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Mary DeHart

Mary DeHart

Faculty

Dr. Mary DeHart, Professor of Mathematics

Course(s): MATH108: Statistics

Course Description

This course serves as an introduction to statistical methods for
those entering fields such as business or social science which require a
basic knowledge of statistics.

Since 2003, SCCC statistics students have been working with the New
Jersey Herald to conduct the Pulse of Sussex County survey. While
working on the Pulse of Sussex County, students gain practical
experience in statistics. They help to select survey topics, create
questions, and conduct the phone surveys. The survey project gives a
voice to the residents of Sussex County.  They have an opportunity to
share their opinions on a variety of interesting and timely topics, and
to see that the resulting data are counted and published.

This experience helps students to understand and remember important
statistical concepts such as random sampling, unbiased questions, and
data collection and representation.  It also helps them to build
communication skills, and encourages a sense of community and civic
awareness. Work on the Pulse of Sussex County project can be cited on
scholarship, college, and job applications.

Service Learning Activities

Each fall, SCCC Statistics students conduct the annual Quality of
Life in Sussex County Survey. County residents who are interviewed state
their level of satisfaction with local institutions such as schools,
libraries, and police forces. The survey also addresses economic well
being from both individual and county perspectives. Data collected from
the Quality of Life survey are used to chart trend lines and are a
valuable resource for the college and the community. The fall survey
frequently addresses state and national elections in addition to the
annual Quality of Life survey. At the end of the fall semester, the
students discuss ideas for the spring surveys with their families and
friends, and a list of possible topics for the next semester is compiled
based on their suggestions. For example, the spring 2010 Pulse of
Sussex County topics: Governor Christie’s Job Performance, Health Care,
and Global Warming, were all suggested by students during the fall of
2009.

To date, more than 800 SCCC Statistics students have participated in
the Pulse of Sussex County service learning project, and 43 surveys have
been completed. Reports based on the data that have been collected are
created by SCCC Institutional Researchers Matthew Miller and Brittany
Kovach. The students review these reports and discuss the results of
their work. Data from the surveys are frequently used as examples in
class. Students who have participated in this service learning project
understand the challenges of data collection and have an experiential
context in which to place the theoretical concepts that are encountered
in class.