Students ask board for math changes

A group of MCCC students petitioned for an improved math system at the April 25 Board of Trustees meeting.

Austin Eby, an MCCC student who led the petition, said his goal was to see a traditional, lecture class added to the math program.

“I am not trying to eliminate the whole program. I’m just trying to bring an additional class in for students who are failing,” Eby said.

Four students stood in front of the board and voiced their concerns about the math system. Each student shared their personal struggles with the current math program. Students argued that the program was not fit for all learners and should be adjusted to accommodate everyone.

“I feel that I got the word out. It’s still unknown on how well it went in the sense of how people really feel about it, so we will have to wait and see in the future what’s going to happen,” Eby said.

Eby thought the students voiced their petitions effectively and hopes their efforts will produce change. He did not hold high expectations for the petition, but he was happy with the outcome. He said this is just the beginning.

“I am going to continue even though I am done with the program after this week,” Eby said. “For future students, I want to keep going and not give up.”

Vinnie Maltese, the Dean of the Science/Mathematics Division, said Henry Ford College combines lecture format and the Emporium model for math classes. All math students attend lectures for a few weeks, then professors chose which students attend the lectures and which move to the Emporium method.

“We could probably try something like that, but it’s easier to do it at a much bigger school because you have more options there. But we could look into something like that,” Maltese said.

Maltese mentioned several logistical issues with the students’ petition. Adding a lecture class into the curriculum will cost more money. He also said research suggests students who choose their math program are not successful.

“They [researchers] say that when students self-chose which method, it was a disaster. They really didn’t know which one was best for them. They just had something that they felt they might be more comfortable with,” Maltese said.

Grace Yackee, Vice President of Instruction, said the data proves students have more success with the Emporium method than traditional lectures. Yackee fears MCCC’s math courses will take a turn for the worse if lectures are incorporated into the curriculum.

“All the best practice research says that’s not the direction to go,” Yackee said. “Students want to place themselves, and they don’t always know what works.”

According to Yackee, the majority of students who struggle with the current math program have not done their homework. She was surprised to hear successful students complaining. She plans to meet with two of the students who spoke because she wants to find the issue.

“We’ll continue exploring all the feedback,” Yackee said.

Kojo Quartey, the college’s president, asked the Board of Trustee’s to authorize his pursuit of a 0.95-mill, five-year property tax for facility maintenance. The proposal received unanimous support from the board members.

The college currently levies 2.1794 mills in property tax. If the millage is passed, the levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 home less than $4 per month. 

The college has requested the millage to compensate the recent decline in enrollment and revenue from taxes and state funding.

Kojo Quartey, the college president, said the millage is necessary for critical facility renovations and technology upgrades to ensure safety, accessibility, and efficiency.

The levy covers renovations to Life Sciences Building, East Technology Building, West Technology Building, Audrey M. Warrick Student Services/Administration Building, and the Campbell Learning Resources Center. The millage also includes plans to renovate the Gerald Welch Health Education Building and the Whitman Center in Temperance.

Quartey and campaign volunteers plan to visit neighboring cities to raise awareness of MCCC’s needs and encourage voters to pass the millage.

Quartey told the board the college has negotiated an agreement to sell the Hurd Road property to the Patriot Group Construction for $300,000. The college will be allowed to continue to use part of the facilities for the Welding Center of Expertise free of charge for seven years. The board gave the president permission to finalize the offer.

The board also recognized Gary Wilson’s retirement. Board member James DeVries, a former faculty member, presented the award to Wilson. Many people in the audience stood to congratulate him.