National Work


All students deserve to be served by a system that innovates in both meaningful and sustainable ways. National work overview: The Dana Center Mathematics Pathways (DCMP) enacts the Charles A. Dana Center’s mission to serve all students including those traditionally underserved through the multiple mathematics pathways approach. This approach prepares all students to use mathematical and quantitative reasoning skills in their careers and personal lives, enables timely progress toward completion of a certificate or degree, and develops empowered mathematical learners.

No one organization can take on this challenge. It takes the coordinated effort of stakeholders at multiple levels of the higher education ecosystem to enact structural, curricular, and pedagogical change at scale. Through the Dana Center Mathematics Pathways, we are leading a national movement to implement multiple math pathways on behalf of all students. We call upon the field to join us in this joyful conspiracy.


Our Approach

Engage and mobilize stakeholders to action.

We engage highly regarded math educators from across the country to develop and vet our materials and, in so doing, mobilize educators in attaining consensus and proof points for multiple math pathways. In addition, through numerous presentations, workshops, speeches, and consulting activities, we engage with stakeholders to listen and respond to the needs of the field; we build awareness and enlist stakeholders in joining the movement.

Work with and through organizations with broader reach to help build the capacity of the field.

We work with organizations—including those representing developmental educators, mathematicians, policymakers, postsecondary administrators, and systems—as allies with a common mission of serving all students. We work with our collaborators to build the capacity of the field and increase momentum for sustainable change. The Dana Center maintains rich connections to Transforming Post-Secondary Education Math (TPSE Math), the leading professional associations of mathematicians, and major higher education professional associations—all of which have projects underway or in planning phases that build directly on DCMP policy and practice resources and improvement strategies.

Build coalitions among stakeholders with diverse resources and relationships.

Building coherence in the field by bringing diverse stakeholders together which strengthens the multiple mathematics pathways movement. Some of our coalition-building initiatives are described below.

Put research into action.

Research findings are only useful insomuch as they can be translated into action. The Dana Center is a link between research communities and on-the-ground educators. We help identify realistic solutions based on evidence and develop resources to support implementation. Equally important, we help communicate findings and strategies across a broad spectrum of stakeholders to build awareness, reach consensus, advocate for policy change, and continuously improve our own work.

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Building National Momentum

The Joyful Conspiracy has helped bring mathematics pathways to forefront of national discussions about how to modernize undergraduate mathematics programs and build better structures for how students enter into college generally. Mathematics professional associations and mathematics leaders have stepped forward to legitimize math pathways and higher education organizations and institutions are collaborating to support action.


Mathematics Leaders Advocate for Pathways

  • IMPACT: Improving Mathematical Prowess And College Teaching


  • Common Vision 2025

    American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges, American Mathematical Society, American Statistical Association, Mathematical Association of America, and Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics

  • Transforming Post-Secondary Education in Mathematics

    (TPSE Math)

  • Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences


The 2018 IMPACT: Improving Mathematical Prowess And College Teachingview full resourceDownload provides recommendations and a framework for improving mathematics education in the first two years of college. The American Mathematical Association of Two–Year Colleges (AMATYC) presents guidance on enhancing the mathematical prowess of students and how to continuously improve teaching.

Key themes include four pillars enabling student–centered change:

  • Proficiency: Developing students’ mathematical knowledge
  • Ownership: Taking responsibility and showing initiative
  • Engagement: Developing intellectual curiosity and motivation in learning mathematics
  • Student Success: Stimulating student achievement in mathematics

Additionally, the publication shares examples of collaborative innovation. The Dana Center’s role in the innovation of mathematics education, explored in chapter seven, covers a model for accomplishing effective change. This model focuses on five key elements of change: The work must be (1) student–centered, (2) policy–enabled, (3) administratively–supported, (4) culturally–reinforced, and (5) educator–driven.

Support for math pathways

The IMPACT publication draws on takeaways from the Dana Center’s Mathematics Pathways work, which leverages effective strategies for change. Dana Center Manager Amy Getz recognizes that mathematics pathways work at the local, cross–institutional, and state–wide levels “takes time and commitment and needs someone to manage the process to make sure that important details that might negatively impact students are anticipated and avoided” (p. 66).

For more information on companion resources, please visit the AMATYC website:

The Common Vision project brought together leaders from the five largest professional associations of mathematical sciences to identify the areas of consensus in their instructional policy documents and to develop common action agendas for implementation. Dana Center Executive Director Uri Treisman is a member of the project’s leadership team. Common Vision culminated in a two-and-a-half-day workshop in May 2015 at the ASA headquarters in the Washington, DC, area. Over 50 participants represented the five aforementioned mathematical sciences associations, partner STEM disciplines, and industry. Seventy-five department chairs and professional society leaders developed policy recommendations that were submitted to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy in Summer 2015.

Support for math pathways

The coalition published a report,  A Common Vision for Undergraduate Mathematical Science Programs in 2025view full resourceDownloadFile, calling for “multiple pathways into and through mathematical sciences curricula, some of which should include early exposure to statistics, modeling, and computation” (p. 13).

Further work, drawing upon thought leaders AMATYC, is the Winter 2018 IMPACT: Improving Mathematical Prowess And College Teachingview full resourceDownload. This report presents clear guidance on enhancing the mathematical prowess of students and how to continuously improve teaching in the first two years of college.

