“Sines” of a growing mathematics department

Students interested in mathematics now do not have to seek other schools to earn a Bachelor of Science focusing on applied or secondary mathematics. This program was recently added to the course catalog at Washington State University Vancouver.

Since the fall of 2014, upper division courses that fulfill graduation requirements for the mathematics major have been offered at WSU Vancouver. Some of these classes were on campus and some were available only through video conferencing with Pullman. With the expansion of the mathematics program, every course necessary is offered on the Vancouver campus on a two-year rotation.

The list of on-campus math courses will include Math 340, 364, 401, 402, 403, 415, 420, 421, 432, 464 and 466.

Since mathematics and statistics are fundamental to other degrees offered at WSU Vancouver, a lot of these classes were already being taught to meet the demand for other majors.

Across the state, the demand for graduates trained in mathematics and other STEM fields is on the rise, according to a 2015 survey. Realizing this, WSU administrators say they have been supportive of the growth of the mathematics and statistics program on campus.

Two full-time instructors and a director of the Quantitative Skills Center have been hired to help facilitate the expansion. The program’s faculty now consists of four tenure-line professors and five full-time instructors.

At the same time, eight adjunct instructors were hired in the fall of 2016 to help teach lower division courses. As enrollment in these courses increases, the school hopes to hire more full-time faculty.

Currently there are at least two mathematics students scheduled to graduate in May  2017. A few students already graduated with the degree in May of 2016. Since WSU Vancouver’s mathematics program at the time was not fully operational, the official paperwork was handled through the Pullman campus.

Katey Ellis graduated with a Bachelor of Science in applied mathematics last spring. Transferring to WSU Vancouver as an incoming junior, she had high hopes that the mathematics degree would become an official local offering.

While one of her classes was streamed from Pullman, Ellis attended all others at WSU Vancouver.

Continuing her studies at WSU Vancouver, Ellis is working to earn a master’s degree. She hopes to teach math courses at a community college because she sees value in completing the first two years of education at a community college and then transferring to a university.

“The classes on campus can be limited at times versus the classes they offer in Pullman, but if you show interest in a class, and let the professors know, they are willing to work to get you the classes you are interested in,” said Ellis.

For information about earning a degree in the expanded mathematics program at WSU Vancouver, visit https://cas.vancouver.wsu.edu/mathematics.

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