Lack of preparation in mathematics is often a stumbling block for STEM and other undergraduates, and apparently that is true in Ireland as well. Besides offering math courses with lectures and recitations, all Irish college and universities have mathematics support centres. A 2014 study of students who use the centres found positive impacts on the students – more confidence in mathematics, better performance in classes, and fewer dropouts.
I suspect most colleges and universities in the United States have similar help centers, but we usually call them math labs. Although, I wonder if we have an equivalent to the Irish Mathematics Learning Support Network (IMLSN). This national group is a community of practice for those who manage and work in support centres. The network does training and research, and holds conferences. In fact, the network was involved in the study mentioned above.
Math librarians – do you spend time in the math labs? I’m a relatively new mathematics librarian and realize that I haven’t visited our math lab yet. It’s time for me to see what literature or research support I can offer to the lab managers, and whether I can help them get linked up to a group like IMLSN. It’s indirect help, but it still supports STEM retention.