Asheville Initiative for Mathematics

UNC Asheville Pi Run logo with running track in the background

 

Asheville Initiative for Mathematics (AIM)

AIM is a public outreach project run by the Math department. Our mission is to promote excellence in math education and universal math literacy.

Every Monday, some of our students volunteer as math tutors at nearby middle schools. We also coordinate projects and events every semester to get the community more involved -- our next big event will be the Pi Day Run in the upcoming Spring semester!

 

Marvelous Math Club (MMC)

Check out this video of a moment from our Marvelous Math Club: MMC Multiplication!

 

Black History Month

February was Black History Month. There have been Black professional mathematicians in the United States, even since colonial days. Here are some articles and sites where you can learn more. 

The women of Hidden Figures

Ten Famous Black Mathematicians

A Timeline of Blacks in American Mathematics

Black Mathematicians and the Mathematical Association of America

History of Math Archive

Profiles of 500 Black Mathematicians

 

Pi Day Run

The Pi Day Run is a chance to show your support for math literacy, which influences our ability to solve problems, understand statistical concepts like risk, and the ability to communicate effectively with numbers. Math literacy is an essential skill in our current workforce environment and will continue to grow in importance for personal economic success.

The next Pi Day Run will be held on March 18th, 2018. For more information, including how to register, please visit The UNCA Pi-Run Event Page.

 

Why Math Literacy?

Math literacy is more important than ever for the future of our nation, but our nation lags behind all other industrial countries in math education.

The national workforce of future years will surely have to handle quantitative concepts more fully and more deftly than at present. So will the citizens and policy leaders who deal with the public interest in positions of civic leadership. Sound education in mathematics across the population is a national interest.

Success in mathematics education also is important for individual citizens, because it gives them college and career options, and it increases prospects for future income. A strong grounding in high school mathematics through Algebra II or higher correlates powerfully with access to college, graduation from college, and earning in the top quartile of income from employment. --Final Report, President’s National Mathematics Advisory Council, 2008

Apart from economics, the social and political consequences of mathematical illiteracy provide alarming signals for the survival of democracy in America. Because mathematics holds the key to leadership in our information-based society, the widening gap between those who are mathematically literate and those who are not coincides, to a frightening degree, with racial and economic categories. We are at risk of becoming a divided nation in which knowledge of mathematics supports a productive, technologically powerful elite while a dependent, semiliterate majority, disproportionately Hispanic and Black, find economic and political power beyond reach. Unless corrected, innumeracy and illiteracy will drive America apart. --Everybody Counts, National Research Council, 1989

There is much discussion about the achievement gap between racial groups. Though not as stark as the economic gap, racial gaps have not narrowed in the last few decades. However, a well-supported math education helps to eliminate both of these indicators.

Research suggests a strategy of supporting student’s math skills and preparing all students for upper-level math courses in high school. The ability to achieve such a goal is not far-fetched. We need to bring resources to bear on math literacy. However, teachers and school systems cannot address this issue alone. We must enlarge the conversation of improving math literacy to include teachers, students, parents, academic administrators, business leaders and community leaders to even have a chance at success.

The role of UNC Asheville as a public institution is to bring students, teachers and research to the table. By acting as a facilitator, UNC Asheville is well-positioned to impact math literacy locally and to act as a model for other communities to address this critical national issue.

Program Goals & History

Goal of Public Outreach

The goal of public outreach is to reframe how we think of math. Math literacy includes the skills of arithmetic, mastery of basic statistical concepts, problem-solving skills, critical-thinking skills and the ability to communicate effectively in quantitative terms. These are essential skills in our current work force environment and will continue to grow in importance for personal economic success. These skills also allow us to adapt to a constantly shifting work arena. 

Guiding Assumptions

  1. Mathematics is the study of relations between objects. 
  2. Mathematics is fun and should be celebrated.
  3. Everyone can learn and enjoy mathematics.
  4. Mathematics connects to everyone’s everyday experience. 
  5. There is no such dichotomy as “numbers people” and “words people.” 
  6. Math literacy improves learning outcomes in math and science.
  7. Math literacy helps develop executive function, which in turn positively impacts every facet of a person’s life. 
  8. Mathematics can positively transform both the individual and the community by opening doors to higher education, critical thinking, executive function, financial planning and self-esteem.

History

In Fall 2006, the UNC Asheville Math Department decided to extend our community outreach. But, we wanted to avoid a top-down approach, telling the community what they need. Instead we listened to community partners and identified needs and resources We formed an informal group of allies. Our conversations led to multiple activities including public outreach, professional development and tutor training. We are currently building a sustainable balance of outreach, student research and tutoring resources.

Connection to UNC Asheville's Mission Statement

The mission of UNC Asheville states:

…the university aims to develop students of broad perspective who think critically and creatively, communicate effectively, and participate actively in their communities.

The promotion of numeracy at all levels in the community improves critical thinking as well as communication of ideas with mathematical content.

As a public university, UNC Asheville serves the region and state in ways that complement its educational mission. It encourages students, faculty, and staff to interact with and serve the community, and it shares cultural and educational resources with citizens at all stages of life and learning.

The Asheville Institute of Mathematics serves as conduit for faculty, students and ideas to reach out to the community and to identify and respond to needs in the community related to mathematics.

Faculty & Staff

Director

Tutor Support

  • Dr. Evan Couzo

Tutoring Coordinator

  • Tommy Moore

Project Coordinator

  • Anne Marie Roberts

AIM Assistants

  • Jeremy Gage
  • Anastasia Loomis
  • Lucas Myers
  • Marcy Pedzwater
  • Ivy Sugars

Junior Bulldog Coordinator

  • Jeremy Gage

Event Coordinators

  • Marcy Pedzwater
  • Ivy Sugars

Events

Spring 2018 Pi Day Run

The Asheville Initiative for Mathematics is a public outreach project run by the Math department. Our mission is to promote excellence in math education and universal math literacy. The Pi Day Run is a chance to show your support for math literacy, which influences our ability to solve problems, understand statistical concepts like risk, and the ability to communicate effectively with numbers. Math literacy is an essential skill in our current workforce environment and will continue to grow in importance for personal economic success. For more information visit The UNCA Pi-Run Event Page.

Fall 2017

This Fall, we're continuing Project Snowflake from last year. For more information, please visit The Project Snowflake Page.