Assistant Professor Sarah Billington understands why some students wish they did not have to take math. She did not love it either.
Still, she noted, math needs to be included as a general education requirement – even if it is not a student’s favorite.
“Math is used for classes outside of regular math, like physics and economics,” said Billington, who sits on Salt Lake Community College’s general education committee.
Depending on the degree, students are required to complete MATH 1030, 1040, or 1050 for their general education. MATH 2900 (Special Topics) is the highest course offered at the school.
Billington also noted that, for students considering a master’s degree, the required GRE test includes a math section, which includes college algebra, arithmetic, geometry and data analysis.
Assistant Professor Becky Connelly in the SLCC mathematics department said the value of math goes beyond equations and algebraic expression.
“Math teaches you to think through problems logically,” she noted. “You ask yourself ‘What do I know?’ and ‘What do I need to know?’ Math teaches you to solve problems in everyday life by applying those questions.”
Because math courses are required to graduate, SLCC offers free tutoring for students through its STEM learning resources. Tutoring sessions can be scheduled on the college website.
Math instructors are required to have four hours of office time set aside to meet with and help students, something Connelly says is underutilized by students.
“Get help from your professors,” Connelly advises. “They do not want to see you fail. They want to see you succeed.”
Connelly has filed for a grant to promote learning assistance in the classroom. Learning assistance brings advanced math students into entry-level classes to act as in-class tutors. If approved, this program will roll out in the fall of 2021.
SLCC offers these tips on their website to be successful in college math classes. Tips for succeeding in college math can be found on the math resources page. Some important suggestions include:
- Read and understand your course syllabus. Know deadline dates.
- Keep up with the material. The new material in math courses usually builds on previous sections and falling behind will put you at a disadvantage.
- Attend class every day and be sure to take complete notes. Do not expect tutoring or the Learning Center to be a substitute for attending class.