Some Reflections on the Interaction of Mathematics Programs at Two-and Four-Year Colleges
Increasing numbers of students will transfer from two to four year colleges. In light of this, two and four year mathematics faculties need to sharpen their understanding of each other and to plan improved interaction.
For the most part, faculties at tow and four year schools live in separate worlds. Part of the reason is mutual uncomfortableness rooted in mutual sterotyping: the TYCer is suspected of being standardless and/or of being a pseudo mathematician; the university professor is viewed as aloof and in effective with undergraduate students.
Both groups need to come to recognize that the other has unique and important contributions to make in a dialogue. The TYCer needs to visit the four year campus regularly—and teach and work there from time to time—to re-experience the environment his transfer students will encounter. The university faculty need to recognize—and learn from—the outstanding teaching that generally takes place at two year colleges. The groups need to work together on a variety of projects and programs that can benefit each of them and students. In particular, they need to interact in discussions of mutual curriculum and standards, of entry level preparation of incoming students, and of details of mandated state curricula, where such exist.
Mutual respect is the best foundation for future cooperation. Interaction, particularly at the local level, is the best way to promote respect. The principal professional mathematics organizations, where necessary changing their policies and emphases and encouraging attitudinal change in their members. In short, for a relationship to work, the partners need to see each other as equals.
KeywordsFaculty Member Community College Mathematics Faculty Incoming Student Transfer Student
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