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Mathematics Colloquium

4:00 pm – 4:50 pm
Burnett Hall Room: 115
1220 T St
Lincoln NE 68503
Additional Info: BURN
Steve Cohn, (402) 472-7223,
Speaker: William Velez
Affiliation: University of Arizona
Title: Increasing the number of mathematics majors
Local Host: Tom Marley

Additional Public Info:
Abstract: In the late 1980’s I began my efforts to increase the success rate of minorities in first semester calculus. The interventions that I devised were very time consuming and as the number of minority students increased, I could not manage that kind of effort. I developed my Calculus Minority Advising Program in an effort to meet with scores of minority students each semester. This program consists of a twenty-minute meeting with each student at the beginning of each semester. These meetings with students eventually transformed my own attitude about the importance of mathematics in their undergraduate curriculum.

I took over the position of Associate Head for Undergraduate Affairs in the department in 2003. I set a very modest goal for myself: to double the number of mathematics majors. With more than 600 mathematics majors I have reached that goal. I think the next doubling is going to be much harder to achieve. My work with minority students provided me with the tools to accept this new challenge of working with all students.

This talk will describe my own efforts to encourage ALL of our students that a mathematics major, or adding mathematics as a second major, is a great career choice. I will also describe the support that I have from the university and the department that enables me to carry out these tasks. I will also talk about some of the institutionalization that has occurred that will continue this work after I leave this position.

Refreshments will be served in 348 Avery 3:30-4pm. The talk is free
and open to the public.

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This event originated in Math Colloquia.