Improving mathematics education: what can we learn from 25 years of mathematics support? an IMA Gold Medal Lecture, by Professor Tony Croft (Loughborough University) and Professor Duncan Lawson (Newman University)
The scale and scope of mathematics support within universities have grown significantly since the 1990s. Mathematics support has evolved from a ‘cottage industry’ initiated by enthusiasts into a main-line student support provision overseen by institutional senior managers. Over this 25+ year period, the importance of the mathematical sciences in other disciplines has similarly boomed. No longer is it just engineering and physics undergraduates who need to acquire highly developed mathematical skills. Now geographers, bioscientists, sociologists and political scientists (to name but a few) have to be more skilled than ever before with understanding mathematical and statistical models and methods, particularly if they are to be able to access the international research literature and compete in the international employment market. Just as in the 1980s and 1990s, the Engineering Council produced reports warning of ‘the mathematics problem’, so in the 2000s and 2010s, the British Council and Royal Society of Arts have done the same. We will outline how mathematics support has developed throughout the UK (and beyond) to meet this increasing demand.
Whilst the initial impetus for mathematics support came from a desire to improve the mathematical learning of students from other disciplines, it is an undisputable fact that a significant proportion of the users of mathematics support has been, and remains, mathematics undergraduates. This gives us cause to reflect: why is mathematics support so attractive to mathematics undergraduates? What is available to them through mathematics support that is not available in their regular teaching? In this lecture, we will suggest some answers to these questions.
Admission is by advance booking only. For those who wish to attend the lecture only there is no charge, whilst a payment of £16 is required for the reception which follows the lecture. Names of attendees will be passed to the venue in advance of the event.
Please register via https://my.ima.org.uk/