Partner Disciplines

Information for: Faculty and chairs in departments other than mathematics, and those conducting outreach to partner disciplines.

Role in Math Pathways

Faculty and departments in other disciplines work with mathematics faculty to ensure that courses within the pathways are designed to prepare students adequately for their programs of study and other quantitative needs in their lives. Partner disciplines set the default or preferred mathematics requirements for their programs.

Listen to a student and a faculty member describe their experiences with courses aligned with the Dana Center Mathematics Pathways Model. 

Essential Ideas

  • Essential Idea 1

    Faculty from partner disciplines play an important role in aligning math pathways to programs of study.

  • Essential Idea 2

    Students benefit from clear, explicit recommendations for the preferred mathematics requirement.

Establishing a system of math pathways at scale requires collaboration across disciplines both within and across institutions. Within an institution, math faculty work with faculty from other disciplines to identify the mathematical needs of programs and design gateway courses to meet those needs. This work extends across institutions as faculty collaborate to establish common mathematics requirements that ensure students are able to apply math credits to degree programs when they transfer.


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Higher education has long operated on the assumption that students are best served by having the freedom to choose from a wide variety of options. However, growing evidence indicates that students benefit from a more structured experience with a small number of clearly defined choices. Many colleges and universities have begun implementing guided or structured pathways.

One of the tenets of guided pathways is that faculty should identify the most appropriate courses to meet general education requirements for programs of study. Often non-mathematically intensive programs allow students to select from a number of different mathematics courses. Consequently, a large number of students take College Algebra, not because the content meets their needs, but because the course is the most familiar and is perceived as allowing greater flexibility.

Identifying a single, clear recommendation does not have to restrict all other alternatives. Institutions can create processes for students to opt out when another option is appropriate.

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