Dual Grants Totalling $750,000 to Fund Progressive Math Programs at BMCC

September 28, 1998


BMCCªs Department of Mathematics has been awarded a $280,000 grant from the Department of Education for an innovative program that uses state-of-the-art technology to teach a higher level of analytic skills. A second grant of $470,000 was awarded for a collaborative program aimed at increasing the number of minority students in mathematics.

Borough of Manhattan Community Collegeªs Department of Mathematics has been awarded $750,000 in grants for two new programs. The first will give students access to the latest technologies as they train for careers in mathematics and business.

The second new program, in collaboration with two other colleges in the City University of New York system, is being created with an eye toward attracting more minority students into careers in the mathematical sciences.

A $280,000 grant from the Department of Educationªs Fund for the Improvement of Post Secondary Education will give BMCC students access to state-of-the-art technology such as computer animations, software and the latest calculators. Patricia Wilkinson, chair of BMCCªs mathematics department, says this modern approach to teaching will result in better job skills for students.

“Many of our students taking math courses are studying for business degrees,” Wilkinson says. “And businesses are telling us that one of the most important skills the recent graduate sometimes lacks, a skill thatªs necessary in the business world, is the ability to communicate effectively.”

“With this grant,” Wilkinson says, “weªre not only creating projects that will involve the students in using technology, but weªre requiring them to reflect on the application of that technology through portfolio work, written and oral presentations. We want them to learn computer skills and math, but we also want them to learn to think and to communicate.”

The second grant awarded to BMCCªs mathematics department provides for a collaborative program with math departments at Queensborough Community College and Medgar Evers College. The goal of the program is to increase the number of minority students in the mathematical sciences by strengthening courses taught by the three departments.

The grant from the Minority Science Improvement Program will, as Wilkinson says, “allow the three colleges to meet with each other, share information and synthesize whatªs been successful into a model program.”

“All three schools have a strong minority presence in the mathematics programs,” Wilkinson says. “What we want to do is better coordinate classes in calculus and algebra, increase the studentsª research activities and improve the three schoolsª mathematics programs. This strengthens all three programs and makes them even more viable for minority students.”

The Minority Science Improvement Program grant is for three years, from 1998 to 2000.

Borough of Manhattan Community College, the most diverse community college in the history of The City University of New York, provides quality programs and services in Lower Manhattan to nearly 17,000 students in 20 degree programs. Nationwide, BMCC ranks #1 in awarding associateªs degrees to African Americans, #2 in awarding associateªs degrees to minorities and #5 in awarding associateªs degrees to Latinos.

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