Faculty Spotlight – Ms. Amanda Davis
Assistant Professor of Mathematics
Assistant Professor of Mathematics, Amanda Davis has always been involved in student success and the factors that could enhance a student’s opportunity for success. In a review of educational research, Assistant Professor Davis recognized that there is a direct connection between active learning and student success. Utilizing the research, she sought out ways to incorporate the use of new technology and student engagement strategies for students in her Statistics course rather than simply assigning practice problems. Her desire was to make the student projects more interesting and interactive for the students.
Davis said, “A recent article “Spotlight on Math Anxiety” reports that approximately 93% of adult US-Americans indicate that they experience some level of math anxiety. This is a real problem because avoidance of math can limit the opportunities for our students in the future. My favorite part of teaching mathematics is finding new ways to engage students and turn these stats around. Whether a student is taking their last math class here or headed down a Calculus path, I strive to make the course relatable and even enjoyable!”
She believed that students would be more willing to engage in the course if they could find personally relevant and work with interesting statistics. Davis had the intrepid idea of developing a repository of Statistical data so learners could have a hands-on relationship with statistics. Working with Dean Randy Candelaria for several months, they compiled a Statistics LibGuide with a dynamic collection of data. Her experience with LibGuide means that students across the college can now use the LibGuide to find data sets to organize and display statistics in mathematics, social sciences, business, and other areas that use real-time data related to areas that the student is interested in.
“Our statistics course is a lab-based model and many of the projects require finding relevant, accurate, and current statistics on a subject. The LibGuide helps provide direction to sources. For example, the linear correlation project I assign allows students to research the relationship between two variables in any field of interest. If they are unsure where to start, they can begin with the LibGuide which stores data links by category. I am hoping to expand the LibGuide further by creating globalized assignments encompassing more international data sets,” said Davis.
Davis’ work has connected students to statistics in a way that demonstrates the relevance to their passion and provided a resource that any department on campus can use to provide data to students.
“I found students had significant difficulties verifying identities in the first semester that I taught Trigonometry. With some time spent on problem-solving techniques and working together in groups, I saw many students gain confidence and have success,” said Davis.
She is a strong advocate for the ongoing open educational resource work at Forsyth Tech to make education more affordable for all students.
Davis is finishing her second year of teaching full-time at Forsyth Tech full time. Since 2002, she was an adjunct in the mathematics and business departments. Prior to that, she was a paralegal working from home until her kids were all in school and she could return to teaching.