Math’s McFall Makes Deans’ Teaching Showcase Finals

Patrick McFall
When he’s not in the classroom in Fisher, you can find McFall canoeing on Portage Lake

College of Sciences and Arts Dean Ravindra Pandey has selected Patrick McFall as this week’s featured instructor in the Deans’ Teaching Showcase.

McFall, assistant teaching professor in the department of mathematical sciences, will be recognized at an end-of-term event with other showcase members. Recognition qualifies him as a candidate for the CTL Instructional Award Series.

McFall served as the Director of the Math Learning Center from 2020-2023. He co-directed the center in 2023. McFall teaches many large sections of fundamental math courses for the department, going back to spring 2021. He’s appeared in the top 10% of Michigan Tech instructors based on the “Average of 7 Dimensions” for student evaluation scores in three different semesters.

McFall’s Teaching Experience Helps Reduce DFW Rate

In the spring of 2023, McFall took on the coordinator role for MA 1160/1161 Calculus 1. He co-developed the department’s proposal to address the DFW rate for this class. McFall was instrumental in implementing the project. He piloted weekly algebra reviews, and developed pre-class videos and quizzes for a blended learning structure. McFall provided handouts for all instructors to increase student engagement. McFall met weekly with the instructors to ensure consistency in instruction. As a result, the Spring 2023 DFW rate for MA 1160/1161 showed a significant decrease from previous spring semesters. The rate for Spring 2023 declined 25-30 percentage points lower than Spring 2022 and Spring 2021. McFall’s work continued this fall, with similar results.

McFall’s Teaching Garners Praise in the College

Jiguang Sun, Chair of the Mathematical Sciences department, praised McFall. “He is enthusiastic about teaching and promotes a positive and engaging environment in the classroom. Dr. McFall cares for his students, and provides motivation for learning.”

Maria Bergstrom, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education in the College of Sciences and Arts highlighted the significance of McFall’s contributions as an outstanding instructor. “Patrick McFall’s work to reduce DFW rates in Calculus I through innovations in pedagogy and curriculum has had a tremendous impact,” she said. “The impact is not just in his department but also for undergraduate education as a whole at Michigan Tech. A solid understanding of calculus is fundamental to most of the science and engineering programs on campus. And thus student success efforts in these key courses have a ripple effect across campus. We are pleased to showcase his instructional achievements.”

About the Mathematical Sciences Department

Mathematicians at Michigan Technological University conduct research and guide students, applying concepts to fields like business, engineering, healthcare, and government. The Mathematical Sciences Department offers undergraduate and graduate programs with degrees in mathematical sciences, applied statistics, and statistics. Students supercharge their math skills at Michigan’s premier technological university. They graduate prepared for successful careers in academia, research, and tomorrow’s high-tech business environment.

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