Augsburg Awarded $237,851 to Collaborate with Partner Disciplines on Calculus Curriculum

Augsburg College has been awarded $237,851 over 5 years as part of a $2.6 million National Science Foundation grant to fund the project Collaborative Research: A National Consortium for Synergistic Undergraduate Mathematics via Multi-institutional Interdisciplinary Teaching Partnerships (SUMMIT-P) led by Dr. Susan Ganter at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.  Eleven colleges and universities, including Augsburg, will form a consortium to renew the lower division undergraduate mathematics curriculum based on research about the needs of partner disciplines. The project studies the role of interdisciplinary and inter-institutional faculty learning communities in building collaborations for meaningful curricular change. At each institution, mathematics and partner discipline faculty will collaborate to understand recommendations from the (prior) Curriculum Foundations (CF) project, determine how these recommendations can be used to effectively improve the content of affected courses, introduce modifications in pilot sections, work with a central evaluation team to measure the effectiveness of new approaches especially as pertains to students from underrepresented groups, offer workshops and support for instructors using these new curricula (locally, regionally, and nationally), and scale-up these new offerings within the consortium and through dissemination to additional campuses.

The CF recommendations rest on two pillars: contextualizing problem solving and active learning, both of which align with Augsburg’s curriculum and commitment to student learning.  The Augsburg team, headed by Dr. Suzanne Dorée, will work with science and economics/business faculty to renew the 3-semester calculus sequence.  They will increase the relevance and frequency of applications in the courses; adapt and develop materials to make the quantitative labs the primary focus of the courses; and examine the ordering of topics to better mesh with the timing needed by the partner disciplines. The team will also support mathematics review when needed in introductory courses in the partner disciplines and the existing calculus workshop that has successfully supported students from underrepresented groups in STEM, and will bolster the transition from pre-calculus to calculus. The Augsburg team includes Dr. Jody Sorensen and Dr. Pavel Bělík, also from Mathematics & Statistics; Dr. Joan Kunz from Chemistry; and Dr. Stella Hofrenning from Economics.  Drs. Dorée and Hofrenning also serve on the national leadership team for the project where Dr. Hofrenning will lead multiple institutional collaborations with Business, Economics, and Social Science.

Editor’s Note: This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1625142. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

 

Mathematics Professor to Collaborate on NSF Grant

Congratulations to Dr. John Zobitz, Associate Professor of Mathematics, who will be participating as a Fellow in “Engaging Mathematics,” a NSF TUES funded project led by Wm. David Burns of SENCER (NSF ID: 1322883).

The Engaging Mathematics project will develop curricula that connects learning in mathematics courses to real and relevant local, regional, national and global issues and thus greatly improve students’ retention of the specific mathematics concepts and skills, along with their understanding of the role of mathematical modeling and quantitative literacy in everyday life. Dr. Zobitz will work in partnership with colleagues at two and four year colleges and universities locally and nationally to develop learning experiences across the mathematics curriculum.

To learn more about this project, please contact Dr. Zobitz at zobitz@augsburg.edu.

Editor’s Note: This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1322883. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Biology and Mathematics Professors Receive NSF Grant to Purchase Instruments for Plant Ecophysiology Research

Dr. Ann Impullitti, Assistant Professor of Biology, received a $122,684 Major Research Instrumentation Grant from NSF’s Division of Biological Infrastructure, and a $52,400 from the LiCor Environmental Education Fund (LEEF).

The funds will be used to purchase a suite of instruments for plant ecophysiology research.  Dr. Impullitti and her Co-Principal Investigators, Dr. John Zobitz, Associate Professor of Mathematics, and Dr. Dean Malvick, University of Minnesota, will use the instrumentation to investigate the physiology of economically important plants infected by fungi and study mathematical modeling of ecophysiological processes. Research activities will explore: 1) the physiology and productivity of economically important plants colonized by pathogens that do not cause symptoms of disease; 2) the functional role of endophytes in plants; 3) the impact of sublethal infections by soil-borne pathogens of roots on plant productivity; and 4) the measurement of leaf-level physiological processes to parameterize ecosystem models of carbon cycling.

The instruments will be used for faculty research and undergraduate research in plant biology, environmental science, and mathematics.  Students interested in research will have opportunities to be involved in quantitative data analysis in biology and mathematics, and research in a field and/or lab. The instrument will also improve collaborative and interdisciplinary research projects with faculty at the University of Minnesota.  Results from these collaborations will improve our understanding of plant-fungal interactions, and will be applied to improving soybean yield and productivity, an important model plant due to its economic importance and growth throughout the U.S.


Editor’s Note: 
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DBI-1337582. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.