v
arying
levels of improvement. In the last three years we have seen significant gains. The recent successes,
including the creation of a full time position for a dir
ector of developmental
m
athematics
, appear to
have brought us to the end
that
period in our history. Although developmental
m
athematics

remains
an intrinsically challenging area of departmental operations it does not dominate discussions as it once
did an
d it is not likely to be singled out as a departmental weakness.


The department offers one professional degree,
Mathematics,

Secondary Ed
ucation
, that is reviewed
by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
The Idaho State De
partment
of Education conducts a simultaneous review.
The most
rece
nt review occurred
in 2008
-
09.

Both
reports address teacher education as a whole, so our program is subsumed in a much larger review
process.
Assessment was noted as an area of concer
n across all
teacher education programs at the
institution. We are
address
ing assessment issues within the department as a matter of departmental
planning and policy.

N
CATE and Idaho

D
o
E

reports
are
attached.


Final
-

4/11/11

III. Undergraduate Programs


3

III.

U
ndergraduate Programs

A.

What do you do?

Please describe the undergraduate programs you offer.




We offer three major programs: BA or BS in Mathematics, BS in Applied Mathematics, and
BA or BS in Mathematics, Secondary Education. We also offer a Math minor, an Applied Math
minor, and a
ne
wly designed
Math Teaching
Minor.



The Mathematics degree requires
core c
ourses in
C
alculus,

Discrete Math, Real A
nalysis,
Linear Algebra, and Probability and S
tatistics, together with several more advanced courses in
these or other areas. Advanced

electives can be chosen to suit
a
student
’s

particular interests
in various areas of pure and applied mathematics. This degree is designed to prepare the
student either for more advanced study in mathematics or for careers in any of the increasingly
wide

variety of areas where mathematical tools and thinking play an essential role. In addition
to mastering specific mathematical content, mathematics majors develop excellent general
skills in problem solving and precise analytical thinking.


The Applied

Math degree requires similar core courses, but emphasizes computational and
applied work in areas where the department has significant expertise
:
Cryptology, Statistics
,
Computational Math, Numerical Analysis and Differential Equations.

The degree prepa
res
students for jobs in areas such as statistics, mathematical modeling, computational science,
business management and consulting. It also provides a strong foundation for graduate school
in applied mathematics.


The Math Secondary Ed degree fulfill
s Idaho teacher certification standards and prepares
students to teach mathematics in junior and senior high schools. Students acquire a solid
background both in mathematics and in the education courses required for certification.
Students gain practical k
nowledge and teaching experience through the department's
secondary mathematics methods course and a semester of student teaching in local secondary
schools.



A

Math minor
consists of the
full Calc
ulus sequence, at least two proof writing courses, an
d
an additional upper division math elective which could be applied or abstract.
As a credential it
speaks highly of a student’s motivation and gives evidence of strong problem solving and
analytical skills.


An

Applied Math minor is the Calculus s
equence
, a course in Computational Mathematics,
and two electives chosen from the more applied upper division offerings. The Computational
Math requirement is a recent change, so students matriculating prior to 2009 can still graduate
with a third electiv
e instead.
The required math
sequence
for most science and engineering
majors is within one course of an Applied Math minor so the program has been structured to
include attractive course options for those majors.


The
Math
Teaching
Minor is a new
creation designed to meet Idaho Certification
requirements when paired with a secondary education major from any of the science programs.
It has not yet passed through curriculum approval.



B.

Are you successful at what you do?

Please demonstrate that e
ach of your programs
achieves the following:

1.

Your program prepares your students to successfully be able to move to the next
phase of their lives.



Evidence is limited to (1) Alumni survey of employment, (2) Alumni Satisfaction
Survey,
(3) Idaho Dept

of Labor employment information,
and (
4
) feedback from
individual students who s
t
ay in contact with faculty members.


Recent surveys are attached.

T
he data are too sparse to
be very meaningful, but

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III. Undergraduate Programs


4

this snapshot
suggests
our graduates successful
ly enter the workforce, earn
respectable salaries for the region, regard their degrees as important to their careers,
and were largely satisfied with their educational experience. Of note:

a.

Very few

Applied Math majors were surveyed
. This is because the

degree
program is fairly new and has not had many graduates.


b.

The employment survey combined all programs, but the satisfaction surveys
broke them out. In the older survey Math Secondary Ed majors were much
happier with their experience than other M
ath majors. In the later survey
satisfaction was more even, with slightly more positive results for Math and
Applied Math.

c.

There is insufficient volume of data to warrant action or changes at this time,
but the information revealed in these surveys is o
f great interested to the

department. Much more should be done to collect this data, including data from
participants in the minor programs.


Anecdotal evidence is mostly from Secondary Ed majors teaching in the region and
from Math majors who have go
ne on to graduate programs. This includes several who
are or were in the two master’s programs in the Math Department. All anecdotal
evidence is strongly positive, although clearly subject to availability bias. Department
plans include the intent to se
t up a social networking site to better stay in touch with
our alumni.

2.

Your students perform well on professional exams or other standardized
examinations (as applicable).




Math and Applied Math majors take the ETS Major Field Test in their fin
al
semester.
In our assessment reports (see III.B.3 below) we rate graduates as meeting our
outcome goal if they score in the 70
th

percentile or higher. That last 4 years of reports
show that this occurs much more often than not.


Math Secondary Ed

majors take the Praxis II content exam.
This threshold has been
met consistently every year within
recent memory.


Improvements in future assessments will include storage of MFT and Praxis results
in a database for better data analysis.


3.

Your st
udents achieve the learning goals

of your program(s).



In 2006 t
he department adopted a Program Assessment Plan (PAP) based on
measurement of learning outcomes for the three majors.

Measurement occurs at
various points in the curriculum. Annual (an
d sometimes semi
-
annual) reports detail
the results for each cohort of graduates. Annual at regular intervals, but less than
annually, we have revisited the PAP, making some small changes and noting larger
changes that we would like to implement. The o
riginal PAP, the reports on changes or
suggested changes to the PAP, and each individual report on outcomes are attached.



Since reporting began
we have had not had terribly many instances of a graduate
failing to meet a significant number of out
comes.
The goal most likely to be reported
as not met is proof writing, which fits with anecdotal evidence that this is a po
ssible
area for improvement. Partly in response to PAP data, and partly from other
motivations,
the departme
nt has recently rest
ructured its

intro
ductory
proof writing
course. The course cap has been lowered to allow instructors more time to coach
writing, and the outcomes of the course are more tightly specified to include specific
proof writing skills. These changes are too re
cent for us to have data on their efficacy.


Final
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4/11/11

III. Undergraduate Programs


5

4.

Your students are retained by your program(s) and by the university. Your
students proceed smoothly through your program(s) and then graduate, without
unnecessary impediments.

a.

