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Treisman in front of a class

That Killer Class: How One Course Can Make or Break You

October 31, 2019|By Alison Kothe

For math professor Uri Treisman, working with students in their first semester of college is a privilege.

“The first semester of college is critical for all students, but especially for first-generation, low-income, or rural students,” says Treisman, UT professor and Dana Center executive director. “The first semester sets the pattern for the rest of your college experience. During that first semester, students get to decide who they want to be, how they want to interact with others, and how they will study. It’s a make or break time.”

Which is why Treisman has chosen to teach freshman calculus for more than forty years. 

Treisman working in class with his calculus students.
Treisman working in class with his students.

“I enjoy it. It’s a place where I can make a big difference for students.”

Recently, Marc Airhart interviewed Treisman and his teaching assistant Ivonne Martinez about three tactics Treisman uses in his classroom to help students succeed in this all-important first semester of college. 

Treisman’s approach, grounded in educational psychology and honed over years of experimentation, supports the many efforts The University of Texas at Austin has developed to strengthen the first-year experience for students.

“My class is a small part of the UT experience. But it is a privilege to guide my students into the powerful worlds of scholarship and the university.”

Listen to the interview with Treisman on Texas Standard to learn more about his student support practices.

Read more about Treisman’s classroom in Paul Tough’s new book The Years That Matter Most.

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About the Author

Alison Kothe

On long car trips, I used to do long division for fun. The more paper I could use for a single problem, the better. While my husband loves to tease me about this, I still find joy in solving problems using elegant strategies. As a communications professional here at the Dana Center, I infuse my love of mathematics into the stories I share.  

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