Congressman José E. Serrano

Representing the 15th District of New York

Congressman Serrano Announces $100,000 in Funding to Hostos/Lehman to Help Minority Students Acquire Quantitative Reasoning Skills

Feb 27, 2017
Press Release

Washington, DC – Congressman Serrano today announced that the National Science Foundation has awarded Hostos Community College and Lehman College in the Bronx $103,020 in funding for research how to apply quantitative reasoning (QR) – the use of numbers and data using critical thinking skills – into different college courses and help underrepresented minorities learn these skills to help them attain professional and personal success.

“Having solid quantitative reasoning skills is critical for those aspiring to STEM careers and to successfully carry out personal responsibilities like managing their finances. This funding will allow two local educational institutions that primarily serve underrepresented minorities to demonstrate how QR skills can be incorporated into a wide a range of courses to help minority students strengthen their abilities. Thanks to this initiative our youth will have the skills they need to succeed both professionally and personally in the future,” said Congressman Serrano, who is the senior Democrat on the Appropriations Committee overseeing funding for the National Science Foundation.

Project description from the National Science Foundation:

Quantitative reasoning (QR), the contextualized use of numbers and data in a way that involves critical thinking skills, is essential for informed decision making, career advancement, and full participation in civic life. Most students do not have sufficient opportunities to learn the QR skills needed for personal and professional success, and this disadvantage is particularly acute among students from underrepresented minority populations. In response to this need, two Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), Hostas Community College and Lehman College will implement a professional development (PD) project, Numeracy Infusion for College Educators (NICE), for 24 faculty in those two institutions along with Bronx Community College faculty (also an HSI). The project will build on prior work in which faculty members learned how to infuse QR into courses ranging from biology, chemistry, and mathematics, to African and African-American studies, history, and political science.

Over the course of the project, faculty volunteers will participate either in an intensive 10-week summer program or in a 10-month program offered during the academic year. The NICE project will teach faculty how to (a) apply QR within the context of their subject areas, (b) articulate QR learning goals and objectives, (c) incorporate best practices for teaching QR, (d) adapt and implement strategies for infusing QR into course instruction, and (e) assess the effectiveness of QR initiatives. The same progressive teaching methods that have proven effective in undergraduate QR instruction will be used to teach faculty within the NICE program; specifically, faculty will engage in active and collaborative learning using real-world data. Toward establishing an adaptable model for faculty PD in QR that offers a comparison between an extended academic year experience and a more intense summer-only experience, the project team will focus on three key research questions: (1) How does the NICE program enhance the QR teaching abilities of faculty? (2) How does the NICE program impact faculty efforts to infuse QR into their course instruction?; and (3) How does faculty participation in NICE translate into real QR learning gains among CUNY students?