Retention and Transition
. Five

years of data on
retention and transition of
student
s

are attached.
The charts aggregate all three math undergraduate
programs. These can be compared to all other College of Arts and Science
programs, as well as the university as a whole. As expected
, the math data (being
a smaller sample) displays more variance than the university data. Otherwise,
compared to other departments or to the university there are no significant
differences.
No action is suggested by this data.


There is an imp
ortant open question about retention that the department will
seek to answer in the future. There is a natural point in all three programs where a
math major is most likely to switch to another degree plan
-

this is the core proof
writing experience in Re
al Analysis. More generally, when the course work turns
from mostly computation and problem solving to mostly or entirely proof writing,
it is inevitable that some students will realize that math is no longer their primary
educational goal. It would no
t be appropriate to pressure these students into
remaining in a math major, but is it critical that we provide the best possible
introduction and training in proof writing. First so that majors will not
unnecessarily change their minds, and second so tha
t programs that are less proof
dependent (Applied Math and Secondary Ed) are not stifled. We will seek to
acquire data on whether or not students who switch out of our majors do so
because of the transition from computation to proof writing.

b.

Graduation R
ate
. Five years of enrollment and graduation data are attached.
C
o
mparison data are not available (except as in III.B.4.a above)

but would be
desirable.

The first four years of data illustrate a disturbing feature


declining
numbers of majors in eac
h year from freshman to junior, combined with a very
large group of seniors. The decline is a retention issue, which is not necessarily a
problem (some decline is expected). But the spike in seniors suggests that
students reach senior status and fail to
graduate within a year. This is confirmed
by data on total credit hours at graduation (attached), showing that it is very
common for students to take at least a semester and perhaps even a year of
credits beyond the 128 required for graduation. For so
me reason the most recent
academic year appears more reasonable. If this persists we will probably not need
to take aggressive action, but should the earlier pattern return it will be necessary
to investigate the causes in more detail and address those th
at are within our
control.


c.

Bottlenecks and Barriers.

For many years our majors were small enough that
bottleneck courses simply could not occur. However, recent growth has reached
the point where problems are c
r
opping up. At this time the onl
y mechanism for
detecting this is negative feedback from students or advisors. Often it can be too
late to solve the problem once it comes to our attention in this way. The
department is seeking to collect better data on enrollment, broken out by major
and year (freshman, sophomore, etc.) to try to anticipate bottlenecks and respond
more promptly. However, department responses may be severely limited by
resources (as described below).



Specifically, in recent semesters we have failed to provi
de enough seats in Linear
Algebra and Statistics. For applied majors and minors, another bottleneck is
Final
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III. Undergraduate Programs


6

emerging in Computational Mathematics. In Math Secondary Ed the existence of a
cohort of more than 20 students moving through the sequence of require
d Math
Ed courses is exceeding the designed capacity of those courses.


The bottlenecks in Math and Applied math could easily be relieved by shifting
professors into additional sections of these courses, but this would require funding
for more adjunct in
structors in lower division courses. Such funding, serving only a
single department, is not forthcoming from the university. It is likely that the
department will have to devise a solution to these problems internally or as part of
a broader compromise w
ith other institutional interests.


The Math Secondary Ed program could also attempt expansion by adding sections.
In this case, however, the resource constraints are more severe. First, there are
only three faculty members qualified to teach the Math E
d courses for majors
(although we are searching for a fourth). Second, because any cohort will take a
series of four courses and some seminars, the entire sequence would have to be
replicated, thus doubling the number of sections. This would nearly elimi
nate the
option of offering any Math Ed graduate classes during regular semesters. It
would also force most or even all of the Math Ed service courses onto lecturers and
adjuncts. We would not have enough trained lecturers and adjuncts, so we would
have

to hire and train additional personnel.


If the current large cohort is not anomalous we will have to consider (1) restricting
entry to the program, or (2) expanding sections, or (3) reconfiguring the curriculum
to handle more students in the same number
of sections. Option (2) as discussed
above would severely strain available resources. At this time we do not have a
specific solution in mind. Many curricular changes are currently under
consideration as we adapt to changing university credit requi
rements, changing
university core requirements, and possible adoption of the U Teach system. Any
exploration of how to manage enrollments and meet demand will be bound up
with these curricular discussions.


The Secondary Ed degree also requires cour
ses from the College of Education. The
Math Department is represented on the Teacher Education Coordinating Council.
TECC allows the Math Department and the CoEd to effectively communicate about
availability and timing of CoEd courses required for the M
ath Secondary Ed
program. At this time there are no reports of difficulty with this portion of the
program.


5.

Your program attracts and retains students in sufficient numbers, quality, and
diversity.



The Math Department does not recruit aggressively
, no
r

does it court undeclared
or related majors. The natural clientele for the Math and Applied Math major
s

are
students whose interest is sufficient to lead them to explore math at ever deeper
levels. The natural clientele for Secondary Ed is similar,
but also motivated by the
acquisition of a professional credential. Despite our non
-
recruitment strategy our
enrollment growth has out
-
paced the university’s growth in recent years. Since we
don’t recruit, we don’t target any particular demographic gro
ups. Nor do we have data
on the demographic breakdown of our majors.

Final
-

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III. Undergraduate Programs


7


Rather than seek declared majors, we seek to make math interesting and attractive
to other majors. There are specific courses designed with this in mind. We track
enrollm
ents in three of these, Cryptology
I, Cryptology II, and
Computational
Mathematics, to see if they are fulfilling the aim of
enticing

non
-
math majors into
advanced
math
electives
. Cryptology has
grown to the point where it routinely enrolls
up its capaci
ty (and in one recent semester, well above that). Computational Math is a
very recent addition that is suddenly is very high demand. It began as an experimental
course with two students in the fall of 2008. The next year it filled to its capacity of 2
0
students. A year later we doubled the capacity to 40 and still had students on waiting
lists.


Additional indicators of interest from outside the major are the numbers of d
eclared
Math and Applied Math minors and the number of graduates departi
ng with these
credentials. Both declared and graduating minors have roughly doubled

in the last five
years. (See attached data on non
-
majors.)


6.

Your students receive awards, honors, grants, etc., that indicate the high quality of
your program.




We are regularly represented at the annual Undergraduate Research Conference on
campus.

Our top undergraduate in recent
year
s

was probably Greg Barnett. His
research project led to a UGRC poster, a highly competitive summer appointment at
the Geometr
y Center of the University of Minneapolis, and a present
ation

at an
international workshop in Suzdal, Russia.


C.

Do you have the

structures, processes, and resources in place that facilitate the
development
and continuing function of
successful academic oper
ations?


Please
address each of the following questions, presenting and discussing evidence as
needed.

1.

Describe and evaluate the mechanisms you have in place to facilitate the
assessment and improvement of your programs.

Describe the process by which
the
department considers the results of your assessment measures and
determines appropriate actions. How do you ensure that the process is
sustainable and ongoing?



