SLU Professor Hosts National Science Foundation Mathematics Workshop

CANTON — A St. Lawrence University mathematics professor recently co-hosted a grant-sponsored national workshop for universities on how to sustain mathematics support centers at institutions of higher education.

Associate Professor of Statistics Michael E. Schuckers co-hosted a workshop on Directing a Quantitative and Mathematics Support Centers (QMaSCs) along with colleagues from Hamilton College and Bates College.

Shuckers currently serves as the director of St. Lawrence University's Martha E. ’62 and Gregg E. Peterson Quantitative Resource Center.

According to Schuckers, these support centers serve students both in and outside of the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

“Quantitative and mathematics support centers exist in one form or another at nearly every two- and four-year college and university in the United States,” Schuckers said. “These centers provide free tutoring help to large numbers of students and are pivotal in keeping students in the STEM pipeline. They also often serve students outside of STEM to broaden quantitative competency in the arts, humanities and social sciences.”

Schuckers and his colleagues were awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant earlier this year to develop and deliver the workshop. While QMaSCs are common across the country, there is not a body of resources that directors and staff can draw from, according to the grant proposal abstract.

As part of the NSF grant, the Schuckers and his team set out to:

  • To begin a national conversation on directing QMaSCs, in support of this key aspect of the STEM infrastructure on campuses;
  • To establish a sustainable network of people involved in the work of QMaSCs in order to provide and share resources; and
  • To create a handbook of best practices for those who direct QMaSCs or those who may direct QMaSCs in the future.

The workshop was developed to work with conference participants in order to formulate a framework for establishing a professional organization for staff members of QMaSCs. The workshop was held in July in Hartford, Conn.

For more information, visit St. Lawrence University’s Department of Math, Computer Science and Statistics.