Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

How Rhetoric Transformed a Business Mathematics Course: Toward a New Partnership Between the Humanities and the Sciences

Dr Allen Emerson, Kris Green.

We are two mathematics professors who were charged with creating a new approach to mathematics for business management. After four years of development we found that the only way we could deepen our students’ conceptual understandings and promote their ability to make connections in real-world applications to the degree we envisioned was to create rhetorical occasions within which they could think and write. Having our students use mathematics in this way, a way that they had never before experienced, turned out to be equally transformative for us teachers. It changed our view of what we believed to be important about mathematics, of how students learn through technology, of how we think about students’ errors, and, above all, of how we assess our students.

In large part as a result of what we had learned in this mathematics course, a double-major program has been inaugurated that joins a major in the humanities, on the one hand, to a series of four courses in mathematics, four in science, two in technology, and a capstone course. The program is designed with the humanities student in mind and is not intended for students who plan to pursue graduate work in mathematics or science. Regardless of its focus, each course integrates science, mathematics, and technology and offers deep conceptual understandings of these areas through carefully chosen content.

This partnership should graduate scientifically informed humanists who will be in a better position to broaden the agendas of science and technology.


Dr Allen Emerson  (United States)
Assistant Professor of Mathematics
Department of Mathematics and Computing Sciences
St. John Fisher College

Dr. Allen Emerson has been a war gamer, an econometrician, and a management consultant. He teaches in the Mathematics, Science, and Technology Integration program at St John Fisher College in Rochester, N.Y. He is working in curriculum design and technology.

Kris Green  (United States)

St. John Fisher College

  • Mathematics Course
  • Mathematics for Business Management

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)