The department has a standing committee that sees to classroom level
implementation of th
e assessment mechanisms described in the PAP. This committee
then collects the data and reports to the chair (examples attached



see III.B.3
). The
process is still new, so minimal action has been taken in response. The only example
would be the cha
nges to proof
writing classes described in III.B.3


The Department Assessment Committee also reports on the functionality of the PAP
and the reporting process

(also attached


see III.B.3)
. It recommends changes as it
encounters problems or opportunit
ies for improvement.


In theory this practice is sustainable and should lead to a well maintained database of
information on learning outcomes for our majors. In practice there are many
remaining obstacles as described in the attached reports. On
ly part of the plan is in
place, and even that is not managed as carefully as one might hope. What work has
been accomplished has been done by a few members of the assessment committee as
part of their service workload. It is likely that full implementat
ion and ongoing
management would require at least a one course release from teaching for a faculty
Final
-

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III. Undergraduate Programs


8

member to lead the project. The department has not had sufficient resources to make
this happen.


2.

How do you ensure that your programs are relevant

to the needs of your students
and to the needs of society?



We regard it as self evident that there is a societal need for at least some segment of
the populace to be well trained in critical thinking and analytical problem solving. The
Math and A
pplied Math programs develop these and many other technical skills while
providing students the opportunity to explore one of the classical disciplines of
thought and inquiry. The PAP reports on the extent to which the desired skills are
present in our gr
aduates. Math and Applied math degrees also serve the needs of a
vast range of employers. To quote the Sloan Career Cornerstone Center:



The use of mathematics is pervasive in modern industry. The result is that mathematicians
are found in almost every

sector of the job market, including engineering research,
telecommunications, computer services and software, energy systems, computer
manufacturers, aerospace and automotive, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, and government
laboratories, among others.



The

Math Secondary Ed program
aims include

the same skill set, but it replaces some
depth of exploration in the subject area with professional training. It therefore serves
many of the same broad societal needs as well as the regional need for qualified
mat
hematics teachers. Based on internal assessment mechanisms (PAP) and external
feedback from the Idaho educational community, this program appears to be
successful. We are exploring changes to the program due to university core revisions,
university init
iatives to meld Math Ed with Science Ed programs, and possible adoption
of the U Teach system. However, none of these changes are motivated by our internal
assessment of outcomes.

3.

What
mechanisms

do you have
in place to ensure
that the

instruction

in you
r
courses is of high quality?



See Appendix A.

Nearly 100% of the delivery of courses for majors is by tenured and
tenure track faculty, so the most relevant sections are 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b and 3.

4.

How do you ensure that
your coursework
is
high q
uality
?

a.

H
ow
do you ensure

that
undergraduate
c
ourses are overhauled as
needed?




Courses are revised, reviewed and updated according to several processes,
depending on the major program and/or the type of course offered.



All Majors


Core
Course
s.


This is the Calculus sequence (preceded by
Precalculus if needed), Linear Algebra, Statistics, and proof courses in Discrete
Math and Real Analysis. The content and sequence of these courses is fairly
standardized across undergraduate programs in Americ
an four
-
year colleges and
universities. Major deviations from this standard would be considered radical
redesign, if not simply unacceptable, but upgrades, content changes and shifts in
emphasis are all possible. These could be triggered by any of the
following:



1) Assessment via PAP (see above) indicating weak achievement in one of more
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III. Undergraduate Programs


9

learning outcomes.



2) Client departments unsatisfied with learning outcomes in one of more of
these courses. Since non
-
majors can make up much of t
h
e enrollment in many of
the major core courses,
this is a primary mechanism for motivating

change. This
can result in changes that are not
aimed at a
ny

math program goal.


Processes for determining and assessing client department desired outcomes
are mostly absent but the department is committed to maintaining open
co
mmunication with clients

and responding to their needs. This has led to some
significant changes. In collaboration with the College of Engineering

we have
developed and alternative
version of Precalculus that combines traditional
instruction with computer delivery of homework and homework assessment. We
have also recently launched experimental sections of Calculus III and
Differential
Equations

designed from the perspective of Engin
eering and other clients.
Outcomes and assessments are still not clearly defined for these courses, but work
is underway.



3) Internal department deliberations resulting in a decision to examine or
redesign a course. These are motivated by indivi
duals or groups of faculty whose
professional judgment suggests change may be warranted. The process would
begin with either a full department exploration of a new idea or perhaps a
committee level exploration of a proposed change. Recent changes to the

proof
writing core were partly motivated by this mechanism, although supported by data
from the PAP. Other recent changes motivated this way were the shift to more
applied content in Linear Algebra (balanced by the creation of a more abstract
Advanced
Linear), creation of a Computational Math course, and the Math
Secondary Ed redesign described below.




Math and Applied Math


Upper division electives.

We offer
upper division
electives that represent deeper versions of courses from the core. Th
ese include
advanced courses in Analysis, Statistics, Differential Equations and Algebra. This is
partly a sensible extension of the core, and partly adherence to widespread
standards for American four
-
year programs in Mathematics.

In particular, these

courses are necessary for students interested in going on to graduate work in
Mathematics.


Additional electives represent the research specialties within the department.
Faculty are encouraged to develop courses that explore topics close to the c
utting
edge of their research specialty, that incorporate significant interdisciplinary
content, or that have practical applied emphasis. Examples include:


-

Cryptology. Combines research in number theory and algebra with practical
applications

in computer science.


-

Computational Mathematics. An area of research expertise in the
department and a course that provides practical traini
ng for engineers and
scientists.



-

Ciliate Cryptosystems. Combines research in cryptology with

cell and
molecular biology. Ciliates are single cell organisms that
maintain an encrypted
version of their genome.



-

Upper division electives in Statistics. Practical and applied emphasis

on
finance and environmental sciences
.



Final
-

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III. Undergraduate Programs


10



New co
urses of this nature or updates of existing courses are a matter of
individual faculty developing an interest in such a project. The department
encourages and supports this by allowing part of the normal 2
-
and
-
2 teaching load
to be replaced by an experim
ental course. In rare cases additional teaching
reduction could be possible.
Supplementary
support in the way of teaching
assistants or extra teaching reduction is highly desirable, but not often accessible
within department budget constraints.



M
ath Secondary Ed


Specialized courses for the major
. The Math Ed group has
developed and now maintains a series of four courses that provide content
unavailable elsewhere in the curriculum and substantial exposure to best
classroom practices for seconda
ry teachers. This was a long process of
overhauling the program with the aim of improving the quality of the teachers the
program produces.


b.

To what degree do the courses in your curriculum build on one another
.




