Renewal in Collegiate
Mathematics Education

To the memory of James R. C. Leitzel

David A. Smith

Co-Director, Project CALC, Duke University
Copyright 1998 by the author. All rights reserved.
Author's note: This is a somewhat expanded version of a paper with the same title first published in Documenta Mathematica, Extra Volume ICM 1998 III, pp. 777-786. To download the published version, click here. The paper was prepared in response to an invitation to debate Professor George E. Andrews (Penn State University) at the International Congress of Mathematicians (Berlin, Germany, Aug. 25, 1998) on the subject of calculus reform, with Dr. D. J. Lewis (National Science Foundation) serving as moderator. The papers by Andrews and Lewis may also be downloaded from the Documenta Mathematica site.


The content and pedagogy of college courses in mathematics and science are not well aligned with the desired outcomes of college education. This is due in part to a professoriate that is largely unaware of pedagogical ''best practice.'' Recent research on neurobiology confirms research on the psychology of learning, and both support best practice in pedagogy. The Calculus Reform Movement has developed courses that focus on student-centered learning and show that new knowledge can be translated into effective learning programs. Computer and calculator technologies offer opportunities to rethink a mathematics curriculum heavily weighted with pre-computer techniques, to create learning environments that accord with best practice, and to shift the primary focus in our courses from manipulation to thinking.

| Home | Essays |

David A. Smith <>

Last modified: July 23, 1998