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Math Professor Selected to Guide Faculty Training for National Statway Program

Janet Zupkus one of three chosen nationwide

Waterbury, Conn. - Math Professor Janet Zupkus has been tapped by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching to serve as an initiation guide for the national Statway program, an alternative mathematics pathway for college students who place into developmental math. Professor Zupkus is one of three instructors nationwide who has been asked to help prepare future Statway educators.

As one of three Naugatuck Valley Community College faculty who helped develop the original Statway curriculum, Professor Zupkus has since been noted for her continued involvement in assessing and improving the pedagogy, which pairs math and statistics in discovery-based lessons that walk students through real-world problem solving. Naugatuck Valley Community College is one of 19 community colleges that piloted the Statway program in Fall 2011. The curriculum has since been incorporated in 33 math departments in seven states.

In her role as an initiation guide, Zupkus will mentor 15 faculty members at three Minnesota colleges that are piloting Statway this year.

“It’s about setting up an atmosphere,” said Zupkus. “Statway is very different from regular math classes in how the information is presented. We try to make learning more experiential through real-world problems and group work.”

The Carnegie Foundation explains that the statistics outcomes in Statway are as rigorous as those in a first course of college-level statistics. Essential mathematics concepts are introduced in a statistics context and integrated throughout.

Currently, students who complete the Statway sequence at NVCC can transfer their credits to any of the four Connecticut state universities to meet math and statistics requirements.

Because Statway is meant to make math relevant to non-STEM majors, Zupkus is hoping that Statway will be one of many answers to helping students finish their math requirements early in their degree, thereby increasing their likelihood of graduating from college.

“Statway is a great model for the impending curriculum redesign required by Connecticut PA 12-40,” said Zupkus. “Our goal is to roll Statway out to more and more community colleges and four-year schools in the upcoming years.”

According to the Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education, about two-thirds of students entering community colleges are placed into remedial and developmental math and/or English courses, and only 8% of students taking remedial courses earn a credential within three years. Connecticut PA 12-40 directly addresses the need to reinvent and redesign developmental education. 

“As a Statway advocate, Janet is intimately involved in creating additional pathways for our students to succeed, particularly those students entering the college underprepared for college- level coursework,” said Kathy Taylor, J.D., associate dean of academic affairs and a member of the PA 12-40 advisory group. “She challenges her students to strengthen their math skills, overcome math anxiety and successfully complete their math requirement. What’s more, she regularly works with her colleagues to build institutional support for new initiatives that are not only critical to meeting the requirements of 12-40, but to student empowerment, which translates into student retention and graduation.”   

More information:

Statway Overview: The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

Connecticut PA 12-40: ConnSCU BOR

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