VMATYC Visions

Spring 2009

The newsletter of the
the Virginia
Association of
Two Year Colleges

Table of contents
click to go to any article or just scroll down
President's message - Sarah Martin
Spring 2009 VMATYC Conference - Ann Loving
Developmental Education Task Force - Jennifer Allman
Blackboard Course with COMPASS Math Tutorials - Inez Farrell
VCCS course description review- Linda Taylor
VMATYC Nominating Committee - Linda Taylor
The Glenn Fox scholarship - Linda Taylor
VMATYC membership - Susan Fleming
Fall Regional meetings
Central - Nan Dupuy
Eastern - Mary Dobbs
Northern - Kevin Ratliff
Western - Harriette Roadman

President's Message

Our 2009 Spring Conference team, headed by President-Elect Ann Loving and site coordinator Pablo Chalmeta, is busy planning our 23rd annual conference to be held on April 3 – 4 at New River Community College. More information on this conference can be found elsewhere in the newsletter. Make plans now to head “off to the mountains” this spring for a “magical mathematics tour.”

This is an election year for VMATYC, so please consider running for an office. Besides making a difference to your profession, you will have an opportunity to get to know some wonderful colleagues around the state. Many of our meetings are conducted by video conference, so the travel commitment is very limited.

As you know, VMATYC is a state affiliate of AMATYC, American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges. If you are not currently an AMATYC member, I hope you will consider joining. There are many benefits of being a member of a national organization in your professional field. Check out the website at http://www.amatyc.org/ for information on the next conference, High Expectations, which will be held in Las Vegas on Nov. 12 – 15, 2009.

Many thanks to those of you who serve as campus contact persons for VMATYC. This allows VMATYC to distribute information to each of the twenty three VCCS community colleges. Another way to share information is through the VMATYC listserv. If you are not receiving e-mails on various topics through the listserv, contact Jon Wilkin at jwilkin@nvcc.edu to have your name added to the list. In addition, the VCCS recently set up a Blackboard site for the Math & Computer Science Peer Group. We are considering possible uses for this site, such as facilitating discussions related to revisions of the VCCS Master Course File.

I look forwarding to seeing you in April at New River!

Sarah Martin return to table of  contents

Register now to attend the Spring VMATYC Conference

New River Community College will be hosting the Spring, 2009 VMATYC Conference on April 3 & 4 in Dublin. The theme for the conference is “Off to the Mountains: A Magical Tour of Mathematics”.

Details concerning the Spring VMATYC conference are now available by clicking here
Conference registration forms are accessible from the conference information link again and also from the conference page on the web site.

 The 2009 VMATYC Conference is being run immediately following New Horizons this year.  New Horizons will be in Roanoke and VMATYC will be in Dublin, just a short one-hour drive down Interstate 81S from Roanoke.

Ann Loving

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Developmental Education Task Force

Dr. Monty Sullivan, VCCS Vice Chancellor for Academic Services and Research, has appointed a Developmental Education Task Force to “review developmental education practices throughout the system and make recommendations on what steps the system should take to become the premier purveyor of developmental education, to include improved student success and more streamlined and efficient ways of delivery.”   The specific charge calls for the task force to focus on a number of dimensions of developmental education: clarifying purpose, reviewing policies, proposing data reports, examining structure and successful strategies, and making broad recommendations to significantly enhance outcomes for student learning and success.

The task force began its work in November, 2008, and is scheduled to submit its final report in September, 2009.  The full charge and list of members, as well as links to a number of articles and reports being reviewed by the task force,  can be found at the following site: 


Those who would like to post comments and ideas for consideration by the task force are invited to do so on this site.

Jennifer Allman, VCCS

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Blackboard Course with COMPASS Math Tutorials

This document explains the background to the Math Tutorials Correlated to COMPASS Test course that has appeared to a number of Math instructors in their Blackboard course listings. It is hoped this article will dispel some of the mystery.

