See full letter emailed March 4, 2010 (pdf 60kb).
Dear friends and colleagues, Greetings from the Dana Center.
We are sending a special thanks to all of you who have helped make our annual mathematics and science higher education conference such an exciting part of our work for the past 14+ years. During that time we have made many friends and learned much from you about working in higher education, how to ease the transition from high school to higher education for students, and how to best support preservice teachers. We have been fortunate to participate with the THECB Teacher Quality staff and grant recipients for the past several years, and to add our science colleagues to what started out as a conference for mathematics faculty.
The Dana Center has decided to use this year to reevaluate the role of our higher education conference in enhancing mathematics and science teaching, so we will not host the annual conference this year. We are aware of the role that the conference has played in helping you network and share your experiences, and we know that many of the problems we have addressed in previous conferences still persist. It is our hope that you will find other venues in which to learn from each other, especially in terms of building the capacity of preservice teachers who will need to be highly effective in their future career.
Currently, we are reviewing our Dana Center priorities in working with higher education faculty and institutions to address the desperate need of students to successfully navigate college-level mathematics. Our new directions will include working with community colleges, universities, higher education systems, and national organizations to redesign ways for students to enter higher education through alternate, and more efficient and productive, pathways to and through college-level mathematics and science. The first of several pathways will be a year-long statistics experience (Statway) that for many may serve as the one mathematics course they need for certification or graduation (instead of College Algebra as the gatekeeper). This pathway would also include review or relearning of the mathematics that students need to be successful, as well as "doing college" components. We are investigating multiple funding sources for this work and investing significant time in the proposed initiative.
Since we normally begin to send out information about the annual higher education conference at this time of year, we feel it is appropriate to let you know of our plans. We value the contribution that each of you makes to education in Texas in mathematics and/or science. It is our hope that you will continue to call on each other for support. We will reconsider this decision after a year's break in our schedule, and you can be assured that we will think of you come October!
Thanks again for all you do. We truly appreciate you.
Susan Hull, Bill Hopkins, and Vanessa Westbrook