In all major programs courses are
sequenced to move students efficiently
through the core of the major while preparing them appropriately for upper
division course work. The Calculus sequence is primary
. All of Calc III,
Linear
algebra, Statistics and Differential Equations (if require
d) are available at any point
after Calculus II. Students are advised to take them
early
, since
most upper division
electives require at least one of these courses. Courses beyond these are more
specialized into Pure, Applied, and Math Ed areas.





All majors take proof writing courses. The core sequence of Discrete Math and
Real Analysis is designed to run one semester behind the Calculus sequence,
meaning Discrete Math is taken in the same term as Calculus II.
Majors
could
get
some expo
sure to

proof writing in Calc I and/or
Calc II
, but Discrete Math assumes
no prior proof writing background.



Pure Math electives are separated into two broad groups by the proof writing
ability required in their prerequisites. Most 300 level courses requ
ire only Calc II
and Discrete Math. Electives at the 400 level require either Real Analysis or a 300
level prerequisite.



Applied courses at the 300 level are characterized by the fact that Calculus II and
perhaps Linear Algebra contain enough con
tent and promise enough maturity to
serve as appropriate prerequisites. Most 400 level applied courses build directly
on 300 level applied courses.




Courses specific to the Math Secondary Ed program are built into the curriculum
at strategic po
ints. Two are designed to precede and complement 300 level
courses from the general Math curriculum and are therefore lower division.
Another is a technology course that draws material from the first two years of
Math courses, and so it is upper divisio
n.

Another is
effectively
a
capstone
experience, drawing
on all of the prior three years, so it is
necessarily
a 400 level
course
.


Final
-

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III. Undergraduate Programs


11

c.

Describe the methods by which the department facilitates the development
and meaningful us
e of Course Learning Objectives

in your courses
.



Course content and course learning objectives are not closely monitored by the
department as a whole. CLO specifications are not the department norm for
guiding course structure. Exceptions to this are the recent changes to Disc
rete
Math, Calculus III and Differential Equations, as well as the outcome specific
demands of the PAP. The department is likely to move more i
n this direction as
part of a new focus on
assessment
in general.



The historical norm has been for course

content

to be

defined by generic syllabi
(attached) for lower division courses and the core 3
00 level courses. Content of
u
pper division electives is left to the instructors. In most cases there are only a few
instructors with appropriate area of speci
alization for any given elective. The Math
Ed group specifies the content and learning objectives of courses specific to the
Math Secondary Ed program.


d.

D
escribe how you ensure that the quality of your distance
-
delivered
courses is every bit as good as
that of your on
-
campus courses.


We offer no distance, online or hybrid courses for majors.

e.

If large numbers of non
-
majors take any of the courses required of your
majors, how does that mix affect effectiveness for majors?


This is the case for the Ca
lculus sequence, and to a lesser extent in Discrete Math ,
Linear Algebra and Statistics. Other than creating very full classes and limited
seating for math majors and other alike, it does not affect the “effectiveness for
majors”. It impacts the ong
oing analysis of the curriculum as described in III.C4.a
above.


f.

To what extent do your faculty members integrate research/creative activity
into your undergraduate courses?


To what extent do your faculty members
integrate community engagement into your
undergraduate programs and into
your courses?


Integration of scholarly activity and/or community engagement in coursework is
entirely voluntary on the part of faculty. In annual evaluation documents such
activity is documented and draws favorable comment
ary, but is not otherwise
rewarded or incentivized.

5.

Evaluate the structure and integration of your curricula.

a. & b. Show how your curriculum maps indicate that your coursework
contributes effectively to achievement program learning goals. As
applicable
, how well do you communicate with other departments regarding
learning goals?

Curriculum maps
(attached)
indicate that some undergrad
uate

goals are
strongly reinforced and emphasized, while others are not.
The department
has just launched a review of al
l three programs that will investigate this
situation.

The goal of applying math in areas outside of math can
,

and
probably
should
,

be assessed in non
-
math courses
.

Efforts are underway to
Final
-

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III. Undergraduate Programs


12

establish
some such assessments.

Two courses taken by math maj
ors, Calc III
and Differential Equations, are being redesigned to include significantly more
applied content along with assessment of exactly that content.

c.

If your department offers multiple programs, discuss the impact of
competition for resources and f
or faculty time and attention.

We are a large department, primarily due to the very high demands for service
courses
.

We have 19 full time professor lines available for Math and Applied
Math. This leaves us well supplied with manpower to offer the e
ntire suite of
courses required for our Math and Applied Math programs. A typical faculty
member is usually tasked with one service course and one course for majors in
each semester, which suffices to deliver the major except for the bottlenecks
noted in

III.B.4.c. This could easily be relieved by funding for a few additional
sections of service courses, so it does not represent a likely source of intra
-
departmental competition.

The Math Secondary Ed program is similar, but smaller. There are 4 lines
devoted to Math Ed specialists, and two of the lecturer positions provide help
with service courses. This is sufficient to run the Math Ed program for cohorts
of up to 20 students in each year of the program. As discussed in III.B.4.c, we
are currently

struggling with a cohort larger than 20, which may or may not be
the start of a longer term trend. If it is a trend, then we face a more serious
difficulty. It is unlikely that the department could add any full time Math Ed
specialists without an inter
nal struggle over allocation of faculty lines.


It is not the case in this department that we would consider relieving pressure
in one of our programs at the expense of another. Each program suffers from
some amount of enrollment pressure. The presen
t division of departmental
resources is broadly accepted and mostly supported by the faculty.


d.

How well does your curriculum integrate out
-
of
-
class research/creative
activity and out
-
of
-
class community engagement?

The Math department’s curriculum does n
ot address these areas. The Math
Secondary Ed program includes the required year of in
-
service work for
students to obtain certification, but this is not Math Department coursework


the courses and the in
-
service work are supervised by the College of Edu
cation.

6.

Describe and evaluate the processes you have in place that enable effective
planning of your enrollments? How successful are you at carrying out those
plans?


Do you make judicious use of resources?

The College of Arts and Sciences completed an e
nrollment plan (attached) in February
of 2009. The Math Department’s section reflects thinking and practices during the fall
of 2008 when the document was being written. Fall 2008 was the last semester before
serious budget contractions began to impact

university operations. That, combined
with an unexpectedly large increase in STEM majors in just the past two years, has
already rendered much of the Math Department’s plan obsolete. The current state of
affairs is as follows.

The vast majority of

courses taught by the math department are service courses. The
number of credits for non
-
majors is roughly two orders of magnitude more than the
number of credits offered to majors. Also, roughly half of the courses required by
majors are also service
courses for many non
-
majors. The result is that the department
Final
-

4/11/11

III. Undergraduate Programs


13

does very little enrollment planning for majors. Instead, our planning focuses on
offering enough access to service courses, with the intent that this will create plenty of
access for majors.

For courses that are strictly for majors, single sections on either
semester, annual, or biannual scheduling is sufficient, with a few notable exceptions.


