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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
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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.
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