Hendrix College's mathematics program functions within Hendrix's mission and its motto of
Unto the Whole Person while providing an outstanding mathematics education, which can serve as good preparation for graduate schools in mathematics-oriented disciplines, careers in mathematics-related industries, or professional school programs where analytical thinking is of the utmost importance. Students graduating with a major or minor in mathematics learn to:
- Employ the methodologies used in mathematics, including calculation, proof, discovery of new mathematics, and application.
- Understand basic content and principles in each of the broad divisions within mathematics: discrete (algebra and combinatorics), continuous (calculus and analysis), and geometric (linear algebra and topology).
- Master at least one field of mathematics to a depth beyond that typical of a single advanced undergraduate courses in the topic.
- Understand the motivation and aesthetic understanding underlying mathematics, including the historical and cultural context in which it was developed.
- Communicate mathematical ideas in written papers, oral presentations, and group discussions. Possess the ability to argue mathematical proof validity in both written and oral work.
Several emphasized components in our program help work toward these learning goals:
- faculty representing the breadth of mathematics, who prioritize active student learning,
- a program of support for student research and internships,
- student laboratories outfitted with modern computing equipment including computer algebra systems,
- a program of student activities beyond the classroom.
We will use the following techniques to assess how well we have achieved our learning goals.
- The major requires each student to complete a senior thesis in MATH 497. Our faculty evaluates each according to a rubric, and we archive both the senior thesis paper and this rubric.
- We track research and internship participation by students enrolled in the mathematics major or minor.
- We conduct an exit interview with each graduating student.
- We track the post-graduation destination of each student.
- We periodically survey recent graduates who have completed at least one full year of post-graduation work.
- The faculty regularly meets to discuss the data collected and the evidence of success or shortcomings in meeting the learning goals.