As mentioned previously, Linear Algebra, Statistics and Computational Math are
bottlenecks for maj
ors. This is in part due to growth in the majors, and in part because
these courses are popular with Engineering and Physics majors, especially if an Applied
Math minor is involved. We would like to add sections, but resources are a constraint
at this
time.

Math Ed courses can only serve a single cohort of a limited size. Plans for how to deal
with emerging bottlenecks are heavily dependent on the outcome of several curriculum
change possibilities.

Finally, even in large, multi
-
section courses where

the small number of math majors
share space with many non
-
majors, we do not always provide sufficient access. This is
an ongoing problem whose solution will require better forecasting of enrollment, STEM
major demand, and probably more funding. At this

time, we struggle through each
semester, adding sections as needed when funds are made available. It cannot be said
that this constitutes an enrollment plan.

7.

Describe and evaluate your

recruitment and retention processes
. To what degree
are they effec
tive
?


See
III.
B.5.


8.

Describe and evaluate how you ensure that students are adequately and
effectively advised about academic and career matters.

All declared majors that are so identified by the Boise State student data system are
paired with specific fa
culty advisors. Students are informed by email of their advisor.
Students in Math Secondary Ed are strongly encouraged to meet with advisors to plan
their final two years of certification specific courses and activities. This is not difficult,
since all

of these majors take a common set of Math Ed specific courses and become
well acquainted with the Math Ed faculty.


10.

Evaluate the extent to which the department’s faculty, staff, space, budget, and
other resources enable you to offer high quality underg
raduate programs.

Faculty and budget limitations on our programs are described in III.B.4.c and III.C.5.c
and III.C.6. We are suitably staffed for the delivery of courses for majors. We have
space limitations on Math Ed courses. At this time there is

one classroom that has
appropriate hardware and software for the courses we believe appropriate. Any
expansion of the Math Ed program would have to fit into that classroom. It would
compete with service courses for Ed majors, which are also all offered

in that one
classroom. At this time that space is close to being scheduled at its limits, but we are
also considering curricular changes that could allow for more efficient use of the space.

Assessment of our programs presents another and perhaps m
ore serious drain on
faculty resources. In order to properly assess the performance of students,
effectiveness of instruction, etc., faculty must be released from some duties
elsewhere. Without seriously damaging the research mission this time can only

come
from teaching. Current assessment is fairly meager. Proper levels of assessment are
Final
-

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III. Undergraduate Programs


14

not likely to be possible without additional funds for release from teaching. I estimate
that a minimum of two courses per year of release time would be requir
ed to put in
place assessment mechanisms that the department has already identified as desirable.
Such funding has not been forthcoming from the university, so at this time we do not
have sufficient resources to properly assess our programs.


D.

In what way
s do you contribute?


1.

Describe how your undergraduate programs contribute to the visions, missions,
and strategic plans of the university and of your college. How do you contribute to
the university’s initiatives on internationalization, campus climate, f
reshman
success, and adjunct faculty integration?

Our
undergrad
uate

programs are most closely aligned with the university’s strategic
goal of serving the educational needs of the community. They do not specifically
address the initiatives mentioned above
.

2.

Describe how your undergraduate programs benefit the community, region, state,
and nation.
Identify any unique features that set your
undergraduate
programs
apart from other competing or potentially competing programs in Idaho and/or in
the region.

T
he mathematics education program prepares teachers that are then employed in

school districts across the state and beyond. Our program is unique in the state in that
we have a sequence of four mathematics courses designed specifically for pre
-
service
secon
dary teachers. These courses address geometry, statistics, technology, and
teaching methods. In addition, our mathematics education seminar brings together
students at varying levels within the program, allowing us to establish a true sense of
community. T
his number of mathematics education
-
specific courses allows us to
develop themes of mathematical connections, reasoning, and teaching throughout the
program.


More general comments are available in the answers to III.A and III.C.2
above.



E.

How

should yo
u do t
hings differently?

What are your strengths and weaknesses?
What are opportunities and threats? What actions should you take?

1.

What are the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that the department
has in the realm of its undergraduate p
rograms? What are your thoughts on how
you could capitalize on the strengths, remedy the weaknesses, exploit the
opportunities, and guard against the threats?

Strength: Computational math is growing as a relevant interdisciplinary skill and we
have added

faculty with this are of expertise.
Course offerings have proved surprising
popular.


Weakness:
demand has already surpassed our course offerings. See III.B.4.c.


Strength: The highly personal and focused nature of the Math Secondary Ed progr
am.


Weakness: The high degree of labor intensity in this program,
effectively limiting it to
cohorts of no more than 20 students.

Final
-

4/11/11

III. Undergraduate Programs


15


Opportunity: Computational Math, Cryptology, and an emerging positive attitude
towards interdisciplinary work in gener
al have significantly strengthened the
department’s relations with the university at large and positioned us a more of a partner
in the university’s mission.

Opportunity: Math Ed has become involved in a large process of developing STEM Ed
degrees th
at combine math and some science. Additionally, the group is exploring a
move to the U Teach system. This, too, has strengthened the department’s relations
with the university at large and positioned us a more of a partner in the university’s
mission.


Threat: Desire to expand successful programs could force very difficult allocation
decisions within the department.


It seems that any expansions or even simply building on our recent extra
-
departmental
projects will require some creative maneuver
s with budget and faculty teaching loads.




2.

In what areas of your departmental operations would you like external reviewers to
concentrate their efforts so as to give you the most valuable information for you to
use to improve your programs?


Compariso
n data from other programs. Thoughts on how to allocate existing budget
and teaching re
s
our
c
es to take advantage of current strengths without can
ni
b
alizing
other department programs.


















Final
-

4/11/11

IV. Masters in Mathematics


16

0
2
4
6
Industry
Teaching
Ph.D
Outside Idaho
Idaho
IV.

Graduate Programs


Masters in Mathematics

A.

What do
you do?

Descriptions of Programs


The Master of Science in Mathematics degree provides a solid foundation in the theoretical and
applied aspects of mathematics and the opportunity for concentration in an area of special
interest. Students complete a requi
red two
-
course graduate core sequence in mathematics and
additional graduate courses totaling at least 30 credit hours. The additional graduate courses
are from a selection of math courses that reflect faculty expertise in statistics, pure and applied
ma
th. Students may also take up to nine credits in another discipline. An individual program
may include no more than 10 credits representing dual
-
listed courses and G
-
courses. All courses
must be approved for application to the degree requirements by the
supervisory committee
working within constraints developed by the Mathematics Graduate Committee.


We offer 13 Teaching Assi
s
tantships each year that typically consist of seven first year M.S.
students and six second year M.S. students. We have been abl
e to fill our assistantships in all
but
f
all 2008, when there were 12 T.A.s. Each year we typically have two part
-
time students
that do not hold T.A.s
.


B.

Are you successful at what you
do? How do you

know?

