Spring comes to the circle

Spring term is here so we are off and running again. The first of two revisit days comes tomorrow with second coming next Friday. Of course, mother nature is not cooperating and it is supposed to snow. These revisit days have become more and more important as almost all the students we accepted are coming back for a second look here and at the other places they were accepted. Needless to say, we are involved in a very competitive enterprise.

I’m not coaching this term so I now have some time to work on several math projects. The first is part of a National Science Foundation Project that is looking at the value of Computational Thinking. This is being hosted by the DIMACS (Discrete Mathematics Center ) at Rutgers. We are creating a bunch of modules that will be used at the high school level. The idea is how to frame problems is a way that some part of computational technology can be sued in the solution. The module I am working on is on the NFL draft. Apparently, nobody is happy with how to best prepare for this process. It turns out that the position one is drafted at is not a very good predictor of success. Tom Brady is a good example. If anyone reading this is interested in this problem I highly recommend the book Scorecasting: The Hidden Influences Behind How Sports Are Played and Games Are Won which has a chapter on how the Dallas Cowboys dominated the draft in the 90s. The other project is creating an on-line international study group focusing on voting and how it is done around the world. Once we get going I will have more to say about this.

These are really interesting times. The school is changing faster now than at any time in the 44 years I have worked here. We are more diverse, offering more, and doing our best to develop programs that will help our graduates deal with the increasingly complex world we live in. In my next post, I will have more to say about the work we are doing to create a curriculum that is focusing on adding STEM ( Science, technology, engineering, mathematics ) related courses.

I’d be glad to respond to any questions you have about life around the circle and what it is like in the year 2011. Hope to see a lot of you this Reunion Weekend.

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