Recently I visited the University of Greenwich and met Noel-Ann Bradshaw, who received funding for a project to build on the initial success of the Maths Cafe. Here is Noel-Ann’s description of her project:
Our original project was based on Pevy, “The Portsmouth University Maths Cafe” (in Responding to the Mathematics Problem: The Implementation of Institutional Support Mechanisms, ed. Marr and Grove, MSOR Network 2010), adapting that successful student support mechanism to the special circumstances at the University of Greenwich (a very diverse student body, a campus with limited rooming availability and a centralised rooming system with no department owned-space).
To build on the success of the project we are seeking to extend this project to attract second and final year mathematics students, by providing a bigger range of games and puzzles, and to open the cafe to students in other disciplines, thus supporting mathematics across the University. In co-operation with the School of Engineering at our Medway campus we propose to stimulate similar Maths Cafe activities on that campus for Science and Engineering students. Many students find mathematics intimidating but are reluctant to attend ‘remedial’ classes and this approach offers the opportunity for students to seek support without identifying themselves as needing it.
We would like to use the facilities we are building up to support outreach efforts such as school masterclasses and taster days. Many of the mathematical puzzles are suitable for such activities and we propose to train staff and postgraduate students to use these props in outreach activities, to allow us to extend the current Maths Cafe opening hours.
Noel-Ann spoke to me about her project on the Mathematical Sciences HE Curriculum Innovation Project Podcast: