Linking Mathematics and Social Issues

What basic science is covered and how is it linked to public policy?


CHANCE is a course designed to teach fundamental ideas of statistics and probability in the light of real world problems. In all parts of the country faculty are changing how they teach Science, Engineering and Mathematics (SEM) courses. Students' attitudes and behavior toward quantitative literacy have led to increasing focus on students' learning styles and have encouraged funding agencies to increase budget allocations for Mathematics education initiatives. Internet driven learning environments bring instantaneous access to information, changing the way we teach and learn.

This CHANCE course is an offspring of the Chance Project (Principal Investigator: J. Laurie Snell, Professor Emeritus, Dartmouth College-see CHANCE Web Site on following page) funded by the National Science Foundation to develop instructional materials for courses that use the idea of Chance to teach quantitative reasoning. At Spelman College the CHANCE course was taught in the place of Honors Quantitative Reasoning Course (Mathematics 193), a required course for students enrolled in the Honors Program who are not science majors. It is a case-study course based upon current events reported in daily newspapers and other news media and journals such as Science, of Chance and Nature.

Students enrolled in this course will learn that with a basic command of probability and statistics they can think critically for themselves about issues that confront citizens. By keeping abreast of day to day issues and challenges they will be able to become active participants in the effort to bring positive changes in the nation and the world at large. Thus the course rationale is consistent with the college's' mission to promote academic excellence in the liberal arts and to develop the intellectual, ethical and leadership potential of students by empowering the total person, one who appreciates the many cultures of the world and commits to positive social change. Hence Chance is an appropriate SENCER model.