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Math Department


Goals of the Math Department

The goals of the math department are to provide effective quality mathematics education for a diverse student population, to inspire the enjoyment of learning math, and to encourage students to achieve their highest potential in mathematics. The aims of the program are to foster students' knowledge of the discipline, and to improve communication and critical thinking skills. Courses are offered to support students' developmental math needs, technical/professional program requirments, and college transfer requirements. An effort is made by faculty to emphasize the use of current technology to achieve these goals.

Math Instruction

Approximately 1500 students per quarter take math classes at Whatcom Community College. Courses are offered by the Math Department in Elementary and Intermediate Algebra, Problem-Solving Methods, Survey of Math, Applications for Business and Economics, Precalculus, Calculus, Linear Algebra, Differential Equations, and Statistics. Once a year, a Math Honors section is offered with enrollment limited to 10 Whatcom Community College Honors Program students. The primary method of instruction in mathematics classes is lecture with many instructors using small group interaction in class. There is much support for the use of technology in teaching mathematics at Whatcom. A number of math classrooms, for example, are equipped with "teaching stations" which project computer and video images on a large display screen. Graphing calculators are required in all math classes, and class sets of data gathering equipment capable of linking with calculators is available for student use through the college library.

Whatcom mathematics faculty strongly believe that all students must have prerequisite knowledge in order to succeed in a given math course. It has been the intent of mathematics faculty to seek ways for the college to accurately assess student knowledge and to enforce course prerequisites

The faculty have instituted several mathematics courses to support ancillary programs and student success at Whatcom Community College. Members of the mathematics faculty have consistently taken a leadership role in establishing course transfer requirements with Washington State four-year institutions when college level courses were developed at Whatcom. The mathematics faculty also works with instructors in other areas of the college to avoid scheduling conflicts with science and technical-professional courses.

There are eight full-time and between thirteen and fifteen part-time mathematics instructors at Whatcom Community College. Faculty participate in a regular evaluation process which includes periodic student evaluations.

Future Goals

The future goals of the math department are to increase student access to the study of mathematics, improve student success in mathematics, and to continue to support faculty who teach mathematics. The math faculty are committed to a continuation of innovative, effective methods of instruction incorporated into the mathematics classroom. There is a strong committment to the use of technology especially hand-held graphing utilities. Members of the discipline will continue to seek ways of increasing student access to technology and to provide faculty with training in its use.