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Tracy Wang - Mathematics Faculty
Mathematics Professor Tracy Wang has always tried to give her students a sense of what life is like in her native China. But she recognized the distinct difference between telling and showing.
So beginning in 2006, on alternating years, Wang and several other key faculty members have organized a trip to the Far East to give students a close-up look at Chinese culture.
"As a native of Beijing, I have seen the changes in China's politics, economics and Chinese traditional medicine. The trip is a great opportunity to show these aspects of China to Curry students and faculty members first hand."
And while there is plenty of fun and sight-seeing along the way, the point of going half way around the world is the hands-on educational experience.
One major initiative is having Curry nursing students meet up with their Chinese counterparts and professionals in the Chinese health care system.
"We have visited many museums and hospitals in China as part of the trip's academic curriculum. The students have meetings and conversations with Chinese nursing students and faculty while touring Chinese hospitals. We get to see their ER and ICU rooms and students get a chance to compare facilities and techniques with what they've seen in Boston hospitals."
During the latest trip in May of 2010, Wang taught an Asian math class while some of Curry's nursing faculty gave presentations on qualitative research.
"Usually before the trip the students all expect China to be this poor, underdeveloped country. But afterwards it's like an eye-opening experience where they realize they really can learn a lot from Chinese students and their education system as a whole."
Wang teaches a wide range of mathematics classes at Curry, from the basics to Advanced Calculus and Statistics. She also teaches at the graduate level as well. And for someone who has had experience teaching at large universities, she finds the small class sizes at Curry very advantageous.
"I get to know every single student intimately. I know their academic strengths as well as their weaknesses so I can design my lecture notes and modify my teaching style to make the class more effective."
Wang also encourages all of her students to find internships in the Milton/Boston area. To her, the real world experience they gain is invaluable.
"Students can apply the knowledge they learn in the classroom to a real world situation. And conversely they bring that real world experience back to the classroom. So this internship interaction is not only good for the students, but also for the faculty and the entire campus learning experience."
Like many faculty, Wang has also maintained an active publishing profile. She has published textbooks on both Algebra and Calculus and reflects on the importance of staying active in her field as a way of enhancing her teaching.
"When publishing works, I collaborate with professors from other universities and we focus on how we can help students learn better. Our goal is to include examples of the real world application of mathematics so that students don't see the math as a dry, abstract subject."
And since mathematics is a subject that transcends many disciplines, Wang works closely with several of the other academic departments on campus to ensure her students' success.
"I love working with the faculty members here; not only the faculty members in our department, but the faculty members from the Nursing Department, Management, Politics and History, etc. The interaction, the communication and actually the whole environment of the college is really positive. I'm so lucky to be here."
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