Letter to the Editor


To the Editor:Last week a student wrote critically of our new track in applied math and statistics as “geared towards giving you more job-related skills” that are “antithetical to a liberal arts education.” This is nonsense.

Macalester students and faculty have a strong sense of the importance of applying their knowledge to better the world. Mathematics provides a language for describing patterns; the Applied Mathematics and Statistics program emphasizes the study of those patterns as they inform our understanding of the natural and human world. It’s not a perspective that everyone wants to take, or is able to take, but it is an important, useful and productive perspective.

It is indeed the case that our students are highly valued by employers and graduate schools. That’s not in conflict with the liberal arts. Instead it’s a sign that the liberal arts are genuinely relevant to the world, and that we do it better at Macalester than almost any of our peer schools.

We’re proud of the work our students do and delighted that the skills that they develop through their majors enable them to engage the world in constructive ways.

Mathematics and Computer Science Faculty Members:

Vittorio Addona
Daniel Kaplan
Karen Saxe
Chad Topaz