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What troubles me about not requiring algebra is twofold:

1. Many students make drastic career changes along the way; a liberal arts
student won't necessarily stay that way. If a student wants to go on to
graduate school, the GRE is often a requirement. The GRE tests a student's
algebra mastery. Retention and alumni satisfaction can be impacted when
students suddenly realize they should have taken algebra along the way. 

2. I think omitting algebra feeds into the "math is impossible" sentiment I
hear from students. Algebra is not impossible. A student might have to
refresh skills that go back to addition and subtraction, but it is not an
impossible achievement. 

-----Original Message-----
From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Williams, Kathy
Sent: Monday, January 08, 2007 9:32 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Math for Liberal Arts Majors

Ah, now we have a conversation going! There are some careers that do not
call for algebraic skills, so why force students in particular majors to
learn them? Personally, I think it is a disservice to force students to
take and pay for a class that many of them fail and have to take
repeatedly, which often leads to a host of problems.

Luckily, I attended college in the day when colleges and universities
weren't forcing students to take an algebra course, so I had only to
pass a basic math skills course with just a very little algebra thrown
in for . . . the sake of knowledge, I suppose.

Dr. Ciervo, why do you consider this a disservice to higher education?

In addition, I would have to say that there are many factors that are
turning our country into a service economy and I would not lay the blame
for that at the feet of higher ed. I guess that is another convo,
though.

Kathy A. Williams, M.A.
Academic Skills Coordinator
Transition & University Services
Eastern Kentucky University
SSB 323, CPO 64
521 Lancaster Avenue
Richmond, KY 40475-3164
Phone: (859) 622-8860
Fax: (859) 622-5887

-----Original Message-----
From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Robert Ciervo
Sent: Monday, January 08, 2007 8:43 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Math for Liberal Arts Majors

Any institution of higher learning that "wisely" recognizes that alegbra
is
not a necessary requirement for its students to master, is in my opinion
doing a tremendous disservice to higher education and only adds fuel to
the
engine that is turning our country into a service economy and
outsourcing
employment opportunities that require any thought and logic overseas.

Increasing retention by "dumbing down" the curriculum is not only
ridiculous, but grossly negligent in my opinion and any "consultant" who
makes this recommendation should be ignored.

Robert L. Ciervo, Ph.D., Director
Rutgers-Camden Learning Center
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey-Camden
231 Armitage Hall
311 N. Fifth Street
Camden, NJ 08102
(856) 225-2722
(856) 225-6443 fax
[log in to unmask]

-----Original Message-----
From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Teresa Farnum
Sent: Sunday, January 07, 2007 2:34 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Math for Liberal Arts Majors

Greetings,
I am trying to accumulate a list of institutions that have wisely
recognized
that algebra is not a necessary requirement for numeracy and solid
quantitative reasoning skills.

If your general education requirement includes an option of "Mathematics
for
Liberal Arts Majors" or some similar title, does NOT have a prerequisite
of
algebra, and serves as the terminal math course for non-science majors,
I
would appreciate hearing from you.

As a consultant working with colleges and universities to increase
student
learning, success, and satisfaction with an expected goal of increasing
retention and graduation rates, it is clear to me--a former professor of
mathematics--that we, in this country, are doing an incredible
disservice to
students who will not need algebra (which is simply a tool for more
advanced
mathematical study).  It is appalling to me the number of lives we
impact
negatively by requiring algebra of liberal arts majors.

Please share success stories at your institutions.  Thank you!


Teresa
Teresa Farnum & Associates

Your Change Agent to Recruit and Graduate Students
Denver, Colorado
Phone: 303-248-3011
Fax:     303-248-3549

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