Lower division mathematics courses (e.g. pre-calculus and calculus) are required for many of the majors at UC Merced because mathematics is the foundation for many different areas of study. At UC Merced, we teach our lower division mathematics courses to emphasize learning fundamental mathematics as well as its application to other fields of study such as biology, economics and physics. To that end, we emphasize learning mathematics conceptually and concretely by exploring topics analytically, graphically, computationally and verbally.
At some point in college, most students discover that their study habits from high school do not work well anymore. Hence, many students find our lower division courses to be difficult - even students who have taken these courses in high school are likely to be surprised by the amount of work we require. This discovery should not be discouraging. Rather, it is an encouraging sign that students are growing intellectually.
To help our students to learn mathematics as best as they can, our math instructors provide students a variety of experiences to learn mathematics through lectures, discussion sections, homework and various workshops. In addition, there is free tutoring available on campus in the Student Advising and Learning Center.
We do all that we can to help students learn mathematics well. However, we emphasize also that students must take control, ownership and responsibility for their academic career.