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Applied Math Seminar: Why, What and How Calculus

May 6, 2022 - 3:00pm

While there is a Zoom option, after the seminar we will have an end of the semester reception with some light snacks.

When: Friday, May 6th from, 3:00 - 4:20pm (talk will start at 3:20pm)

Where: Granite Pass 135 or Zoom (

Title: “Why, What and How” Calculus


UC Merced: Mayya Tokman, Lei Yue, Erica Rutter, Changho Kim, Keith Thompson, Zenaida Aguirre-Munoz, Sarah Frey

Fresno State: Lalita Oka, Khang Tran, Comlan de Souza


In this talk we will provide an overview of the “Why, What and How” Calculus (WWHC) project which started in the applied math department in Fall 2021. WWHC is a joint effort between Principal Investigators (PIs) at UC Merced and Fresno Stated sponsored by a three-year grant from the California Learning Lab. The project is focused on redesigning Calculus I and II courses away from outdated, technique-based instruction and towards emphasis on conceptual understanding and practical experience with solving problems from authentic STEM applications. The PIs team is accomplishing this task by introducing new content, format and assessments for the courses which adapt the latest research in math education and by embracing innovative instructional approaches such as active learning and project-based instruction. Additionally, support systems are being built for students and instructors that leverage existing campus resources and create an infrastructure that promotes novel effective teaching and learning strategies. The main goals of the project are (i) to improve success rates in the first-year calculus courses, (ii) to improve persistence in STEM majors, (iii) to close the achievement gaps in calculus performance for underrepresented minority (URM), first-generation in college and female students.

A group of WWHC PIs will share the overview of the main components of the project and describe how faculty, lecturers and students can get engaged and contribute to this transformational effort. Scholarships are available to lecturers who are interested in WWHC participation.