History of Mathematics at GVSU
Mathematics Major  1980 to 1987 

Phone: 6163312041 Ted Sundstrom sundstrt@gvsu.edu Department of Mathematics Grand Valley State University Allendale, MI 49401 
The Mathematics Major from 1980 to 1987
In the late 1970s, Grand Valley State Colleges decided to switch from the quarter system to the semester system. This took effect for the 198081 academic year. For that academic year, the College of Arts and Sciences added two new graduation requirements, which were the Basic Skills Requirements and the Supplemental Writing Skills Requirements. At that time, the Supplemental Writing Skills (SWS) Requirement was that “each degree candidate was required to complete two additional courses in which writing is emphasized.” These two courses could be courses that counted in the student’s distribution, major, or minor program.
Because of the change to semesters, departments and programs were encouraged to review the requirements for their majors. The Department of Mathematics decided to keep the same basic structure for the mathematics major, namely a core set of courses that all majors were required to complete, cognate requirements, elective courses in the major, and optional emphases in the major. An emphasis generally would prescribe most of the elective courses for students selecting that emphasis. The main changes in the major were the following:
MTH 235 was a course developed by the department under the leadership of Dr. Virginia Muraski to be included in the new Supplemental Writing Skills Program of the College of Arts and Sciences. This course would be required of all mathematics majors and all mathematics minors seeking secondary certification. Following is the description of this course from the 198081 catalog.
235 Communicating in Mathematics. A study of the logical and rhetorical techniques of exposition in the language of mathematics. The reading and discussion of selected mathematical writings. Intensive practice in communicating in the language of mathematics through analyzing and critiquing compositions based on the selected readings. Prerequisites: Mathematics 120 and a basic writing skills course. Offered fall semester of evennumbered years.
Other changes in the major included the following:
Following is a description of the requirements for a mathematics major from the 198081 catalog.
All majors must complete a minimum of 36 credit hours in mathematics planned with the approval of a departmental faculty advisor. The 36 hours must include:
MTH 201 – Calculus and Analytic Geometry I
MTH 202 – Calculus and Analytic Geometry II
MTH 203 – Calculus and Analytic Geometry III
MTH 225 – Finite Mathematics
MTH 235 – Communicating in Mathematics
At least four courses in the in major must be in the College of Arts and Sciences at the 300 level or above (excluding 399), and at least one of the four courses must be at the 400 level (excluding 499). There is one exception: The major who obtains an elementary teaching certificate is required to take three courses in the College of Arts and Sciences at the 300 level or above (excluding 399), and one of the courses must be at the 400 level, excluding 499. Such students need not take 203.
The bachelor's degree in mathematics requires cognates of at least five semester hours, selected from the following:
Substitutions for courses on this list must receive departmental approval. (It is interesting to note that the psychology department had eliminated this twocourse sequence and now had only one course, namely PSY 351 – Introduction to Experimental Methods in Psychology. In the 1981 – 82 catalog, this was corrected to be PSY 351 and PSY 451 – Advanced Research Methods in Psychology.)
Emphases in Mathematics Major
1. Statistics or Actuarial Mathematics Emphasis
Majors with this emphasis must also include
In addition, students interested in statistics should have a good background in computers. Students interested in actuarial science should have a good background in business and economics. Many students with this background take one or two of the actuarial exams which are required for working as an actuary in an insurance company. These national exams can be taken on the Grand Valley campus in November and May under the supervision of the Mathematics and Computer Science Department.
2. Elementary or Secondary Certification Emphasis
Majors seeking elementary certification are also required to complete:
Majors seeking secondary certification are required to complete:
3. Applied Mathematics Emphasis
Majors seeking careers as mathematicians in industry or governmental agencies should include:
as well as additional courses in computer science and statistics.
4. Pregraduate Mathematics Emphasis
Majors who plan to do graduate work in pure mathematics should consult with their advisors to enroll in appropriate courses and independent studies. Study of French, German, or Russian is strongly recommended.
There were no changes in the mathematics major during the next two years. The cluster colleges at Grand Valley were merged into a single college for the 1983 – 84 academic year. This did not affect the mathematics major requirements since the only cluster college offering a mathematics major was the College of Arts and Sciences. The Department of Mathematics and Computer Science was now a part of the new Science and Mathematics Division. However, beginning with this catalog, the computer science major was separated from the mathematics major and all computer science courses had a CS prefix. Following are descriptions of some changes that were made to the mathematics major.
Substitutions for these courses were permitted with department approval.
The next major change in the requirements for a mathematics major was related to new general education requirements approved by Grand Valley State College, which went into effect for the 1987 – 88 academic year.


Last Modified Date: March 25, 2014  
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