History of Mathematics at GVSU
Mathematics Major - 1980 to 1987


Phone: 616-331-2041
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 1980-81 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:
 
  • Students seeking the B.A. degree in mathematics now had to complete the same cognate requirements than those seeking the B.S. degree. (The College of Arts and Sciences still required B.A. to demonstrate a third-semester proficiency in a foreign language. The college also required B.S. students to demonstrate a second-semester proficiency in a foreign language or to complete one additional arts or humanities course in addition to those included in their distribution program.)
  • MTH 227 – Linear Algebra I was removed from the core. In fact, this course was eliminated from the curriculum, and there was now only one linear algebra course (MTH 321)
  • MTH 225 – Finite Mathematics replaced MTH 227 in the core.
  • A new course, MTH 235 – Communicating in Mathematics, was added to the core requirements for a mathematics major.
 
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 1980-81 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 even-numbered years.
 
Other changes in the major included the following:
  • MTH 221 and MTH 222 were renamed as Mathematics for Elementary Teachers I and Mathematics for Elementary Teachers II to emphasize that these courses were intended for prospective elementary teachers. These courses could only be applied toward the 36 credits in mathematics in the Elementary Certification Emphasis.
  • MTH 229 was renamed as Mathematical Activities for Secondary Education to indicate that this course was intended for prospective secondary teachers. It was no longer required for elementary certification.
  • For the statistics emphasis, there were now two courses in mathematical statistics. The original course was renumbered and a second course was added. These courses were MTH 315 – Mathematical Statistics I and MTH 415 – Mathematical Statistics II. MTH 315 was required for the Statistics Emphasis and either MTH 316 – Statistics III or MTH 415 was required for this emphasis.
 
Following is a description of the requirements for a mathematics major from the 1980-81 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:
  • ECO 210 – Principles of Economics (Macro) and ECO 313 – Macroeconomic Theory;
  • ECO 211 – Principles of Economics (Micro) and ECO 312 – Microeconomic Theory
  • HSC 435 – History of Mathematics and HSC 399 – Readings in the History of Science;
  • PHY 230 – Principles of Physics I;
  • CHM 356 – Physical Chemistry I, CHM 357 – Physical Chemistry Lab I;
  • PSY 251 – Introduction to Experimental Methods in Psychology and PSY 351 – Advanced Experimental Methods in Psychology
Substitutions for courses on this list must receive departmental approval. (It is interesting to note that the psychology department had eliminated this two-course 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
215 – Statistics I
216 – Statistics II
315 – Mathematical Statistics I
316 – Statistics III or 415 – Mathematical Statistics II
One other approved course
 
 
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:
150 – Introduction to Computing
215 – Statistics I
221 – Mathematics for Elementary Teachers I
222 – Mathematics for Elementary Teachers II
341 – Geometry
345 – Discrete Structures
420 – Classical Algebra
 
 
Majors seeking secondary certification are required to complete:
150 – Introduction to Computing or 151 – Introduction to Programming
229 – Mathematical Activities for Secondary Education
341 – Geometry
345 – Discrete Structures
420 – Classical Algebra
 
 
3.   Applied Mathematics Emphasis
Majors seeking careers as mathematicians in industry or governmental agencies should include:
152 – Computer Programming in FORTRAN
215 – Statistics I
216 – Statistics II
300 – Applied Analysis I
302 – Ordinary Differential Equations
400 – Applied Analysis II
405 – Numerical Analysis
 
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.
 
  1. In 1983 MTH 227 – Linear Algebra I was added as a required course for all mathematics majors. This course replaced MTH 225 – Finite Mathematics in the core, which now consisted of the three courses in the calculus sequence, MTH 227, and MTH 235 – Communicating in Mathematics. The department also added a second course in linear algebra (MTH 327 – Linear Algebra II), which could be used as an upper-level elective in the major.
 
  1. A statistics course was added as a requirement for the Secondary Certification Emphasis. These students were now required to complete MTH 215 – Statistics I or MTH 315 – Mathematical Statistics I.
 
  1. In 1985, the cognate requirements for the mathematics major were changed. Cognate courses were intended to be courses outside of mathematics that made a significant use of mathematics or were somehow related to mathematics. After reviewing the courses in the cognate requirements, the department decided that many of these courses did not meet the intended purpose of cognate courses. So for the 1985 – 86 catalog, the cognate requirement for the mathematics major was the completion of a physics course and a computer science courses. In particular, mathematics majors were required to complete
    • PHY 230 – Principles of Physics I; and
    • CS 151 – Introduction to Programming or CS 152 – Programming in FORTRAN.
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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