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OCR for page 73

~ Issues and Implications
The challenge of numbers in the foregoing chapters is clear: How can the nation's
growing need for mathematically skilled workers be met in the face of shrinking
populations from which these workers have been traditionally drawn? General
options include increasing the proportion of such workers from both traditional and
nontraditional sources and increasing the utilization and the effectiveness of available
workers. Specific actions that would lead to improvements are more difficult to
identify, and formulations of these will be left to the final report of the MS 2000
Committee. However, some segments of the general challenge are formulated below.
The five previous chapters describe the people in the
mathematical sciences from the perspective of college and
university programs. These people- students, teachers,
and other workers are scattered throughout the educa-
tional system and the nonacademic workplace. The picture
that emerges is strongly influenced by two general facts:
.
The workplace is changing as jobs require higher-level
skills and greater adaptability. Mathematics-based jobs
are leading the way in increased demand.
If present patterns persist, most socioeconomic and
demographic trends indicate that fewer students will study
mathematics and choose mathematics-based careers.
These trends point to an increased demand for and a
shrinking supply of mathematical scientists and other
mathematically educated workers. The nation must recog-
nize this critical condition, and understand the major
college and university mathematical sciences in particular.
Educating workers for business and industry and teachers
for all levels of education may require fundamental changes
in a system already stressed by the events of the past three
decades.
Several issues that require the nation's attention are
apparent. These are raised by the following questions:
l
~ How can national needsfor mathematically educated
workers be met? How can the expected shortage of mathe-
matically trained workers be averted? How can available
workers be better utilized? What incentives will attract
more interest in mathematics-based occupations, espe-
cially among women, blacks, and Hispanics?
· What changes are necessary to attract more students
to the study of mathematics? How can the mathematical
sciences respond to the change in the traditional pool of
U.S. college students? What and who will stimulate stu
challenge it poses for U.S. education in general and for dents to study the mathematical sciences? How can a more
73

OCR for page 73

A Challenge of Numbers
diverse group of students be attracted to mathematics,
reducing the heavy dependence on white males? What are
the consequences of heavy dependence on non-U.S. stu-
dents in graduate programs? lIow can teaching become
more effective and stimulating?
· What can be done to improve the success rate of stu-
dents dunning the transition from high school mathemat-
ics to college mathematics? How can high school prepa-
ration and college expectations be better reconciled? What
effects are remedial programs and overlaps between the
content of high school courses and college courses having
on student attntion?
· What can colleges and universities do to meet the na-
fional r~eedforschool mathematics teachers? What is the
appropriate education for secondary school mathematics
teachers and for elementary school teachers? How can the
college and university faculty assist in implementing new
standards for school mathematics? What program of con-
tinuing education for teachers will enhance school mathe-
matics instruction?
· What actions will spur renewal and revitalizafion of
the mathematical sciencesfaculty? What steps should be
taken to ensure replacements for the aging collegiate fac-
ulty? What is appropriate preparation for collegiate teach-
ing? What continuing program of scholarship for the non-
research faculty is necessary to maintain the intellectual
vitality of the profession? How can better compensation,
incentives, and working conditions be achieved and main-
tained? What is necessary to maintain and enhance the
research production of the faculty?
74
· Now can better monitoring of the mathematical sci-
ences be implemented? How can both professional or-
ganizations and government agencies cooperate in the col-
lection end reporting of information? How can date tee col-
lected, organized, and disaggregated to provide a compre-
hensive view of the mathematical sciences community?
How can mathematical scientists be identified in the non-
academic workplace?
· How can colleges and universities prepare graduates
who are more valuable and effecizve in the nonacademic
workplace? What changes would make mathematics
graduates more valuable to business and industry? How
can the full potential of the contributions of mathematical
scientists be explored? What new educational programs
could diversify the employment opportunities for mathe-
matical scientists? Are there unrecognized opportunities
for the Ph.D. in the mathematical sciences?
Although these issues center on the mathematical sci-
ences enterprise in U.S. colleges and universities, they
have implications for all of society. Monitoring and
maintaining the health of this administratively decentral-
ized and diverse enterprise transcend the nonnal roles and
responsibilities of academic systems. These concerns and
the importance of a continued healthy flow of mathemati-
cal talent are the reasons that the MS 2000 project and, in
particular, this report were begun. The forthcoming de-
scriptive reports on curriculum and resources and the pre-
scnptive final report of the MS 2000 Committee will pro-
vide the nation with an agenda for revitalization of college
and university mathematical sciences and with recommen-
dations for continued monitoring and assessment.