Evidence of Student
Success and Program Effecti
veness.

Note: If your department offers more than one program, then typically you should
discuss each program separately

under each set of questions

in Section B. You may,
if you wish, choose to lump several programs together in your discussion if those

programs have very similar measures of success and effectiveness

and evidence
thereof
.

1.

Your program prepares your students to successfully be able to move to the next
phase of their lives.


The M.S. program began
in f
all 2005, and we have had 16 student
s graduate. This is a
two
-
year program thus there has been an average of over 5 students graduating per
year. We are aware of the experience of all but two of the students after graduation.
The attached graph shows how they were placed in industry, coll
ege teaching, or Ph.D.
programs. Many students were given multiple offers or had multiple interviews.

Placement of Graduates

(16)












2.

Your students make significant contributions to the discipline and/or profession.


a.

For those programs that requir
e a thesis, dissertation, or project, what is
the expectation regarding a contribution to the discipline and presentation
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-

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IV. Masters in Mathematics


17

to a broader audience, e.g., via publication, presentation, or performance?
How well have your students met those expectations? As a
pplicable,
describe numbers and prominence of publications in peer
-
reviewed
journals, numbers of presentations professional conferences, numbers
engaged in creative endeavors (e.g., exhibitions, performances, readings,
etc.), % of students participating in

each of those activities, and other
pertinent information.

All students writing a thesis or project must successfully present their work at a
defense advertised to the whole University.

Four (25%) students presented their thesis work at the following na
tional and
international conferences: SIAM Mathematical and Computational issues in the
Geosciences, American Geophysical Union annual meeting, Pacific Northwest
Conference on Comprehensive Mathematical Modeling in the Natural and
Engineering Sciences, Bo
ise extravaganza in Set Theory, Logic in Hungary.







b.

What other contributions have your graduates made to the discipline and/or
the profession, e.g., leadership positions in professional organizations.

Teaching Assistants in the M.S. program teach in

the Math Learning Center
(MLC) their first semester. We began an e
xtensive T.A. training program in f
all
2007, and consequently the student pass rates in the MLC have significantly
improved. The acting director of the MLC indicated that 75% of the T.A.s

are
exceptional teachers.

Two of our students served on the search committee for the associate director
of the Center for Teaching and Learning at Boise State University.

One student currently in Law School serves as staff member for the Journal of
Legi
slation. Another student currently in a Geophysics Ph.D. program serves as
treasurer for the Geophysics club.

3.

Your students achieve the learning goals

of your program(s).


Our learning goals include a solid foundation in the theoretical and applied aspect
s of
mathematics and the opportunity for concentration in an area of special interest.


Once students complete the core sequence in mathematics, they have demonstrated a
strong theoretical base of mathematical knowledge. The choice of culminating activity

depends on student goals. The three different types of jobs our graduates obtained

show that we are able
to accommodate these different
interests. Those that chose to
learn a deeper foundational knowledge of mathematics chose the exam or thesis
option an
d have gone on to teach at the college level or into Ph.D. programs. Those
that chose an applied direction have gone to jobs in industry or Ph.D. programs in math
or other disciplines. Some students that have completed the internship
-
project option
obtai
ned permanent positions where they had an internship.




4.

Your students are retained by your program(s) and by the university. Your
students proceed smoothly through your program(s) and then graduate, without
unnecessary impediments.

Final
-

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IV. Masters in Mathematics


18

a.

Highlight important tr
ends and give context to the data sets and graphs
depicting numbers of graduates from your programs in the context of the
number of full
-
time and part
-
time students. Evaluate. What proportion of
enrolled students graduates each year? What proportion of
admitted
students remains enrolled each year?

Graduation rate for full
-
time students by cohort


Three cohorts of students have gra
duated since the program began in f
all
2005. The percentage of full
-
time students graduating ea
ch year is increasing,
however, no part
-
time students have yet graduated.

Proportion of enrolled students graduating


The proportion of enrolled students graduating is also graphed by cohort and
reflects part
-
time students.

b.

Ex
amine and evaluate data on time to completion for your students, and do
so in terms of the students in your program (e.g., full
-
time students will
graduate more quickly than will part
-
time students). Questions to consider:
Are your students able to gradua
te promptly, or are they delayed?

How
many of your students have left the program before graduation? Why have
they left?

Of the 16 students that have graduated, 13 graduated in two years. Two
students took 5 semesters to graduate, while the 3
rd

was a p
art
-
time student
for one year and a full time student for two years.

We have had 8 out of 42 (19%) enrolled students become inactive. Three
students left the program due to changes in family situations. Three students
left after one semester, while two st
udents did not finish their theses.

Final
-

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IV. Masters in Mathematics


19

It is difficult to determine the status of the part
-
time students because they do
not take classes every semester and the program has only been in existence
four years.



5.

Your program

attracts and retains students in sufficient numbers, quality, and
diversity.

a.

Highlight and evaluate important trends and give context to the data sets
and graphs depicting enrollment data: numbers, ethnic diversity, and
geographic diversity.


Ethnic diver
sity


Gender Diversity


Geographic Diversity


Final
-

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IV. Masters in Mathematics


20

Our program does not serve many minorities, but 31% of the students are
women which is a good percentage for math studen
ts. Almost half of our
students are from Idaho, 45%, but we do have a range of students from across
the US and world. Last year we actively recruited international students by
sending posters and letters to Universities suggested by our faculty.

b.

Highligh
t

and evaluate

important trends and give context to the data sets
and graphs depicting
recruitment and admissions data. What proportion of
applicants is admitted? What proportion of admitted students enrolls?
What proportion of your enrollees had receiv
ed a baccalaureate from Boise
State and what proportion graduated from other institutions?

In the four years of the program 78% of applicants were admitted, while 86% of
those admitted students enroll. Of those that enrolled, 26% of enrollees
had
obtaine
d their
undergraduate
degrees from Boise State, while 74% were from
other institutions.

c.

What is the quality of your incoming students? Include information such as
incoming GRE scores, selectivity of admission, and geographic diversity.

For incoming stud
ents, the average of the last two years undergrad GPA is 3.4.
The average incoming GRE scores are 521 Verbal, 720 Quantitative, and 4
writing.

6.

Your students receive awards, honors, grants, etc.

Describe awards, honors, grants, etc., received by your s
tudents and your
graduates, and indicate the relevance to the quality of your programs.

Travel awards from outside the University were received by three of our
graduates to present their thesis work at national and international conferences.
One award was

from the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM),
and two received funding from NSF.

An INRA fellowship was received by one of our graduates to attend Boise State’s
Geophysics Ph.D. program.



7.

Additional measures and indicators of Student Su
ccess and Program
Effectiveness.

If there are additional measures and indicators of student success and
program effectiveness that are not covered above, you may describe those
measures and indicators here. Also describe the results and discuss the
meanin
g of those measures and indicators.


