PHOENIX–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The University of Phoenix is pleased to announce that College of General Studies Director Jacquelyn Kelly, Ph.D., Associate Dean, and James Bruno, MBA, Curriculum Manager, have co-authored the white paper, Theory to Practice: Reducing Student Attrition in Online Undergraduate Math, published in the International Journal of Education and Science Studies (IJRES), an online peer-reviewed scholarly journal published quarterly.
The white paper presents the results of a pilot project led by Kelly to improve student outcomes in high-volume undergraduate math programs at the University of Phoenix by adopting an approach to math instruction that emphasizes real-world application and provides students with opportunities to learn math practice with little effort and acquire confidence. The success of the pilot prompted the adoption of a similar design methodology for all undergraduate mathematics programs at the university.
“Math courses often act as unintended gatekeepers for incoming college students,” says Briana Houlihan, MBA, dean of the College of General Studies at the University of Phoenix. “As an institution with a strong commitment to student success and retention, an innovative approach to the design of math courses was a major focus for us, and it has paid off in student outcomes.”
The white paper discusses how to successfully bridge the theory-practice gap in the teaching of general mathematics (UGEM) that many universities have struggled to bridge for decades by shifting a philosophical framework for UGEM from traditionalist methodology to a synthesis of seminal theories practices methods exercises. The white paper disseminates the implementation of theory-based practices in UGEM to reduce student churn (dropout or failure) and discusses how efforts resulted in significant reductions in churn.
“Many students come into higher education with math education experiences that they didn’t have before,” says Kelly. “We have to meet them where they are and consciously create opportunities for them to achieve their academic and professional goals. This requires creating safe math learning environments for our students. To do this, we have to use everything we know from mathematics didactics research and transfer it to teaching practice – even if it requires a systemic and institutional paradigm shift.”
Kelly, Associate Dean at the University of Phoenix in the College of General Studies, has over 15 years of experience in science and math education. Her expertise lies in the implementation of scientific and mathematical-didactic research in practice at universities. Kelly received his PhD in Curriculum and Instruction, specializing in Science Education, from Arizona State University. She holds a master’s degree in materials science and engineering from Arizona State University and a bachelor’s degree in physics and chemistry from California State University, San Marcos. Kelly’s previous positions have included science education at secondary and college levels, teacher evaluator for the county Education Services Authority, and program director for professional development programs for science and mathematics teachers.
“We’re fortunate to be in an environment where we can work with our internal partners to implement changes to our math courses relatively quickly,” says Bruno. “Not all institutions can be so flexible. The best thing about this effort, however, is the number of students who will successfully complete these courses. It humbles me to believe that we can impact the lives of over 20,000 students every year.”
Bruno, a curriculum manager at the University of Phoenix’s College of General Studies, has over 26 years of higher education experience. He has spent the last two decades working in the curriculum field at the University of Phoenix winning awards for innovation in curriculum delivery. He has a particular interest in developing effective learning experiences for first-year students and has nearly 20 years of teaching experience in both online and face-to-face classes. Bruno earned his Masters of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix.
The IJRES edition is available online.
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