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Liaison Newsletter – Feb 2009

In this issue:

PREP 2009 Registration Now Open

Looking for a great way to join with your peers this summer to explore new ideas? The MAA Professional Enhancement Program (PREP) offers workshops on a variety of topics. Whether you are interested in looking for more effective approaches to geometry courses or learning about new topics such as mathematical biology, the PREP program has something for you.

MAA members will get a full program brochure in the mail in the next two weeks. In the meantime, you can get details on this year's program at http://www.maa.org/prep.

MAA Student Programs: A Success Story

Student participation has been one of the MAA's biggest growth areas over the past couple of decades. While only a handful of students attended MathFest in the 1990s, we now offer a vibrant student program that attracts over two hundred undergraduates every year. Programs for graduate students have also begun to take hold, and with recent funding from both the National Science Foundation and the National Security Agency to support student travel grants, we expect the growth in both categories to continue.

The Regional Undergraduate Mathematics Conferences program gives more than 2000 undergraduates the opportunity to present their research each year, and the National Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program offers students from underrepresented groups the chance to spend a summer working on cutting-edge research projects.

At the same time, student participation at Section meetings has become an integral part of nearly every section's activities: on average, students now make up one third of Section meeting attendees. Under these circumstances, the MAA has discontinued the practice of offering a gratis membership or publication to student presenters at Section meetings. Originally intended to increase student participation at Section meetings, we fully expect that student participation has become such an integral part of Section activities that it will continue to grow.

Since our students seem inclined to use the web as their primary source of information, it also makes sense that MAA resources for students should be directed towards developing a robust on-line presence. Last year's launch of MAA Math Classifieds is an example of the kind of service that we hope will meet your students' needs. Encourage your students to check the MAA student web pages often to find out what's new.

NSF Special Video Report Highlights Math Education

The National Science Foundation's Office of Legislative and Public Affairs has produced a special report highlighting the importance of mathematics education and the struggles of some U.S. students with the subject. The video report, Math: What's the Problem?, has three sections:

The report also has links to a number of websites that serve as useful mathematical resources, including the MAA's Career Profiles page.

MAA President David Bressoud is featured prominently in the segment “Learning the Language of Mathematics.” Another segment, “Challenging Assumptions”, includes scenes from a Math Teachers' Circle workshop, held in 2008 at MAA's Carriage House Conference Center in Washington, D.C.

What's New on MathDL: The MAA Basic Library List

The MAA's list of library recommendations last appeared as an independent list in 1991. The Basic Library List (BLL) is now integrated into MAA Reviews (http://mathdl.maa.org/mathDL/19/). New books are being added to the list, and can be identified by a tag on the “book details” page of reviews. Members of MAA (or subscribers to MAA Reviews) can search the site to identify those books included in the BLL.

The 1991 list is still publicly available, though without the full review offered for many of the Review books. For additional details, or to access the 1991 list, visit mathdl.maa.org/mathDL/19/?pa=content&sa=viewDocument&nodeId=959

Guidelines for Consultants in the Mathematical Sciences

Beginning with a PREP workshop held in 2005, the MAA Committee on Consultants has collected and compiled reference materials that inform Guidelines for Serving as a Consultant, now posted at www.maa.org/ProgramReview. Supporting materials are also posted on this site. A companion document intended for departments engaged in self-study is now in preparation, and will be available sometime in 2009.

MathFest Abstract Submission Opens February 13

We hope you are already planning to join us for MathFest 2009 (www.maa.org/MathFest) in Portland, Oregon, August 6-8.

The call for papers will appear both on the MathFest website and in the February/March issue of MAA FOCUS. Abstract submission will open by February 13 at www.maa.org/MathFest/abstracts.

Call for Proposals

The MAA offers grants to encourage a diverse range of students to consider careers or further study in mathematics. The following grant programs are currently accepting proposals.

Tensor-SUMMA grants are intended to encourage the pursuit of mathematics among middle school students, high school students, and beginning college students from traditionally underrepresented groups. These grants are offered to college and university faculty who wish to create and run enrichment activities to heighten these students' interest in mathematics. For more information, visit the Tensor-SUMMA home page. Proposals should be received by Friday, 13 February.

MAA-Tensor grants are intended to encourage the pursuit of mathematics among female middle school students, high school students, and beginning college students. These grants are offered to college and university faculty who wish to create and run enrichment activities to heighten these students' interest in mathematics. For more information, visit the MAA-Tensor home page. Proposals should be received by Friday, 13 February.

The National Research Experience for Undergraduates Program (NREUP) supports students from traditionally underrepresented groups who have completed part of their undergraduate education to spend several weeks during the summer focusing on mathematical research, under faculty guidance. If you are interested in hosting an NREUP project at your institution, please visit the NREUP home page for more information. Proposals should be received by Friday, 27 February.

If you would like to apply for any of these grants, but are struggling to meet the deadlines, please contact Olga Dixon at odixon@maa.org or 202-319-8498.

HOM SIGMAA Writing Contest

The MAA Special Interest Group on the History of Mathematics (HOM SIGMAA) is pleased to announce its sixth annual Student Writing Contest. This contest, designed to increase awareness and interest in the history of mathematics, is open to all undergraduate students. Deadline for submissions is March 31, 2009. Information and submission guidelines can be found on the HOM SIGMAA website via MAA Online or by contacting Amy Shell-Gellasch at shellgae@plu.edu.

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