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Valparaiso University Receives Grant to Introduce Interdisciplinary Math Curriculum

Aug. 3, 2021 – Valparaiso, Indiana – Valparaiso University will transform its foundational mathematics curriculum through a three-year grant totaling nearly $300,000 from the National Science Foundation as part of the Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE) program.

Valpo will develop an interdisciplinary, corequisite model some of which will be unique to any university. This approach will allow students to take mathematics courses at the same time as more than 30 courses across the University that used to have mathematics as a prerequisite.

“Through this corequisite curriculum, Valpo students will have the opportunity to understand important mathematical concepts and their relevance to other disciplines, pursue their desired majors from day one and graduate in a timely fashion,” said Zsuzsanna Szaniszlo, Ph.D., professor of mathematics and statistics.

In addition to the change in curriculum, Valpo faculty will learn new methods to engage and support students, including underrepresented groups in STEM, by participating in Faculty Learning Communities. Faculty will discuss interdisciplinary projects and mastery-based grading systems to increase the comprehension and application of course concepts.

“Our dedicated faculty constantly seek new ways to better equip our students for the professional world and influence the trajectory of higher education,” said Eric W. Johnson ’87, Ph.D., provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “Through this curriculum change, Valpo places itself on the forefront of corequisite learning, enabling our students to engage their interests while mastering the fundamentals.”

This project will fill gaps in the literature regarding how smaller liberal arts institutions can adopt the most effective teaching and curriculum models for foundational mathematics. Valpo will present findings at local workshops and national conferences to enable other institutions to adopt the model.