June 2016 | Through the Houston Guided Pathways to Success (GPS) initiative, nine Houston-area four- and two-year colleges have worked together to change the path to college degree completion. The math pathways task force focused on addressing core mathematics education of all college students in non-STEM areas of study, by applying Guided Pathways to Success strategies.
The task force convened with one main objective: to ensure that students receive mathematics training appropriate for their intended majors. To meet this goal, the task force developed a plan to identify gateway mathematics courses that could be completed during the first academic year and that act as foundational courses to thematic-based meta-majors.
While foundational courses that benefit a wide variety of majors formed the basis of the task force’s work, identifying the means to implementation at the faculty, department, and institutional levels was a secondary charge.
A particularly important component of the group’s work was providing a clear alternative pathway for non-STEM majors that did not involve College Algebra. As a result of the group’s collaborative efforts, alternative mathematics pathways now exist within the Houston GPS consortium with transfer agreements in place to ensure credit hours are accepted from any participating institution.
“We have ensured that non-STEM majors, which traditionally required college algebra with no clear need, have options that are more closely aligned with their majors” said Jeff Morgan, Associate Provost of Education and Technology at the University of Houston. “Through this effort, we’ve laid the groundwork to allow institutions flexibility in their course offerings, while making it easy for students to complete math requirements toward their degrees.”