Several departments at USU remove MATH 1050 as a degree requirement


While serving as Utah State University provost in 2016, now-president Noelle Cockett decided something needed to be done about developmental math across all majors. Quickly.

Cockett and other administrators at USU noticed that many degree programs not based in math or science were still required to take MATH 1050, a pre-calculus algebra class. On March 26, 2016, she held a workshop with department heads and academic advisors from all different programs, gave them a copy of a MATH 1050 final exam, and asked if their students needed that level of math for their area of study. This led to many programs changing Quantitative Literacy requirements by removing MATH 1050.

“If you’re going to take calculus, you need this class,” Cockett said. “But somehow we had MATH 1050 all over every degree program.”

In this continuing effort to help students complete their QL requirement and get into their major courses, there were three new math classes added. MATH 0995 was added as a pilot program in 2015, and it has now completely replaced MATH 0990 and MATH 1010. This change allowed students to take one course instead of two, still meeting the same prerequisites. STAT 1045 was added, combining elements of MATH 0990, MATH 1010, and STAT 1040, effectively reducing three classes to one.

Linda Skabelund, an advisor in the Mathematics and Statistics Department, said this has been a big help for many students.

“We don’t want to dumb things down,” Skabelund said, “but we definitely don’t want [students] taking a higher pre-calculus course if they don’t need it.”

Another math class, MATH 1051, was created exclusively for students in the elementary, special and deaf education programs. This course helps students learn to apply math in the classroom instead of preparing them for calculus as MATH 1050 would.

Cockett said Richard Cutler and Chris Corcoran, former and current math department heads, have been terrific to work with, and that overall this math initiative “appears to be working really well.”



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  1. Brad

    Man, Linda Skabelund was the worst. Bad memories of her being a jerk to me. Sadly she is one of the very few people I remember working with directly because of the negative experience I had with her at USU. Every other advisor was so helpful and kind, sad she is the name and face I remember for all the wrong reasons.

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