For more information on companion resources, please visit the AMATYC website:

The Dana Center works closely with TPSE Math, which is an informal group of mathematicians interested in making constructive changes in mathematics education. Members include Phillip A. Griffiths, Institute for Advanced Study, convener; Eric Friedlander, University of Southern California; S. James Gates, Jr., University of Maryland at College Park and PCAST; Mark Green, UCLA; Tara Holm, Cornell University; Karen Saxe, Macalester College; and Uri Treisman, The University of Texas at Austin.

The symbolic power of this group of six renowned mathematicians, scientists, and educators coming together to focus on improving undergraduate math education has garnered attention from the mathematics field. TPSE Math’s vision for the collective efforts of the broader math community is for postsecondary mathematics education to enable any student, regardless of his or her chosen program of study, to develop the mathematical knowledge and skills necessary for productive engagement in society and in the workplace. Since its inaugural meeting in June 2014, TPSE Math has demonstrated convening authority and is a magnet for rising leaders in the math community.

The establishment of a Mathematics Advisory Group (MAG) marks the evolution of TPSE Math from information-gathering activities toward a more action-oriented role. The MAG will spearhead an effort to carry out, scale up, and evaluate the effectiveness of major reforms.

Support for math pathways

TPSE Math has identified mathematics pathways as one area of focus. At the initial meeting of TPSE MAG, participants discussed pathways as one of the primary reforms for future action.

The CBMS represents 17 professional societies, all of which promote efforts related to mathematics. Its purpose is to promote understanding and cooperation among these national organizations in their efforts to promote research, improve education, and expand the uses of mathematics. The CBMS seeks to provide a forum for the discussion of issues of broad concern to the mathematical sciences community and has embraced the multiple mathematics pathways approach as one to bring to the forefront of their memberships.

Support for math pathways

The CBMS member society presidents expressed support for the collective efforts of several initiatives including TPSE Math and Common Vision 2025 in a statement. The CBMS is also a partner in the Advancing Mathematics Pathways for Student Success initiative (see below for more information).

Higher Education Coalitions Identify Math Pathways as a Critical Reform

  • The Core Principles and the National Partners Collaborative

  • Advancing Mathematics Pathways for Student Success

The Dana Center was a central organizer of the recently published Core Principles for Transforming Remediation within a Comprehensive Student Success Strategy, which formally links the Center to a new collaborative of influential organizations working to ensure that higher education serves as a reliable vehicle for students’ upward social and economic mobility. Uri Treisman, the Dana Center’s executive director, has been chosen as chair of the new entity by the participating organizations—American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), Achieving the Dream (ATD), Complete College America (CCA), Community College Research Center (CCRC), Education Commission of the States (ECS), Jobs for the Future (JFF), National Association for Developmental Education (NADE), and Public Agenda.

The Dana Center, AACC, ATD, CCA, CCRC, ECS, JFF, NADE, and Public Agenda--informally known as the National Partners Collaborative--are currently engaged in strategic planning of a joint initiative focused on the implementation of the Core Principles for Transforming Remediation within a Comprehensive Student Success Strategy. The Collaborative sees the Core Principles as addressing essential impediments to upward economic and social mobility for hundreds of thousands of students entering America’s community colleges.

The Dana Center’s existing work in a number of states will contribute significantly to the National Partners Collaborative’s progress toward scaling the Core Principles. Our math and scaling expertise is seen as critical to building faculty engagement and removing policy barriers to pathways implementation.

Support for math pathways...

Three of the six Core Principles connect to mathematics pathways, calling for alignment of gateway mathematics courses to programs of study and acceleration to college-level math through corequisite models.

The AMPSS coalition is structured to coordinate action across colleges and universities, mathematics, and policy. It comprises the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), National Association of System Heads, American Association of Community Colleges, Charles A. Dana Center, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, College Board of Mathematical Sciences, and Complete College America.

This unique coalition leverages these organizations’ diverse interests and expertise to expand efforts to modernize the study of college-level mathematics to national scale. Over the next five years, the AMPSS partnership intends to mount a national effort to increase postsecondary student success in courses leading to overall college completion by galvanizing, coordinating, and scaling up new and existing successful efforts to expand mathematics pathways. The coalition aims to engage 30 to 40 states directly with significant work and expects that these states will move deep into implementation, with new courses and pathways (and students enrolled in them), with data on increased student success—including underrepresented students.

Support for math pathways...

The AMPPS vision is that: All students desiring public postsecondary education will have options to receive the rigorous mathematics instruction that is most relevant to their chosen programs of study, whether begun at a community college or 4-year institution; there will be seamless transfer of mathematics credits from 2-year to 4-year institutions contributing to greater student course and degree completion.

William Kirwan
"At a time when college completion has become a national priority, the Dana Center is an invaluable resource for removing barriers to degree attainment for vast numbers of students."
Ph.D., Chancellor Emeritus of the University System of Maryland, Executive Director, Advancing Mathematics Pathways for Student Success

Our Work at the State Level

Select a state to learn more about how local leaders are setting a vision for math pathways or read an analysis of math pathways work across multiple states.