C.

Do you have the structures, processes, and resources in place t to
facilitate

successful academic operations?


Note: Many of the following questions parallel those in the Undergraduate Programs
Section. You should fee
l free to cite your answer from the UG section, as appropriate and
useful. For example, if your graduate program processes are the same as for your
undergraduate programs, you may answer in the graduate section with something on the
order of, “Same as UG
programs; see section III.C.1.” If the processes are similar but with
important differences, you might describe the difference with something on the order of,
“Similar to UG programs (section III.C.1) but with the following differences…”

Final
-

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IV. Masters in Mathematics


21

Also note: typica
lly a department would address the questions in Section C at the
department level as opposed to addressing the question separately for each program.
However there may be situations in which the latter would be more useful.


1.

Describe the mechanisms you hav
e in place to facilitate the continuous
improvement of your programs.

The graduate program went through a major re
-
evaluation
in f
all 2007. These changes
were initiated by the Program Coordinator and four sub
-
committees were formed to
review the curriculum

in the areas of the core courses, statistic courses, and pure and
applied math courses. The sub
-
committee for the core courses had faculty from
statistics, pure and applied math. Attached is the curriculum change proposal, which
was accepted, that outli
nes all of the changes. Essentially, the department determined
after two years of experience that the curriculum could be streamlined and made more
efficient.

The result of all these changes is that fewer courses are offered, but they are more
foundationa
l and are offered more frequently. With the old curriculum, students’
education was specialized, but fragmented and depended on the year in which they
were admitted. We have found that specialized material is taught in independent
studies with students w
hom often write a thesis.

We plan that every four years the program coordinator will form four committees as
described above to go through a similar exercise. Four years is an appropriate time
period because after this time period our courses that are off
ered every other year
have been taught twice. Our first evaluation was after two years because the
inaugural curriculum was written without experience. Since the program is more
mature, we anticipate that there will not be as many changes as there was in

2007.


The department’s planning document suggests that the M.S. program have three
different tracks with three different sets of core courses. There is also mention of a
M.S. in statistics. As we re
-
evaluate the curriculum in 20
11 we will determine if
there
are

enough students to offer more specialized degrees such as these.


I
t will be up to the Program Coordinator to form the subcommittees every four years.

2.

Describe how you ensure that your programs are relevant to the needs of your
students and to th
e needs of society (e.g., potential employers)?

a.

Each degree/certificate program a department offers serves a particular
purpose or set of purposes. Describe any recent discussions your
department has had regarding the purposes served by your present
progr
ams and the potential need to serve other purposes with academic
programs. How have you been
responsive

“to the educational needs of the
region” (Charting the Course [CTC])
? If you have assessed the needs for
your programs, describe the results of that a
ssessment. Do you have an
external advisory committee? If so what role does it play? Describe recent
changes and plans for future changes in the offerings of your programs
(e.g., new and/or discontinued program and emphases) and the reason for
those cha
nges.

See above. However, it is hard to assess demand when it appears that the
number of full
-
time graduate students equals the number of T.A.s. If we had
more T.A.s would we have a greater demand? The academic emphases of the
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IV. Masters in Mathematics


22

13 T.A.s seems to fluctuat
e by year, and 13
-
15 students isn’t enough to
determine if we should have specialized degrees in statistics, for example.

b.

With reference to Section 1 of your Program Assessment Plan and Reports
(PAPRs),
S
TUDENT

LEARNING
GOALS
, describe the process by which

you
review and update your program learning goals.

The learning goals will be assessed as we re
-
evaluate the core curriculum. The
learning goals of the culminating activities will be assessed through the success
of our graduates after graduation.


3.

What

mechanisms
do you have
in place to ensure
that the

instruction

in your
courses is of high quality
?

a.

Describe
and evaluate
how you assess the quality of the instruction in your
graduate courses. Include specific reference to each of the types of
instructor

you employ, e.g., official faculty, lecturers, adjunct instructors,
and graduate teaching assistants.


Provide examples of instruments used
and the results they yield.

Research active faculty teach the majority of the graduate curriculum. Non
-
research ac
tive faculty do teach some of the courses, but as we continue to
hire research faculty that will probably not be the case. Graduate research
faculty advise students in theses or projects, and they are all research active.
25% of our students give research

talks at national and international
conferences, and we hope more of their work will appear in peer
-
reviewed
publications.

b.

Describe how
you make use

of that assessment information.

Illustrate with
examples of
assessment
results and actions that have fo
llowed.


All graduate courses are taught by tenured or tenure track faculty, with a rare
exception for special topics taught by visiting researchers. The relevant
portions of Appendix A apply.

c.

Describe and evaluate
how the department encourages, motiv
ates,
supports,

and reinforces

instructional development

of your faculty members
(of all types). Do your faculty members make good use of the opportunities
available to them?



4.

How do you ensure

your coursework
is of high quality?

a.

H
ow
do you ensure

that
g
raduate
c
ourses are updated, upgraded, and
created anew as needed?

Describe how your department ensures that graduate courses are
updated and revised

as needed. How do you ensure that your
faculty members have enough time available and have incentives to
implement major redesigns of existing courses

and to create new
courses
? How do the Delaware benchmark numbers compare to
your own?

Courses were revised two years after the program began, and we plan
to continue this formal process every four years. More

informally,
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IV. Masters in Mathematics


23

special topics courses have been offered, but there has been less need
for this since the curriculum was changed in 2008.

b.

Dual
-
listed Courses

i.

Describe departmental guidelines regarding dual
-
listed courses
.
What is required of graduate student
s that is above and beyond that
required of undergraduate students?

This is left up to the instructor, but typically graduate students have
more challenging problems on their homework and in exams, and are
required to do a project.


ii.

Describe your efforts
to increase the proportion of graduate
-
level
courses (i.e., not G
-
courses or graduate courses dual
-
listed with an
undergraduate

course).

Evaluate the impact on your graduate
programs of dual
-
listing courses
.

With the new curriculum, dual
-
listed courses ar
e typically offered in the
fall, and the subsequent graduate courses are offered in the spring. We
would like to have fewer dual
-
listed courses, and more specialized
graduate courses, but with
only
13 full
-
time students it is difficult to offer
that many
classes. We anticipate that an increase in T.A.s may increase
the number of full
-
time students for which we could offer more
graduate courses
.

c.

Non
-
traditional coursework

What guidelines do you have in place related to non
-
traditional
courses and relativel
y unregulated courses such as workshops,
directed research, etc.?

Faculty often run independent
study courses with students who later

write theses under their direction. When students enroll for these
courses, or for thesis credits, they are required to c
omplete a form that
states the content of the course and the assessment method used by
the professor. This form is signed by the professor, program
coordinator and chair. During a student’s fourth semester the program
coordinator often requires a stateme
nt on the form that the thesis will
be completed.

d.

