ENroute Yearbook 2015-16
Making Maths Accessible!
Kate Durkacz, School of Engineering & Built Environment, Senior Fellow
I am a mathematician, and for the
past eight years I have been lecturing
mathematics to engineering
students at Edinburgh Napier.
Peer Tutor in first-year tutorial
I am working with students who
are studying mathematics as a part
of their course, rather than as their
main degree subject, and who often
arrive with ‘mathematical baggage’
such as low confidence in their
abilities and fear of the unknown.
As a result, I put a lot of effort into
making maths accessible to all,
and developing creative ways of
supporting my students’ studies.
My lectures are interactive, and I encourage students to actively participate in the
solutions to engineering problems. Following each lecture there is a tutorial session,
where students can get individual help. I developed the Engineering Peer Tutor
scheme when class sizes were getting larger, to enable the students to receive
sufficient attention. The Peer Tutors are third and fourth-year students, and they
work alongside me in the tutorials.
The scheme is now sufficiently well-established for students to volunteer to help
out, having experienced the scheme for themselves as learners.
The Maths clinic, MathsPlus, was established by my colleague Ann Evans back in
1988 and was years ahead of its time. This plays a very important role in supporting
students outside class time, and now runs four afternoons per week in Merchiston
library. Staffed by the Maths team, Peer Tutors come and help if it is busy.
As well as working with
Edinburgh Napier students to
increase their mathematical
skills and confidence, I liaise
with college partners to support
their students in the transition
from college to university.
I am passionate about my
subject, and my goal is to
enthuse all my students with a
love of mathematics.
Kate and Peer Tutor in second-year tutorial