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New program for incoming freshmen aims to assist with fundamental mathematics concepts and the college transition

Published: 08/03/2016

By: Candis Birchfield

Auburn University is offering a new program, Plainsmen’s Prep: A Bridge to Calculus, from Aug. 4 - 12, which is designed to give approximately 70 incoming freshmen an exclusive opportunity to review pre-calculus and calculus topics needed to be successful in their college courses. Sponsored by Auburn University’s Office of Academic Support and the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Plainsmen’s Prep: A Bridge to Calculus is also designed to acclimate students to the rigors of the Auburn University environment. Students will interact with Auburn faculty, staff and undergraduate students to help aid in their transition and give them at head start to their success at Auburn.

“We know that some students are coming to Auburn and taking longer to complete their degrees because they have to take prerequisite courses before they can take the courses needed to fulfill their major,” said Dana Jablonski, director of the Office of Academic Support. “In addition, many students are coming with some knowledge but may be rusty in pre-calculus or calculus concepts due to a variety of reasons. The program was designed to assist any student who is feeling uneasy about succeeding in calculus at Auburn. The program gives them a chance to review pre-calculus and calculus topics needed to be successful in their courses.”

Participating students will be exposed to more than 30 hours of pre-calculus concepts developed and taught by Auburn mathematics faculty. The curriculum was created based upon Auburn mathematics faculty experiences and observations of the most needed information for success. Participants will hear lectures and utilize classroom technology, as well as experience small group study sessions and collaborative learning activities led by faculty, staff and successful undergraduate students. Workshops on time management, study skills, and more will also be offered. At the end of the program, participants will take a mathematics placement exam.

“A few years ago, the dean of the College of Sciences and Mathematics, Nicholas Giordano, spoke to the math department about the length of time it was taking students to finish their degrees,” said Regina Jackson, pre-calculus coordinator in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. “We discussed that a major factor to longer times was having to complete prerequisite courses based on ability. This program was created as an avenue for students to receive the prerequisite skills without adding time until graduating. The program is designed to show students what they will encounter in their math class, what resources they will have, and what skills they will need to develop to be successful. There are a few community building activities, homework, and assessments to truly get a well-rounded snapshot of a semester at Auburn.”

This year’s participants represent a variety of disciplines from the College of Sciences and Mathematics, the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, the Raymond J. Harbert College of Business, the College of Architecture, Design and Construction, the College of Agriculture, and University College. In addition to intensive mathematics training, participants will be provided extracurricular activities that encourage community building and socialization with other incoming first year students.

“We have planned some fun for them too since we know they need to do some things other than Math! They will participate in the Auburn University challenge course, visit the Raptor Center, and have a game night,” said Jablonski. “The activities outside of the classroom are routed in helping build community, leadership skills, help students make friends, and adjust to their new college life by feeling like a part of the Auburn Family.”

For more information on Plainsmen’s Prep: A Bridge to Calculus, visit the website at this link.

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