The Academic Vice Presidents of Virginia’s Community Colleges expressed a need for math tutorials that targeted the same areas tested by COMPASS. Many students arrive at our college doors with math deficits in a variety of areas, and they are given a COMPASS placement test without any preparation or study. Although the COMPASS site offers some guidance, the Vice Presidents felt that more information that included activities and practice would be beneficial. Furthermore, there are students in various levels of math who demonstrate gaps in their basic math knowledge.

To support faculty in their work with these students, these tutorials were developed and may serve to support instructors in addressing these individual needs. Faculty have complete discretion over how, when and whether to use the tutorials. The tutorials may be selectively used in any context that faculty judge to be appropriate.

The new course consists of Math Tutorial learning objects that are also correlated to the COMPASS Test. There are twelve lessons, each with its own set of objectives, lessons, practice activities, and assessments. There is a faculty handbook with instructional design suggestions for the lessons along with answer keys. The lessons contain graphics, videos, interactive activities, and the Interact Math program that presents problems with immediate feedback to students and tracks their progress throughout the activity. This course is not intended to be a stand-alone online solution but rather a collection of instructionally designed math learning objects that can be used by instructors any way they see as valuable.

A course shell was created and categorized for each college and can be accessed by college Blackboard administrators. Faculty may be added to the course and can have material from the course copied to their own courses, where they may use the content as they see fit.

Announcements of the availability of this course were sent out to the Vice Presidents, with Instructional Technologists and Faculty listserv copied. The DDLC and the Developmental Education Task Force were informed at their February meetings. Blackboard Administrators were briefed at their bimonthly Tuesday morning meetings. Deans were notified with the request that all on their campus who could benefit from this announcement be informed. At some colleges, decisions were made to enroll math faculty in these courses.

Inez Farrell, VCCS

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VCCS Course Review Progress

There was a discussion group held at each of the four regional meetings this fall concerning the review of the VCCS master course file. Much input but not many definitive decisions were made. The most agreed upon change was concerning the removal of the computer component from MTH 151. The idea of articulation was brought up even concerning that. Plans are for a draft of the suggested changes be compiled this spring for final discussion at the spring meeting. Because of some changes which are being looked at by the state that would possibly alter the developmental courses, it has been asked of VCCS to allow us to make a decision on some of the courses and present those recommendations for approval, rather than trying to make the decision on all the courses before submitting our recommendations on any of them. A careful analysis of a number of specialty courses are in place to determine if they each are still filling a need, or were they developed for a specific reason that is no longer necessary. If the latter is the case, the course needs to be recommended to be eliminated. 

Make your plans now to attend the spring conference so you can express your concerns about the proposals for those courses to be recommended for changes.

Linda Taylor return to table of  contents
Nominating Committee

The ballot for the upcoming VMATYC Executive Board elections are in the final developing stage. Thanks to each VMATYC member who has expressed a desire to serve the association in one of the nine elected positions. All VCCS faculty who were current members of VMATYC on February 1 will be receiving a ballot in the mail at their preferred listed address. Please watch for your ballot and be diligent and return your vote in a timely manner. Elections should be complete by spring break time and the 2009-2011 VMATYC Executive Board will be introduced at the business meeting during the spring conference.

As has been demonstrated in many recent public elections, every vote truly does count and it is a privilege in our great country to have the right of choice. Please exercise your right and make your vote count!!!

Linda Taylor return to table of  contents

Glenn Fox VMATYC Mathematics and Computer Science Scholarship

The Glenn Fox VMATYC Mathematics and Computer Science Scholarship committee will begin publicizing for the 2009-2010 scholarship applicants at the April VMATYC conference. The deadline for the scholarship will be about June first. Begin now seriously considering that very special student you have this semester—or remember the extra special one who completed a course with your last semester. Remember the applicant must intend to major in mathematics, computer science, or mathematics education and demonstrate potential for success in any of these areas. For a full listing of the eligibility criteria, visit the VMATYC website and select Scholarship.

Due to the fact there were no applicants last year, the Board has approved to give two $800 scholarships this year to the top two deserving students. With the hard economic situation right now, $800 would be received gratefully.

