Summer 2017

Mastering math

Students have access to self-paced learning and individualized instruction at UMD’s Securian Learning Commons and Math Lab.
Photography by BRETT GROEHLER

Thanks to a $750,000 gift from Securian Financial Group, the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) has doubled its capacity for assisting students with mathematics. 

The new Securian Learning Commons and Math Lab, which held its grand opening in February, provides students with software that allows for self-paced learning. In addition, on-site instructors offer immediate guidance. 

Laura Zimmermann, lab coordinator, says this “adaptive learning” strategy accommodates students at various levels. “The software allows students to work on a specific topic until they understand it. They progress to the next topic fully prepared,” she says. The Securian Lab is the first of its kind in the University system to use this approach.

The expanded lab will serve around 1,200 students each year. 

“In the past, we couldn’t run it as an open lab. There simply wasn’t enough room and students would stand in line to get in,” says Carmen Latterell, founding professor of the lab. “Now we’re running the program as we originally intended, and students are getting as much help as they need.” 

The gift honors Securian’s CEO emeritus Robert Senkler, who graduated from UMD in 1974.