SUMMIT-P: Using Faculty Learning Communities at Lee University

Caroline Maher-Boulis
Professor of Mathematics
Lee University

In conjunction with the Committee on Curriculum Renewal Across the First Two Years (CRAFTY) of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) and SUMMIT-P, faculty at Lee University is working to revise and improve the lower division undergraduate mathematics curriculum. Specifically in Introduction to Statistics, Concepts of Math I and II (for education majors) and Algebra for Calculus courses. The key element of these innovations is interdisciplinary partnerships, with partner disciplines directly involved in decisions about curricular needs. The Lee team is collaborating to:
• Implement major recommendations from the MAA Curriculum Foundations (CF) Project;
• Foster a network of faculty in order to promote shared experiences and ideas for successfully creating functional interdisciplinary partnerships;
• Change the undergraduate mathematics curriculum in ways that support improved STEM learning for all students; and,
• Monitor and measure impact on faculty and students.

Guiding Questions
The project examines the effects of interdisciplinary partnerships to impact curricular change. Specifically, the project is addressing the following research questions:
1. What are the beliefs of Lee faculty concerning the importance of interdisciplinary collaborations, particularly in relation to curriculum development/improvement in lower division undergraduate courses?
2. To what extent is Lee implementing and supporting interdisciplinary collaborations?
3. To what extent have faculty learning communities (FLCs) been created and maintained on Lee’s campus?
4. To what extent have the affected courses and student learning/attitudes in those courses improved?

Lee University has revised and improved instruction in Introduction to Statistics, Algebra for Calculus and Concepts of Math courses. Partner discipline colleagues are directly involved in decisions about curricular changes, with FLCs using fishbowl discussions, wish lists, and site visits. The Algebra for Calculus course has been revised to be a four-credit course instead of three, with changes made to include material content needed in science courses. Interdisciplinary interventions have been created and used in all of the forementioned courses.

Broader Impacts
The consortium has impacted over 40,000 undergraduate students and 250 college faculty across 22 distinct courses and 15 unique partner disciplines. Lee faculty have disseminated the knowledge from and processes used in the emerging SUMMIT-P model via webinars, conference presentations, and peer-reviewed articles, authored by multidisciplinary, multi-institutional teams in the form of a) eight peer-reviewed publications; b) three MAA Themed Contributed Paper Sessions; c) numerous conference presentations and sessions in Lee’s Center of Teaching Excellence and Symposium; d) three posters in the national Joint Mathematics Meetings; and e) a national MAA Webinar. The consortium has a forthcoming scholarly volume (to be published in the MAA Notes series) that contains detailed application-based units for adoption in mathematics courses at a wide variety of institutional types.


Bryan Poole, Lee University