Reimagining Calculus,

Celebrating Identities,

Supporting Future Life Scientists.

Equitable Calculus for Life Sciences
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Project Summary

Serving students who are overwhelmingly low-income, minority, and first-generation, California State University, Northridge (CSUN), Los Angels Mission College (LAMC), and Los Angeles Valley College (LAVC) plan to develop, implement, and evaluate a novel calculus for life sciences course that supports the elimination of equity gaps in STEM. The new course will embrace culturally responsive pedagogy, contextualization of mathematical content, active and adaptive learning, gamification, and will implement utility value (UV) interventions to increase student achievement motivation. A key project component is fostering underrepresented students’ motivation and STEM identities by identifying connections between student lives and the course content. A near-peer mentorship program across the three institutions will be developed to build student communities and to strengthen the STEM transfer pipeline. Additionally, summer bridge programs will be designed and implemented that will pair mathematical training to biological sciences training and teach students study skills, skills to overcome math anxiety, and to foster a growth mindset orientation. Use of multiple technology tools are planned to mitigate symbolic manipulation. The developed curriculum materials, interventions, and resources will form an open-source course. Professional development resources will be designed to train faculty members in the participating institutions in equitable and inclusive teaching, active and adaptive learning, and in using UV strategies to ensure student success.

Goals of the project

  1. Design and implement a novel, culturally responsive, context-based calculus curriculum for life sciences that supports students’ motivation and engagement in their course.

  2. Develop and implement interventions to support students’ ability beliefs and beliefs about utility value of calculus, and foster students’ sense of belongings in STEM.

  3. Implement a mentorship program for students enrolled in the new “Calculus for Life Sciences” course.

  4. Develop faculty professional development workshops to teach faculty about how to incorporate culturally responsive pedagogy in their courses, as well as support student motivation and success.

  5. Facilitate culture change in Math Departments to close equity gaps in STEM.

Reimagining Calculus, Celebrating Identities, Supporting Future Life Scientists

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