Make sure you nominate your student for such a deserving state-wide award—and you will have the privilege of the VMATYC scholarship plaque to display at your school during the coming year.
Linda Taylor return to table of  contents


VMATYC’s membership year runs from September to August. That means many memberships expired on September 1. Please remember to renew at your fall conference or by going to http://www.virginia.matyc.org/ to print the membership form. Also reach out to new math and computer science faculty on your campus and encourage them to join VMATYC. At just $10 membership dues are a real bargain.

Susan Fleming return to table of  contents

Fall Regional Conferences


The Central Region 2008 fall conference was held at CVCC on October 17, 2008 with 22 attendees. There was a brief general session where we shared information on the upcoming AMATYC and VMATYC conferences. Southside CC has volunteered to host the 2010 VMATYC spring conference. Pardha Gadiyaram is the site coordinator and he gave a short talk about Southside CC. VMATYC President Sarah Martin presented Katherine Barringer with a plaque in honor of her years of service to VMATYC. Afterwards, Rachelle Koudelik-Jones (VWCC) led a discussion on the Course Review process. Cindy Wallin (CVCC) gave a presentation on the Effective Use of Technology in the Classroom.

Nan Dupuy return to table of  contents


J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College hosted the Eastern Region Fall Conference and welcomed math instructors from Tidewater, Thomas Nelson and John Tyler as well as speakers from MCV, Christopher Newport University and Northern Virginia Community College. Fifty-seven participants selected from eight different sessions and then gathered for a business session regarding the review of mathematics courses in the VCCS Master Course File.

Sessions being offered included the following.

R. H. Henley, JSRCC - The Virtual Graphing Tour
George DeRise, TNCC - The Poincare Conjecture
Randy Pittman, JSRCC - PRISMM
Faith John, JSRCC - Math and Bach
Bob Carrico, MCV - The Effects of Growth and Maturation on Body Composition (a statistical research project)
Gayle Childers and Ted Adams, JSRCC - NSF STEM Scholarship
Ron Persky, CNU - The Man Who Counted
John Gallo and Judy Williams, TCC - More GAISE

Many stayed for an informal dinner after the sessions. This is always a good time to have informal conversations with colleagues from our sister colleges. I find that this time is frequently just as much of a “sharing session” as the formal sessions of the conference.
Mary Dobbs return to table of  contents


The Northern Region fall conference was held at the Annandale campus of NVCC on Saturday, November 1, 2008, with 48 attendees.  Following registration and a continental breakfast, a welcome was provided from the campus dean and announcements were made by the conference coordinator, Terry Krize, and northern region vice-president, Kevin Ratliff.  Two breakout sessions included presentations by 8 volunteers (4 in the first session and 4 in the second) including:
Jon Hexter, PVCC - Good Returns on a Thought Investment — Organizing a TI-84 Program for Financial Mathematics
Don Goral, NVCC - Cyborg Professor
Jim Cole, LFCC - Math: Don’t Make it a Foreign Language
NV Fitton, NVCC - Hello World
Linda Taylor, NVCC - VCCS Mathematics Course Review
Susan Howe, TI - Get Nspired with New Technology
TJ Johnson, -BRCC - Winplot for Precalculus and Calculus
Allison Bisson, NVCC - Constructing a Learning Community with Developmental Algebra and Student Development
After the sessions, lunch was provided by the NVCC members and then the attendees broke out into six different groups according to core subject areas for discussion.
Kevin Ratliff return to table of  contents


The Southwest Regional VMATYC Group met on Friday, October 24, 2008 at the Southwest Regional Higher Education Center on the Virginia Highlands CC campus in Abingdon, VA.  We had a wonderful buffet lunch followed by a presentation from Chris Allgyer on the Achieving the Dream Initiatives at MECC and a presentation by Pansy Waycaster on her research on tracking developmental math students into college level courses at VHCC.  Yvonne Jessee from MECC led a discussion of the course review process of the VCCS Master Course List.  Harriette Roadman reported that a representative from Virginia Tech will be hosting an information session on VCCS/VT math transfer credit guidelines at the state VMATYC conference in April.  There was a lot of lively discussion and interaction during each of the presentations, and all attendees seemed to enjoy the afternoon together.

Harriette Roadman return to table of  contents