Since 2015, OSU has undertaken two major Undergraduate Student Success Initiative (USSI) efforts. First, a fundraising initiative in partnership with the OSU Foundation to raise $150 million to support student success and second, a series of academic interventions intended to bolster student success directly through expanded student support services, particularly related to advising and financial aid, or indirectly through changes in learning models and provision to instructors and administrators of better and more timely data.
Oregon State recently hosted the 2019 Undergraduate Student Success Summit focusing on five themes: Transition experiences, financial aid and scholarships, faculty-student engagement, curricular excellence and experiential learning. The Department of Mathematics made several contributions to the event. The event brought together administrators, faculty, graduate students and undergraduate students to discuss ways to enhance the student experience and outcomes at OSU. Katy Williams, Instructor of mathematics, enjoyed the sense of community that was created by the summit.
“What I really enjoyed about the event was the fact that everyone was brought together. It was like we all had a seat at the table. There aren’t many instances in which instructional faculty, administrators, and support staff all get to be in the same room and discuss strategies for student success. That was really exciting and I hope there will be more of this in the future!” -Katy Williams
Mathematics instructors Sara Clark, Lyn Riverstone and Katy Williams, presented a talk on Fostering Community in College Algebra. The instructors, along with a panel of current and former College Algebra students, discussed how the students in College Algebra make lasting friendships, build mathematical confidence and become more self-reliant in their learning. Williams felt that “bringing in student voices really gave a unique perspective on active learning, the student experience in College Algebra, and the community in our classes.”
Several members of the Mathematics Department also gave lighting talks at the summit. Wendy Aaron, Mathematics & Statistics Learning Center (MSLC) Coordinator, gave a presentation about the student support provided in the MSLC. Graduate student Naveen Somasunderam, along with Professor Vrushali Bokil, provided an overview of the directed reading program network which pairs undergraduate student and graduate student mentors to explore interesting mathematical readings. Finally, Senior Instructor Dan Rockwell, presented along with Susan Fein of Ecampus about digital photo hunts in online College Algebra.