Quantitative literacy, curriculum, liberal arts, faculty development, assessment


We describe a quantitative literacy (QL) program at Colby-Sawyer College, a small, residential, liberal arts college in New Hampshire. This program has grown rapidly from a traditional math curriculum to a college-wide understanding of quantitative literacy and voluntary participation by many faculty members in all departments. More than 80% of the faculty agreed that it would be useful for students to be able to use quantitative skills in their courses, but only 24 % thought students were capable of doing very well in mathematics. Twenty-three faculty members attended a summer workshop, funded by NSF, DUE # 0633133, in which they created QL modules for their courses. These participants represented five departments and 13 different disciplines. Modules were created in Biology, Business, Chemistry, Education, English, Environmental Studies, History, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, and Writing. In addition to assessment of individual modules, a college-wide assessment tool will be administered to first-year students and seniors by participating faculty members. We believe that the rapid growth and success of our program is perhaps due to a combination of characteristics of our institution and our approach. These characteristics include: Involving as many people as possible from many different disciplines from the beginning; a culture of collaboration and innovation at Colby-Sawyer; a supportive administration; the support of NSF that allows concentrated and focused time for faculty with heavy teaching loads; and a faculty focus on the scholarship of teaching.



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