“In most sciences one generation tears down what another has built and what one has established another undoes. In mathematics alone each generation adds a new story to the old structure.” -Hermann Hankle, 1839-1873
Mathematics is the logical development and application of abstract forms and systems arising from natural phenomena, human activities, and ideas within mathematics itself. It is composed of the major fields of geometry/topology, algebra, and analysis which are divided into more than sixty fields of specialization.
As an academic discipline, mathematics shapes and sharpens the rational capabilities of the mind. It is a mode of thinking which empowers the individual to absorb new ideas, adapt to rapid change, cope with ambiguity, recognize patterns, solve unconventional problems, analyze complexity, work with abstract concepts and relationships, detect bias, assess risks, and suggest alternatives. Increasingly these are the capacities of mind that are needed for responsible citizenship and successful careers.
As an application tool, mathematics uncovers the structures and relationships that help us understand the nature and problems of the world around us. Mathematics expresses its concepts in symbols and graphic representations within a framework of logical inference which serves as the universal language for communicating technical knowledge.
Resources and Instruction
Major in Mathematics: A major in mathematics is one of the finest courses of study for developing ability in analytical thinking. Combined with an appropriate concentration of application courses, a major in mathematics prepares the student for a wide range of career and educational opportunities.
Mathematics majors typically find employment as financial and marketing analysts, technical support consultants in research and development, business problem-solvers using operations research techniques, statisticians, actuaries…the list is endless. Companies in the computer, communications, and aerospace industries employ many mathematics majors, as do oil companies, banks, insurance companies, consulting firms, manufacturing companies, utilities, research agencies, and almost every bureau and branch of the federal government.
Students may also pursue graduate study in pure or applied mathematics, operations research, statistics, business, computing, and economics as well as many areas in the natural, life, and social sciences. Mathematics can also be the basis of a teaching career at the secondary or college level.
Placement testing in mathematics is required of all students who need to enroll in mathematics at Wisconsin Lutheran College for the first time. This includes transfer students having an uncertain attainment level or college mathematics credits more than two years old. Students desiring advanced placement in calculus also need to demonstrate proficiency on the placement exams. In all cases the department of mathematics will decide which students require placement testing. The department of mathematics determines a student’s mathematics placement on the basis of high school grades, ACT/SAT scores, placement testing, and (if necessary) personal interview.