A project that will launch a Quantitative Reasoning Center (QRC) at Le Moyne College has received a $1.2 million grant from the New York State Regional Economic Development Council (REDC). Announced on Thursday, Dec. 8 at an REDC event in Albany, the state grant will contribute to the overall $7.5 million cost of the project to develop the QRC within Le Moyne’s Noreen Reale Falcone Library, with other “portals” located across campus.

The five-county Central New York region is currently implementing plans tied to the $500 million Upstate Revitalization Initiative (URI) it was awarded through the REDC in 2015. This process has identified quantitative reasoning skills and educational resources as severely lacking, which could hamper economic growth and job creation in the region. The QRC will be an important resource for addressing this inadequacy. Watch a story on CNY Central about the grant.

“The QRC will play a major role in developing a key competency not only for Le Moyne students but also for community and business partners throughout the Central New York region,” said Le Moyne President Linda LeMura. “The skills that will be taught through the QRC are absolutely vital to this region as we seek to educate individuals with solid analytical and mathematical aptitude, as well as higher-level thinking and reasoning.”

There is ample evidence of the increasing importance of data analytics and quantitative reasoning skills in preparing individuals for employment. A 2015 Program for International Student Assessment study found that American students were below the international average in math and about average in science and reading. The intent of Le Moyne’s QRC is to build and strengthen these skills among a wide cross-section of individuals, including students, elementary and secondary teachers, supervisors and administrative personnel in both the private and public sector, manufacturing workers, veteran populations and others.

“Le Moyne recently expanded its emphasis on quantitative reasoning skills in our core curriculum; we are convinced it is a real need for our students, societally and individually,” said Dr. Kate Costello-Sullivan, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Le Moyne. “A liberal arts education prepares students with a breadth of skills to help them become engaged, productive citizens. Like writing, quantitative reasoning is foundational; both help students adapt and succeed over the course of what will inevitably be changeable careers in a complex, ever-evolving world."

Housed in a 25,000-square- foot space in Le Moyne’s library, the QRC will be a dynamic, hands-on facility with a wide range of features, including computer stations and labs, seminar rooms and collaborative/peer learning laboratories, tutoring facilities, maker and group project spaces, videoconferencing capabilities and demonstration/presentation rooms.

Jim Joseph, dean of the Madden School of Business at Le Moyne, helped the College secure the grant by galvanizing support for the QRC among the region’s business community. This led to dozens of companies lending their support. One firm was Oneida Air Systems, Inc., which has already committed to utilizing the resources of the QRC to improve the quantitative skills of its employees.

“When we shared our vision for the QRC with businesses throughout the region, they immediately saw the competitive advantage this center will deliver,” said Joseph. “The 55 CEOs who signed the letter of support know what it takes to compete in a global economy. Skills acquired through the QRC such as analyzing, comparing, interpreting, synthesizing and evaluating information are critical when building a 21st-century workforce.”

Another strong advocate for the QRC is Jaime Alicea, interim superintendent of the Syracuse City School District. “The QRC at Le Moyne College will serve as a valuable resource for current and future teachers and employees in the Syracuse City School District," said Alicea. "As technology – and the field of education – develops, it is more critical than ever that our school staff are prepared to be critical thinkers, equipped with the skills necessary to be effective leaders. I feel confident that the QRC will be a great asset in this respect and I am eager to watch the Center become a hub for collaboration among Central New York’s best and brightest talent.”

Established in 2011 by Gov. Cuomo, the REDC has 10 designated regions across the state. The College has used previous REDC grants to support basic science, health professions, engineering and business disciplines – areas critical to the regional priorities to grow the CNY economy in emerging high-tech manufacturing and medicine fields.