The Future of Math & Stats at York-an invitation

Pat Rogers (progers@EDU.YorkU.CA)
Thu, 14 Dec 95 01:50:55 -0500


The Mathematics and Statistics Restructuring Committee
invites you to a retreat to discuss:

THE FUTURE OF MATHEMATICS AND STATISTICS AT YORK

on Thursday, January 4

9:30am to 4:OO pm

(location on campus to be announced)

PLEASE RSVP TO ANNA CAVALIERE BY MONDAY, DEC 18 AT THE LATEST

(Note: We need firm numbers for catering and room choice as soon as possible)

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THE CONTEXT

* Our courses are being "watched" by knife-bearing administrators who propose
cuts without any regard to the academic integrity or viability of our
programme.

* In less than 2 years we will be asked to undertake another undergraduate
programme review in which our remaining programme will be subjected to intense
scrutiny and quite possibly censure if we are not very careful in our forward
planning.

* Some of our members seem to adopt a "gate-keeper" role as though many of our
majors are going to be graduate students and many of the latter are going to
be professors. Since we cannot take either of these for granted in the
current climate of economic misery, public scrutiny and calls for more
accountability, we can no longer pride ourselves, if we ever did, on our
ability to weed out students and teach only those we wish to teach. If we
continue on this path we'll end up, if we're lucky, a service department. Is
this what we want?

* We have some excellent students, and an increased flexibility as we change
from 1/2 courses and full courses to a credit system with possibilities for
core lectures with distinct "add-ons" for different groups of students.

* Several studies now being undertaken at York by ISR and also by our own
Horizons teams will shed light on "what our students want" and the likely
effect of higher fees on their demands.

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THE OPPORTUNITY

A retreat is a chance to reflect, to talk at length about these and other
problems we face as a community of scholars who care about the future of our
discipline and believe that we are the ones best suited to service other
deparment's needs. In a retreat all ideas are welcome and explored because
they may lead to new and exciting ways to do what we do best and to replace
what has not been working.

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THE AGENDA

9:30 am
Coffee and muffins

9:45 - 10:30 am REFLECTION ON THE CONTEXT FOR CHANGE
Reflection on our current programme, identification of what works and where we
need to rethink.

- who are our students, what programmes do they take, how well are we serving
their needs as well as our own?
- what activities do we want to engage in?
- what interactions should we pursue with other departments, how and for what
purpose? (Science, Atkinson, Glendon, other?)
- recruitment, retention (an even greater problem?), where are the problem
areas, what are the problems, how do we respond to them?

We are preparing a 'data sheet' (enrolments by program and year, number of
degrees awarded etc.) - and will try to provide any information people request
IN ADVANCE.

10:30am - 12:00 noon CRAZY IDEA SESSION
Bring those crazy ideas that you believe in, nothing will be rejected, the
best ideas are often the craziest. We need ideas for alternative ways to offer
courses and innovative ways to reduce our course offering so that cuts can be
made in rational ways leaving behind a viable and attractive programme that
offers students some flexibility and a good mathematics learning environment.

12:00 noon - 1:30 LUNCH
A light lunch will be catered, providing an opportunity to talk more
informally, and afterwards to visit your office, read your mail and catch up
on e-mail if you wish.

1:30pm - 3:00 pm DEVELOPING IDEAS FOR RESTRUCTURING
Small groups will work on specific topics that arise in the morning
discussions, compare the crazy ideas with our current context, what problems
might they solve, what solutions might we devise?

3:00pm WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
Small groups report, followed by a discussion of the ideas which hold out most
promise.

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FOLLOW UP

Departments are required to submit tentative restructuring plans to the Dean
by mid-February. The final session of the retreat will set the agenda for the
Restructuring Committee which will develop a preliminary report for discussion
by the Department in late January. This will then inform the Department's
tentative restructuring plan. A full report with proposals for discussion and
possible adoption by Department Council will be prepared by the end of May.
We should then be in a good position to develop concrete proposals for passage
through the various levels of curriculum committees and for initial
implementation in the 1997-98 academic year.

Pat Rogers
Chair, Restructuring Committee

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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