Karen Schmitt

Karen Schmitt

Welcome to the University of Wisconsin System Math Initiative!

This multi-institutional collaboration of UW faculty, staff, and administrators is working to improve student success by helping incoming students successfully complete their gateway mathematics course by the end of their first two semesters of study.

This initiative builds on many years of foundational work on math education from across the UW System. The Math Initiative works directly with UW institutions to review national models and better meet our students’ needs and enable them to achieve their educational goals.

The UW System Office of Academic and Student Affairs is providing financial and administrative resources to support the Math Initiative. In January 2018, Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates awarded the UW System with a $2.3 million grant to help advance the goals of the Math Initiative through December 2020.

To date, UW institutions have engaged faculty from arts and humanities, social and behavioral sciences, math, and other STEM programs as participants on their institutional change teams. Institutional teams also include advising staff, data analysts, and representatives from two-year campuses. Information about participants at each institution is provided in the “About Us” section of this website; an FAQ and glossary of terms related to the Math Initiative’s work are available in the “Resources” section.

Thank you for your interest in the UW System Math Initiative!

Karen Schmitt
Interim Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs
Co-Principal Investigator



  • Increase enrollment rates in a math course in the student’s first year.
  • Reduce the number of students placed into remedial math courses.
  • Improve the success of students in remedial math courses.
  • Improve the success of students in their first credit bearing math courses.
  • Ensure transferability of gateway math courses within UW System.


  • Implement common cut score for math placement
  • Use multiple measures for math placement
  • Tailor math pathways to majors
    • Employ meta-majors
    • Offer alternatives to college algebra relevant to majors
  • Implement evidence-based innovations in teaching, including for remedial math