Mathematics is one of the great achievements of the human mind, and applications of mathematics pervade today’s society. Quantitative reasoning is widely used, for example, to justify data-based decisions, encode and protect information, manage the treatment of disease, provide a unified understanding of the forces of nature, and formulate government and international policies. As such, it represents several distinct modes of thinking, which can broadly be classified as analysis, logic, probability and statistics, and modeling. From each of these derive techniques that are applicable to specific classes of problems. Often, a combination of different quantitative techniques is necessary to approach specific situations.
Students completing courses that satisfy the quantitative reasoning requirement should have been exposed to multiple aspects of quantitative reasoning. For example, they should learn how to use deductive reasoning in problem solving, apply the inductive process to draw conclusions through quantitative analysis, evaluate data and think probabilistically, assess the strength of numerical evidence, and model complex processes or systems to be able to predict (or change) their outcomes. In short, the main objective of courses that satisfy the quantitative reasoning requirement is for students to engage in multiple mathematical ways of thinking that will enhance their ability to make informed decisions as citizens and as potential leaders.
A faculty committee is currently working to draft specific learning goals for this requirement, and those will be posted here once approved by the University's Core Curriculum Committee.