It's a cold and gloomy Friday morning near the end of the semester, but the students in one Smith College mathematics class sit spellbound.
They're deep into a calculus equation meant to figure out the speed with which a vat of grape juice ferments into wine.
"Here the problems are complex, they're messy, but they're interesting," said teacher Jim Callahan, part of a group devising new ways to teach calculus.
Smith and four other colleges in western Massachusetts have begun a three-year, $300,000 campaign that tackles something higher education is often accused of overlooking: teaching teachers to teach.
The others are the University of …