ESU’S Collaboration Earns Grant to Improve Mathematic Support for Students Across the State System of Higher Education

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Posted by: Elizabeth Richardson on April 1, 2020, No Comments

East Stroudsburg University is one of five partners within the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education that secured a $275,149 Strong Start to Finish grant through the Education Commission of the States, intended to develop and implement an integrated learning support for mathematics.

“This is a wonderful example of the State System’s efforts in system redesign,” said ESU Provost Joanne Z. Bruno, J.D. “It illustrates the value of collaboration to benefit thousands of students across the Commonwealth. The intent of this initiative is to do many things: fast-track a students’ path to graduation, potentially lowering a students’ cost of a degree, and standardize best practices for all State System institutions to use.”

The outcome of the grant will be to develop guidelines that include best practices for curriculum design, learning support implementation and assessment in the field of mathematics. According to the submitted proposal, “The goal of this project is to create a structure to place students identified as requiring developmental mathematics education directly into college-level, credit-bearing courses that count for graduation.”

Some students start college unprepared for the pace and rigor of college-level mathematics, the ESU math department has always worked to support these students. This grant is another recourse to do just that. “My hope for the grant is to provide guidance in developing new techniques, grounded in best practices, for supporting students’ mathematical success,” said Olivia Carducci, professor and chair of ESU’s math department.

“I believe all our students can succeed in mathematics, but they can’t all succeed with the same resources. This Strong Start to Finish Grant will provide additional resources for vulnerable students,” Dr. Carducci added. “The programs developed will increase the students’ confidence, directly impacting their retention and their ability to complete their degrees.”

According to Christina McDonald, ESU’s director of the office of sponsored projects and research and assistant to provost for research, ESU’s share of the grant is $15,000 for faculty effort on the project. McDonald worked as the University’s liaison for this grant with colleagues at the State System office, Bloomsburg, Clarion and Mansfield Universities to write the grant proposal. All participating entities will engage in discussion and work sessions with industry experts and technical assistance providers who have tackled similar challenges in order to develop curricular standardization of mathematics across the State System while taking into account the unique needs of each of PASSHE’s 14 institutions and their students.

“Those of us involved with this grant truly believe the outcomes will be beneficial for all students,” added McDonald. “Our hope is that our combined efforts to provide a consistent mathematics approach will improve overall student progression and campus efficiencies.”