RATIONALE FOR UNIVERSITY MATHEMATICS REQUIREMENT
Mathematics is one of the great achievements of the human mind. The mathematical way of thinking empowers the human intellect, enhances critical thinking, and facilitates rational decision-making. This has been recognized since classical times, and for this reason mathematics has become part of a great intellectual tradition, which includes the philosophical writing of Plato and Descartes and the four subjects of the medieval quadrivium. Representing ideas in a symbolic manner and analyzing arguments with the help of logic are, first and foremost, mathematical exercises.
Applications of mathematics pervade today’s culture. Policy makers and ordinary citizens increasingly confront issues in science and technology which are formulated in mathematical language. However, mathematics far exceeds this historical scope. For example, mathematics is used to analyze personal finances, formulate government fiscal policy, justify data-based decisions, encode and protect information, provide a unified understanding of the forces of nature, and manage the treatment of disease. Understanding the scope and power of mathematics enables graduates to better make informed decisions as citizens and as potential leaders of the country and of the world.
Goals and Perspectives
Following are specific learning goals for courses which satisfy the University mathematics requirement, and a few comments about these courses.