First year mathematics for the life sciences 23 August 2011 Join us as Associate Professor Leon Poladian presents: "First year service mathematics for the life sciences: targeting multiple proficiencies" When: Tuesday 23 August. From 4:30-5:30pm, refreshments from 4pm. Where: New Law Annexe Seminar Room 340. Please RSVP using http://sydney.edu.au/news/iisme/1875.html?eventid=8430 Abstract: I will share my personal experiences teaching and redesigning a large compulsory unit in mathematical modelling for students primarily from the life sciences. Many of these students do not have an intrinsic interest in mathematics and even those who successfully learn useful skills often maintain a negative attitude towards the subject. Most of the changes have targeted student attitude. A productive disposition is nurtured by embedding activities in an authentic context and using contemporary applications. I’ll also share a theoretical framework that I have become fond of that helps distinguish different types of mathematical proficiency and how each might be targeted by differentiated learning outcomes, activities and assessments. Finally, I will demonstrate a new online quiz system that is useful for formative assessment. Leon Poladian did his Ph.D. in theoretical physics at Sydney University. He spent the next 18 years of his career in a succession of research-only fellowships working on optical fibres and photonics , but eventually achieved his goal of getting a traditional academic position where he could spend a significant proportion of his time teaching and not feel guilty about it. He has a Graduate Diploma in Secondary Education from the University of New England and is completing a Graduate Certificate in Educational Studies (Higher Education). He is currently an associate professor in the School of Mathematics and Statistics. He has won several teaching awards, most recently an ALTC citation for his work with first year service mathematics. He has also spent January in Canberra for the last 20 years teaching at the National Mathematics Summer School and will take on the role of its Director from next year.