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Coherent Calculus Course Design: Creating Faculty Buy-in for Student Success

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Mathematics Division Technical Session 2

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.355.1 - 26.355.19



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Paper Authors


Doug Bullock Boise State University

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Doug Bullock is an Associate Professor of Mathematics at Boise State University. His educational research interests include impacts of pedagogy on STEM student success and retention.

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Janet Callahan Boise State University Orcid 16x16

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Janet Callahan is the Founding Associate Dean for the College of Engineering at Boise State University and a Professor in the Materials Science and Engineering Department. Dr. Callahan received her Ph.D. in Materials Science, her M.S. in Metallurgy and her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Connecticut. Her educational research interests include freshmen engineering programs, math success, K-12 STEM curriculum and accreditation, and retention and recruitment of STEM majors.

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Susan E. Shadle Ph.D. Boise State University

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Susan E. Shadle, Ph.D. is the founding Director of The Center for Teaching and Learning at Boise State and Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Susan has served on the National POGIL (Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning) Steering Committee and as the POGIL Project’s Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) coordinator. Her scholarly interests are focused on inquiry based learning and other active learning pedagogies, faculty development, and institutional change in Higher Education.

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Coherent Calculus Course Design: Creating Faculty Buy-in for Student SuccessThis paper recounts the process used and results achieved as first-semester Calculus at [State School]was transformed over a period of approximately 16 months from a collection of independent,uncoordinated, personalized sections, into a single coherent multi-section course. During the process ofthis transformation, section size and the instructor pool remained relatively constant; however,profound changes were made across all sections in terms of homework, timing of course content, gradecomputation, pedagogy, exam content and more.The motivation for focusing on Calculus I arose from a five-year National Science Foundation ScienceTalent Expansion Program grant that was awarded in 2010 to a multi-disciplinary team that spannedengineering, mathematics and science. A major grant objective was to raise first-semester, full-timeretention of students in STEM majors. The projects supported several year-long faculty learningcommunities (FLCs) of about 10 instructors each. With significant involvement from mathematicsfaculty, these FLCs first laid the groundwork for pedagogical reform of calculus. In 2013-14, an FLC wascreated with the express purpose of implementing consistent, student-learning focused strategiesacross several section of calculus. This experience facilitated buy-in and rapid communication andfeedback between instructors, resulting in significant agreement about intended course outcomes,grading, pedagogy and more. In subsequent semesters, all calculus instructors have “opted in” to thecommon, coherent approach to the course. The short and long term impact of this local reform efforton student learning and success will be discussed.

Bullock, D., & Callahan, J., & Shadle, S. E. (2015, June), Coherent Calculus Course Design: Creating Faculty Buy-in for Student Success Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23694

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