General information on the Horizons Project

Pat Rogers (progers@EDU.YorkU.CA)
Sun, 1 Oct 1995 12:11:44 -0400


To: faculty@mathstat.yorku.ca, peter.peskun@mathstat.yorku.ca,
georges@mathstat.yorku.ca, whiteley@mathstat.yorku.ca,
kleiner@yorku.ca, clara@yorku.ca, jslater@calumet.yorku.ca

Last year the Department obtained $20,000 in funding from the Strategic
Initiatives Fund to support several projects which are of immediate
relevance to important decisions we will make this year concerning our
undergraduate curriculum. These projects are summarised below and will
be underway in a couple of weeks, under the guidance of the Horizons
Task Force (Israel Kleiner, Georges Monette, Pete Peskun, Walter
Whiteley, and myself).

I am writing to you now, as chair of the Task Force, to ask you, as we
begin our discussions in the various curriculum committees, to keep
these projects in mind, to think about the kinds of information you
need to have in order to make informed choices and plan wisely, to let
us know what else we should explore, what other data we might gather,
what other projects we might include, . . . .

If you would like more information about the projects below, or if you
would like to contribute in any way at all, please don't hesitate to
contact me or any other member of the task force.

DEPARTMENTAL AUDIT PROJECT

This project seeks to discover who our students are - where they come
from, where they go? Why do some of them transfer into/transfer out of
our programmes? We know from last year's survey that some of our
students would be interested in a Coop programme - what kind of
placements are they interested in? What kinds of student want this
option? What are the skills future employers say they need, and how
are these skills taught in our programmes?

Three undergraduates, preferably from different programmes (ie., pure,
applied, statistics, commerce), will work as a team under the
leadership of a graduate student RA on the following specific tasks:

- gather and analyse data which will paint a portrait of our students
body;
- conduct confidential exit interviews with graduating students as
well as students who drop out of mathematics;
- conduct confidential interviews with students who transfer to
mathematics from other disciplines;
- conduct confidential interviews and/or focus group discussions with
entering students;
- conduct surveys and interviews to assess the needs and interests of
students in a taking a coop programme;
- follow up on the alumni survey from last year and compile
information on the skills employed seek in prospective employees;
- survey instructors to see to what extent these skills are developed
in our programmes.

TRANSITIONS PROJECT

This projectseeks to address the needs of students at two important
transitions: high school to university; and university to the
workplace or graduate work. At the high school/university interface,
we wish to enhance our current liaison efforts with high schools and to
prepare information for prospective students. At the university/work
interface, we plan to build on the alumni survey conducted last year
and to develop better contacts with business, industry and government
and to increase and enhance our current career and graduate infomration
materials for students.

Three undergraduates will work as a team under the leadership of a
graduate student RA on the following specific tasks:

- visit a variety of local high schools to interview guidance
counselors, teachers and students to assess what kind of information
students need to know before choosing to pursue a university
mathematics education;

- compile the information suggested by the school visits;

- revise and expand our existing careers binder and prepare two new
sections, one on careers requiring an applied mathematics degree and
another on careers requiring a graduate degree;

- revise the "How to Apply to Graduate School" binder

- prepare all information gathered above for insertion in the
department's home page on the WWW;

- monitor the Internet, particularly the young mathematcians network,
to identify areas of concern of current students, to solicit and
download suitable information;

- contact alumni and other representatives of the world of work and
develop a networking service for undergraduates seeking career advice.

STUDENT ASSISTANTS

So far we have hired two graduate research assistants: Tine Haller and
Clara Auyeung; and we have hired two undergraduates: Jonathan Slater
and Liat Jacobs. (both are math majors). Four positions are still
available to undergraduate students working up to 10h per week for 18
weeks @ $10/h. If you know of any capable students whom you would
recommend for these positions, please tell them about the project and
ask them to call me at 736-5002.

Preferred qualifications: familiarity with programmes in mathematics
and statistics, ability to work as a member of a team, personal skills
for interviewing and leading focus group discussions, reliable and
discrete (some information may be confidential), skills at written and
visual presentation of information, computer skills including
familiarity with using the Internet and conducting data-base searches
an asset, sensitivity to issues of recruitment of aboriginal persons,
differently abled persons, visible minorites and women as mathematics
majors.

--

Pat Rogers Faculty of Education and Department of Mathematics & Statistics York University, 4700 Keele St., North York, Ontario, Canada M3J 1P3 Tel: (416) 736-5009 Fax: (416) 736-5913 E-mail: progers@edu.yorku.ca