Employee Spotlight: Quantway Math Initiative

Quantway Team 2Congratulations to members of the Quantway initiative at Onondaga Community College for their continued dedication to student success and exploration of new methods of learning. Thanks to their tremendous work, the College will see innovative ways to approach math in the classroom like never before. These employees include Barbara Hoy, Mathematics; Mary Crawford-Mohat, Mathematics; Tim Hartman, Mathematics; Emmanuel Awuah, Instructional Services; and Agatha Awuah, Institutional Planning, Assessment and Research.

Each played a key role in bringing the initiative to Onondaga and advancing the College’s mission of access. When these faculty and administrators at Onondaga set out to improve the success rates of students in developmental math courses, they aimed to think out of the box and explore non-traditional means of teaching the subject.

“The College wants to help students to graduate on time, and it’s always looking for better strategies and best practices to help students pass courses on time,” says Emmanuel Awuah, interim vice president of Instructional Services. “Students come in not prepared for college math – we’re looking for new ways to show them that math is fun and relevant.”

Enter Quantway: a math initiative embraced by eight community colleges across the nation that aspires to produce a better sense of math literacy among community college students. The program, sponsored by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, preaches innovative and practical means of mathematics to liberal arts students rather than forcing them to memorize disconnected processes and procedures.

“Quantway will provide students a real-life context for math,” shares Barbara Hoy, professor of Mathematics and faculty facilitator of the program at Onondaga. “It will help students apply math to their careers and to life in general.”

And all five members agree – this non-credit, developmental math course will aide students in meeting their requirements for graduation. When all is said and done, these students will be ready to take credit-bearing courses in Onondaga’s math curriculum – courses geared toward non-STEM majors in particular.

“The Quantway course uses an integrated, conceptually-based approach with a focus on understanding and reasoning involving active learning strategies,” Hoy explains. “We expect to see improved student success, improved retention, increased motivation, and increased confidence.”

But the program wouldn’t have launched at Onondaga without the seamless collaboration between faculty and administrators. Though each is assigned a particular role in the initiative as a whole, they’ve come together to provide students with something engaging and useful.

“The initiative puts faculty and administrators together as a team for both curriculum and policy issues,” Awuah says. “Administrators handle policy – working on transfer and articulation agreements. The faculty handles the curriculum.”

Hoy echoes Awuah’s sentiments, saying that all have played a part in reducing this crucial roadblock on the path to student success.

“Faculty are working on the lesson plans for the course, and we’re even piloting five of them,” she adds. “Administrators are working on articulation and collecting data about the course to provide to Carnegie.”

Ultimately, the program and collaboration boils down to one goal: student enrichment. And it’s an enrichment that provides students with a sense of math literacy that can serve them for years to come.

“We want students to enjoy math,” Awuah says. “And we want them to see that it’s applicable to everyday life.”

If you would like to see a department or group recognized for their dedication to the College and its students, please consider sharing a future spotlight. These can include everything from an individual that is doing something innovative to a group that is re-engineering systems and processes at College. Contact Vicki Powers in Human Resources at ext. 2377 for more information.