Course learning objectives

Describe

and evaluate
the methods by which the department
facilitates the development and meaningful use of Course Learning
Objectives (CLOs) in graduate courses. How does the d
epartment
ensure that CLOs are listed in the syllabi of all sections of all courses
offered by the department? How does the department ensure that
instructors inform their students of CLOs?

How does the department
ensure that instructors inform their stu
dents of CLOs?

As mentioned in III.C.4.c, we do not use CLOs as the primary driver of
course oversight. The PAP (see III.B.3) rarely specifies outcomes for the
Masters Program in the form of CLOs, and when it does it speaks only of
outcomes for the analy
sis sequence that forms the core for all Masters
students. Note that the PAP was written when this sequence was
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IV. Masters in Mathematics


24

numbered 515/516. It has since been changed to 514/515. That means
that 515 is the course where we directly measure the relevant program
objective.
The course learning objectives were given in the syllabus for
Math 515 the last time it was taught.

http://diamond.boisestate.edu/~kaiser/teaching/m515_s09/syll.h
tml

e.

D
escribe how you ensure that the quality of your distance
-
delivered
courses is on par with that of your on
-
campus courses.

The
re are no online or distance
-
delivered graduate courses.



5.

Are your curricula well structured and well integrated?

a.

Contrib
ution of Coursework to Program Student Learning Goals:
Curriculum Maps

Evaluate your curriculum maps: how well do courses map to
program learning goals and vice versa? For example: Do you
require courses that do not strongly contribute to program learning

goals? Are there program student learning goals that are not well
supported by courses in your curriculum? Do required courses from
outside of your department contribute significantly to your student
learning goals?


Sub
-
committees of faculty from all s
ub
-
disciplines of mathematics
represented in our department have discussed the core extensively to
ensure that it address the learning goals for all students. T.A.s are
required to take nine credits per semester, so they often take electives
that may not
be in their specific area.

At this time we have not
completed a curriculum map for the Masters in Math program.

b.

Impact
on

and
of

other programs

If your department offers multiple programs, e.g. several graduate
programs and/or graduate and undergraduat
e programs, evaluate the
effects that those other programs have on the quality and efficiency of
your graduate programs. For example, is there competition for
resources and for faculty time and attention? Are there enhancements
to the graduate program th
at result from the presence of undergraduate
programs?

With dual
-
listed courses in the
f
all and a subsequent graduate course in the
s
pring, we have found that undergraduate students are takin
g more
graduate courses in the s
pring.

c.

Culminating Activity

i.

For

each of your programs, describe the requirement for a
culminating activity, such as a project, thesis, dissertation, or
comprehensive examination. What are the program learning goals
that will be achieved by that activity?


The choice of culminating acti
vity depends on student goals and may be
a comprehensive examination, a project with internship, or a thesis.
Students interested in teaching at the advanced secondary or
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IV. Masters in Mathematics


25

community college level or in transferring to a doctoral program should
follow the th
esis or exam options. Students interested in moving into
private sector or governmental positions requiring advanced knowledge
of statistics, operations research, cryptology, or scientific computing
should consider the exam or project options.

The project
option is for those students interested in becoming
practicing mathematical scientists in the private sector or in
government. It must be related to the internship experience and must
be presented and discussed at a public oral presentation.

The thesis opt
ion is for those students interested in research and who
may want to pursue a Ph.D. in the future. The thesis must be an original
contribution by the student to mathematical knowledge

-

either a new
discovery or a new synthesis of extant knowledge
. The stu
dent must
present and defend the thesis research at a final oral examination.

The exam option is for students interested in advanced study of
mathematics and who may want to pursue further study or teach in the
future.

ii.

Describe and discuss department expe
ctations regarding the quality
and extensiveness of each type of culminating activity.

Students who complete theses and projects have had committees of at
least three people who must approve of their work. In a few cases,
faculty from Geoscience
s
, Enginee
ring and Biology have served on
committees.

iii.

Evaluate the effectiveness of your culminating activities in achieving
your stated goals.

Four students who

completed theses went on to Ph.D
.

programs, and
the remaining students who wrote theses and projects wen
t to jobs in
industry and college level teaching.

During the first few years of the program only one student took the
Exam option. Recently there was a sudden jump in the number of
students taking the Exam option. This has prompted some internal
discuss
ion of why and may lead to program changes.

d.

Community Engagement

i.

What is the department’s philosophy regarding the integration of
community engagement into your graduate programs?

The department encourages comm
unity engagement. Students who

engage in th
e community are rewarded in subsequent letters of
recommendation.

ii.

Describe and evaluate your community engagement activities
that
involve graduate

students.



Two M.S. students visited the Treasure Valley Math and Science Center
to demonst
rate on how mathematical modeling is used in the study of
water flow through the subsurface. Three M.S. students led children
activities at Family Math night at Longfellow Elementary in Boise.

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IV. Masters in Mathematics


26


6.

Describe and evaluate the processes you have in place that en
able effective
planning of your enrollments.

a.

Describe the processes by which you have determined the capacities for
your graduate programs needed to be
responsive

“to the educational needs
of the region” (Charting the Course [CTC])
? How have you assessed
the
needs for your programs, and what were the results of that assessment?

It is difficult to asses the need for the program since the number of students
equals the number of T.A.s. Math graduate students typically do not pay for
their education, because
they typically obtain T.A.s

b.

What other factors enter into enrollment planning for your graduate
programs (e.g., resources, change in strategic focus, etc.)?

We hope to increase the number of T.A.s

c.

Describe recent changes you have made and/or plan to make

in the realm
of “Enrollment Planning” such as increasing or decreasing the capacity of
your graduate programs. What are the reasons for those changes?

With the economic downturn there has been a large increase in inquiries about
the graduate program. We

anticipate that this spring we may have a much
lower acceptance rate for T.A.s. However, we anticipate more students in th
e
program who do not have T.A.s.

d.

Evaluate enrollment, recruitment, and retention data in terms of your
enrollment planning efforts.

Are you being successful? What changes are
needed in your plan and in your operations?




We feel we are successful, and as we graduate successful students there will be
greater demand for our progra
m.

How does your department’s

number of distance off
erings
compare with

Delaware benchmark
data
? How
do distance enrollment
numbers mesh
with your enrollment plans?



The
re are no online or distance
-
delivered graduate courses.


e.

Judicious use of resources

Examine enrollments in your graduate courses. E
xamine the
curricula for your programs. Could you make more efficient use of
faculty time while preserving quality? That is, do you have
“boutique” courses and/or low enrollment courses that could be
discontinued or offered less frequently? Are there wa
ys of
consolidating and/or streamlining your curriculum? Describe any
recent changes you’ve made.

We made the program more efficient in 2007, see attached curriculum
change proposal. The efficiencies did not appear to harm the program,
and the more fre
quent offering of fundamental courses improved our
program.