GEMS Designed to Help Students Make the Cut
Multi-Faceted Plan Will Offer Additional Science and Mathematics Resources
Feb. 6, 2008
Rare is the academic voyage at UT Dallas that doesn’t have to sail through the two big C’s: chemistry and calculus.
Because these courses have become monsters of mythological proportion for many freshmen, UT Dallas is making plans to offer students more help.
The University has designed Gateways to Excellence in Math and Science, or GEMS, to give students new resources to master this crucial course material.
GEMS calls for refining the University’s math and science education over the next five years.
“Study after study has shown that part of the problem is the way universities teach science, engineering, and mathematics,” UT Dallas President David Daniel says. (Read the president’s full Viewpoint article here.)
“It’s often sink-or-swim, with insufficient tutoring and little one-on-one peer support and engagement,” Dr. Daniel says. “Our goal is student success, so we’re taking a serious look at how to improve.”
The plan is part of the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) undertaken by the University as a result of its efforts toward reaffirmation of accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Reaffirmation calls for an examination of how UT Dallas can best enhance the student learning experience.
The QEP describes an in-depth, focused five-year effort that UT Dallas will develop with broad-based community support to significantly enhance student learning on the UT Dallas campus.
GEMS is the result of that long-term effort. For a year and a half, a 16-member group of staff, students and faculty members, fielded suggestions for improving student learning before deciding on the GEMS plan.
GEMS calls for the following:
- Course Design and Redesign – Calculus and chemistry classes will be re-evaluated and refined as needed.
- Curriculum Alignment – Course content will be reviewed to make sure it provides students with the knowledge they need for future classes.
- Math and Science Education Council – Faculty members, students, and area community colleges will evaluate student performance in math and science courses and recommend changes if needed.
- GEMS Success Center – UT Dallas will create a center for all aspects of learning, from placement testing to self-paced advanced topics.
- Instructor Development – Faculty, teaching assistants,and supplemental instruction leaders will have opportunities to hone their teaching skills.
- Student Engagement – Redesigned introductory lecture and lab courses will provide more relevant, problem-solving based experiences.
UT Dallas will detail more of its plans for GEMS in the coming weeks.