QR Applied Skills Courses
Hollins University 
January 2001 Workshop                                    (QR home)

Hollins is excited about the development of new applied Quantitative Reasoning (QR) courses.  In these courses, students apply quantitative skills to problems within a specific discipline.  During a January 2001 workshop (and also during a May 2001workshop ),  Professors  Caren Diefenderfer and Trish Hammer led  NSF funded QR activities for Hollins faculty members.  All participants developed materials for courses that will satisfy our new applied skills quantitative reasoning requirement.   Some of the courses that were developed are listed below.

Biology 121
Plants and People
Are some spices more popular in certain parts of the world?  Why?  Is there a relationship between spice use and climate?  In Professor Robin Taylor's (left)  course, students complete a quantitative assignment on "A Comparison of Spice Use in Temperate and Tropical Regions of the World."

History 255S
US Social History

What was the family structure like in Colonial New England?  In Professor Ruth Doan's class, students apply statistical techniques to actual 1689 census data from Bristol in Plymouth Colony to answer this question and many other related questions.

Sociology 341
Sociology of Health, Illness and Medicine
Is there a relationship between the proportion of women physicians in a medical specialty and the average salary?  Do nations that spend more money on health care have healthier citizens? Professor Kay Broschart instructs students on the appropriate use of quantitative skills to answer these questions and more.


Political Science 345
American Voting Behavior

Is there a relationship between a voter's (perceived) financial condition and her presidential vote?  Professor Jong Ra (right) of the Political Science Department encourages his students to use a three way table among three variables (the voter's perception of her own financial condition, her evaluation of Clinton's handling of the economy, and her presidential vote in 1996) to answer this question.

Computer Science 160
Computer Science I

Given a very large set of data, what's the quickest way to compute the mean and standard deviation?  Students in Professor Dan Chrisman's programming course develop and then analyze both one-pass and two-pass algorithms.
Economics 254
Economics of Health Care

Are lifestyle choices as important in determining a person's health status as access to health care?  Professor Juergen Fleck asks students to analyze the effects and social costs of particular behaviors including alcohol consumption, drinking and driving, speeding, inadequate nutrition, lack of exercise, smoking and drug use.

Biology 224
Professor Rebecca Beach encourages students to take a very hands-on  and quantitative approach to understanding the Hardy-Weinberg principle.  Faculty workshop participants (left) Ruth Doan and Nancy Healy use colorful "alleles" to determine genotype frequencies within generations.  


Physics 151/201
Physical Principles/Analytic Physics
In these courses, Professor Joseph Ameteppe emphasizes applications of mathematics and physics in industry - for example, the rate of change of a given resource.  Other quantitative applications involve collection of real data (from the physics lab) and data analysis.