Christopher Herald

Professor of Mathematics

University of Nevada, Reno

Currently working on

at University of Nevada, Reno

Christopher Herald

Professor of Mathematics

University of Nevada, Reno

Dr. Herald joined the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Nevada, Reno in 1999, after visiting and postdoctoral positions at U.C. Irvine, McMaster University, the Max Planck Institut für Mathematik, and Swarthmore College. He has authored or co-authored 23 research publications, on topics in low dimensional topology as well as interdisciplinary work with atmospheric scientists and engineers. He teaches a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses in pure and applied mathematics.

He served as Core Mathematics Director at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) from 2008 until 2014. In this role, he initiated pilot co-requisite model formats for gateway STEM and non-STEM mathematics courses. Based on data from the pilots, the co-requisite model gateway courses were adopted at the University of Nevada, Reno. He also worked with upper administration, advising and admissions staff to implement a policy that students must remain enrolled in mathematics courses continuously until their program’s mathematics requirement is met.

Dr. Herald chaired the Task Force on Gateway Mathematics Success from 2014 to 2016, aimed at improving completion of gateway mathematics courses across the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE), which encompasses both 2-year and 4-year institutions. After examining data on enrollment patterns and success rates at the different NSHE institutions, the Task Force proposed an aggressive policy on continuous enrollment and shortened pathways to completion of gateway math courses, which was then adopted by the Board of Regents. In its second year, the Task Force on Gateway Mathematics Success developed institutional implementation plans and set benchmarks by which implementation of these goals will be measured over the next three years.

Since 2012, Dr. Herald has also served as the Higher Education lead on a collaboration involving UNR, Truckee Meadows Community College, and Washoe County School District under which university faculty oversee the teaching of remedial mathematics curriculum to high school seniors who have not reached college readiness. The courses, taught by high school teachers and paid for by the school district, offer content and rigor identical to that of UNR remedial courses. Successful completion allows students to start off in college level courses, decreasing time to graduation and saving the cost of remedial coursework.

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15 to Finish

Boost the number of students who are on track for on-time graduation by encouraging enrollment in 15 credits each semester (30 credits per year, including summers). Financial aid dollars, as well as institutional process and practice, should support that standard.

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Ensure all students enroll in and complete gateway math in their first year by designing math courses that are aligned with the skills students need for their chosen program of study.

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Increase gateway course completion within the first year by enrolling entering students into the college-level math and English courses, providing those who need additional help a concurrent course or lab that offers just-in-time academic support.

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Build momentum so students meet first-year benchmarks: informed choice of meta major or major, enrollment in 30 credits with nine in the program of study and completion of gateway courses. Provide early support and guidance for decision making, using interest assessments and labor-market data.

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Increase degree attainment by inviting adult learners back to complete their education, providing a redesigned system that offers accelerated courses, year-round enrollment and predictable schedules. Give credit for prior learning and experience and additional support to help students navigate the system.

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