History of Mathematics at GVSU
Mathematics Major - 1966 to 1974


Phone: 616-331-2041
Ted Sundstrom
sundstrt@gvsu.edu

Department of Mathematics
Grand Valley State University
Allendale, MI 49401
The Mathematics Major from 1966 to 1974
During the first four years, Grand Valley State College offered only the B.A. degree. The graduation requirements included the nine courses in the Foundation Program, a major program consisting of at least 45 credit hours (in the quarter system), and the Distribution Requirements, which were the completion of at least 10 credits in each of the following areas of study: English, Fine Arts, Foreign Language, Social Studies, and Natural Sciences. However, by the fall term of 1966, the enrollment was expected to be about 1800 students but only about 1340 students had registered. Grand Valley did not seem to be as competitive with the other state colleges and universities as had been expected. Follow-up studies with students who had left Grand Valley indicated that there was a dissatisfaction with the rigidity of the Foundation Program and that the heavy load of the Distribution Requirements, including foreign language study, reduced the number of electives available for a student’s program. As a result, the faculty at Grand Valley proposed several changes, which were approved by the Board of Control. Distribution requirements were reduced from 40 credits to 20 credits, the rigidity of the Foundations Program was reduced, but in terms of the various majors, the important change was that starting in 1967, the B.S. degree was added. At the college level, the only difference was that a student seeking the B.A. degree was required to complete twenty credits (4 courses) in a foreign language.
 
So in the catalog for 1967 through 1969, requirements were given for a B.S. in mathematics as well as a B.A. in mathematics. These degree requirements were simplified significantly in this catalog. 
 
A student seeking the B.A. degree was required to complete
105. Calculus and Analytic Geometry I
202. Calculus and Analytic Geometry II
203. Calculus and Analytic Geometry III
321. Linear Algebra
493. Mathematics Colloquium
 
The student was also required to complete two other 400-level mathematics courses and History of Science 480 – History of Mathematics. Notice that the first course in the calculus sequence has a 100-level number. This is the only catalog in which this course is not numbered as MTH 201. MTH 493 was a new course with the following catalog description.
 
493    Mathematics Colloquium
Student presentations of topics from mathematics not included in other courses. Meetings open to all mathematics majors and minors. Majors should attend during sophomore, junior, and senior years. Ordinary participation requires three quarters in the senior year for one credit.
 
Also notice that MTH 321 – Linear Algebra replaced MTH 421 – Abstract Algebra I as a requirement in the major. In fact, prior to this time, the department offered a two course sequence in abstract algebra (MTH 421, MTH 422 – Abstract Algebra I and II). In this catalog, only one abstract algebra course was listed, which was MTH 422 – Algebraic Structures. In earlier catalogs, no descriptions were given for the abstract algebra courses, Following is the catalog description for MTH 422:
 
MTH 422 – Algebraic Structures. Groups, LaGrange’s Theorem, homomorphisms, normal subgroups, quotient groups, isomorphism theorems. Rings, ideals, integral domains, Euclidean rings, fields, Galois fields. Numerical and algebraic examples. Prerequisite: 321 (Linear Algebra).
 
 
A student seeking the B.S. degree in mathematics had the same requirements except that instead of being required to take History of Science 480, the student was required to take two of the following courses:
 
History of Science 480 – History of Mathematics
PHY 230 – Principles of Physics I
PHY 231 – Principles of Physics II
 
There continued to be no emphases within the mathematics major and so students seeking elementary or secondary certification completed the same mathematics major as those who were not seeking certification. There were some minor changes in the requirements for certification but the program still required 35 credits in psychology and education courses. For both elementary and secondary certification, a student was required to take PSY 201 – Introduction to Psychology, PSY 301 – Human Growth and Development, a teacher aide program (10 credits) and student teaching (15 credits).
 
The most significant change in the mathematics major during this time period was in 1970 when it was stated in the catalog that students seeking secondary certification were required to take a specific course that was not required for students not seeking certification. This new course, MTH 420 – Classical Algebra, was an algebra course that was intended to be less abstract than MTH 422. Students seeking secondary certification were required to take this new course since it was more focused on the development of familiar number systems (rational, real, and complex numbers) than was MTH 422, and the development of number systems is directly related to topics future teachers would teach in their classrooms. Following is a description of MTH 420.
  
MTH 420 – Classical Algebra. Theory of linear and polynomial equations in commutative rings; the rational, real, and complex number fields; the domain of integers. Fundamental theorems of arithmetic and algebra. Prerequisite: 225 (Linear Algebra I).
 
Other than that, only small changes were made in the mathematics major between 1969 and 1974. Following are short descriptions of these changes.
 
  • In 1969, students were allowed to take an independent study instead of MTH 493 – Mathematics Colloquium.
  • In 1970, the required linear algebra course was changed to MTH 225 – Linear Algebra I when a second course in linear algebra (MTH 321 – Linear Algebra II) was introduced.
  • In 1972, the number for the Mathematics Colloquium was changed from MTH 493 to MTH 293 and majors were still required to take this course or an independent study in mathematics.
 
Following is a description of the requirements for the mathematics from the 1973 – 74 catalog.
 
Mathematics Major (1973 – 74 catalog)
The mathematics major must take a minimum of 45 hours of mathematics planned with the approval of a faculty advisor in the Mathematics Department. The major must include
 
201. Calculus and Analytic Geometry I
202. Calculus and Analytic Geometry II
203. Calculus and Analytic Geometry III
225. Linear Algebra
293. Mathematics Colloquium or 499. Independent Study
 
A mathematics major must also complete three mathematics courses in the College of Arts and Sciences at the 300-level or higher, at least two of which must be at the 400-level. The candidate for a B.S. degree must complete one of the following two-course sequences:
  • PHY 230 – Principles of Physics I and HSC 480 – History of Mathematics
  • PHY 230 – Principles of Physics I and PHY 231 – Principles of Physics II
  • ECO 211 – Principles of Economics (Micro) and BUS 490 – Quantitative Business Analysis

There were still no official emphases in the mathematics major but the following items were noted in the catalog:

 

  • A major in mathematics with an emphasis in statistics may include MTH 215 – Statistics I in the major so long as MTH 216 – Statistics II, MTH 311 – Probability, and MTH 415 – Mathematical Statistics are also included.
  • A student planning to teach mathematics in secondary school should complete MTH 341 – Geometry and MTH 420 – Classical Algebra.
  • A student planning to do graduate work in pure mathematics should complete MTH 400 – Fundamentals of Analysis, MTH 401 – Real Variables, MTH 402 – Complex Variables, MTH 422 – Algebraic Structures, and MTH 441 - Topology.

 

 
  Last Modified Date: March 25, 2014
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