Project Math Paths Nominated for Prestigious Award

In every team and department at Northwest Vista College, there are always great stories to tell that show faculty and staff going above and beyond.

While it’s hard to capture every story, we hope to periodically share in this space some of the major accomplishments or projects that are taking place. Members of the executive team will write about important topics that they feel NVC employees should be made aware of.

Let us know about the positive things your area is doing to help students or improve processes by contacting myself or NVC Public Relations.

– Dr. Ric Baser, NVC President

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Russell Frohardt, Ph.D.
NVC Dean of Arts & Sciences

While many educators would agree that the trifecta curriculum of the 3Rs (reading, writing, and arithmetic) would not be sufficient for K-12 education anymore, let alone higher education; we can all certainly agree that English and Mathematics are foundations that are critical for success in college.

Through my work as the dean of Arts & Sciences at Northwest Vista College, I am continually inspired by the innovation and dedication of our faculty, staff, and leadership who deliver all of the outstanding programs that have led to our No. 1 ranking in the state of Texas. I hope to highlight successes of other departments in future articles, but for now, I would like to recognize those who contribute to the accomplishments of NVC mathematics.

The authors of our Title V grant, Project Math Paths, recognized the importance of incoming college students taking the appropriate math course for their skill level and desired career path, as well as the need for consistent support from faculty and advisors who coach those students through difficulties with math. This includes intensive counseling and facilitated enrollment for all First Time In College (FTIC) students through Vista Central (our recently opened one-stop-shop for math advising), accelerating the developmental math sequence, and creating unique and clear pathways of mathematics courses for students to follow.

Creating those paths and the courses that lead to student success wasn’t easy, especially since the rules, requirements, and resources regarding developmental math continuously change due to state legislative decisions. For example, the recently passed HB 2223 mandates that colleges must enroll any college student whose TSI score places them into a developmental level (Math or English), into a co-requisite model course (developmental course PLUS a freshman-level course), at the rate of 25% by Fall 2018, 50% by Fall 2019, and 75% by Fall 2020. Because our faculty have been working on this issue for years, developing co-requisite courses to facilitate students’ developmental needs, NVC is already meeting the 25% requirement a year ahead of schedule. Many of our peers will be scrambling to figure out how to successfully serve students while addressing the developmental education reductions from the state.

This outstanding work has not gone unnoticed. The Charles A. Dana Center at UT-Austin has recognized our Mathematics and Engineering Department’s approach as a “best practice” nationally, and we just learned that Project Math Paths has been nominated for the prestigious Bellwether Award. The Title V projects show us the possibilities of what can be achieved when we break down silos and collaborate to achieve both academic and student successes.

In addition to the Project Math Paths work and adjusting our developmental math sequences, our faculty tackled changes to dual credit requirements, the complexity of how math fits into the Alamo Institutes advising guides, planning for the new STEM building, a new assessment framework, and a host of other issues over the past year. I want to offer my sincere appreciation to everyone involved in the critical work that we do to make sure that NVC students succeed in mathematics and say how proud I am to be a part of such a committed group

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