The purpose of this summary is to provide an archive of the activities of all of the Special Interest Groups of the MAA (SIGMAAs) for 2006. The following information is based on reports received from 10 of the 11 SIGMAAs, with further information to be posted as it becomes available.
At JMM, BIG hosted a contributed paper session on 'Mathematics Experiences in Business, Industry and Government. This contributed paper session provided a forum for mathematicians with experience in Business, Industry and Government (BIG) to present papers or discuss projects involving the application of mathematics to BIG problems. BIG mathematicians as well as faculty and students in academia interested in learning more about BIG practitioners, projects, and issues, attended this session. Papers were presented on teller staffing in retail banks, Rotavirus immunization in Egypt, Ionospheric dispersion of LFM pulses, and applying optimal control theory to a cooperative game between manufacturers and retailers. A report of this session by Phil Gustafson (Mesa State College) can be found in the March 2006 issue of Focus.
BIG also hosted a one-hour catered reception on the day of the above contributed paper session, which provided a pleasant opportunity for people interested in BIG SIGMAA to get together.
At JMM, names of people interested in forming a SIGMAA on Mathematical Biology were collected.
The BIO charter was approved at MathFest.
At JMM, EM hosted or sponsored the following events:
An invited paper session on "Environmental Modeling", presented by Mike Olinick, Roland Lamberson, Catherine Roberts, and Snuyu Sun
Bruce Herbert, a Texas A&M geologist spoke about "Developing Student Understanding of Complex Earth Systems'. Later in the week he led a busload of mathematicians on a tour of the Rio Grande River Valley, pointing out features of the river that runs through San Antonio and taking us by some of the tributaries. They intertwine among the old missions, so we saw three brides on the tour.
At MathFest, EM hosted or sponsored the following events:
A short course on "Environmental Modeling" organized by EM coordinator Ben Fusaro
Ben Fusaro and Associate Coordinator Don Miller judged the student presentations sponsored by CUSAC and PMU involving environmental issues, and awarded a $150 prize to Nicol Cassacchia
Thomas O'Neill spoke about the role of mathematical modeling in saving the condor, whose numbers have begun to rebound after reaching a low of just 27 birds
Geologist Gareth Davies, an independent geological consultant, led a tour of Oakridge, a town built secrectly and suddenly during WWII to manufacture nuclear weapons
At JMM, HOM either conducted or sponsored the following events:
The HOM SIGMAA Annual Meeting and Guest Lecture, delivered by Kim Plofker of the University of Utrecht, who spoke on "The History of Mathematics and Original Sources in India: A Fieldwork Report"
An MAA Contributed Paper Session, organized by Dick Jardine and Amy Shell-Gellasch, on "Using the History of Mathematics in Your Mathematics Courses”
An MAA Special Presentation, by Christopher Powell and Edwin Barnhart, on "The Shapes of Sacred Space: The Geometry of Ancient Mayan Art and Architecture"
An MAA Minicourse on "Geometry with History for Teaching Teachers"
An MAA Minicourse on "Teaching a Course in the History of Mathematics"
An AMS-MAA Joint Special Session on "Ancient and Non-Western Mathematics"
An AMS-MAA Joint Special Session on "The History of Mathematics"
At MathFest, HOM sponsored or was assocated with the following events:
A Panel Discussion, organized by Linda Becerra and Ron Barnes, on "Godel’s Contributions to the Foundations of Mathematics"
A Minicourse on "Euler", led by Bill Dunham and Ed Sandifer
An Invited Address by David Bressoud, on "Stories From the History of Mathematics"
An Invited Paper Session on "Stories From the History of Mathematics as a Tool for Teaching"
POM held the following events at JMM:
A Contributed Paper Session, organized by Roger A. Simons and Satish Bhatnagar, on "The Philosophy of Mathematics"
A business meeting and reception, with an Invited Address by Paul Humphreys of the University of Virginia on "Pure and Applied Computational Mathematics: Some Philosophical Morals"
At MathFest, POM hosted a reception with an Invited Address by Michael Resnik of the University of North Carolina, on "Some Problems in Contemporary Philosophy of Mathematics"
At JMM, QL sponsored a Contributed Paper Session on "Achieving Quantitative Literacy", and also had a business meeting and reception.
At MathFest, QL sponsored a panel discussion on "Several Perspectives of Quantitative Literacy in the Undergraduate Program", and held an informal reception at a seafood restaurant near the Convention Center.
A contributed paper session was held at MathFest. There were a total of eight submissions of which we accepted six. The audience at averaged 24 people. As was the case in past years, the lack of high quality submissions and the small number in attendance has caused the executive committee to reevaluate the offering of a contributed paper session at the Summer MathFest and provide a different way of providing interesting and reflective research on undergraduate mathematics education to the attendees of the Summer MathFest.
Three separate sessions were held at JMM. The first was a Contributed Paper Session, for which 26 submissions were received and 12 accepted. The second activity was a Special Panel Session, which was a new initiative aimed at disseminating selected high quality research to the broader mathematics community. In particular, three of the best talks with strong connections to practice from the 2005 Conference on RUME were selected to be presented at the Joint Meetings. The final activity was a Business meeting that did not achieve quorum. The fact that a quorum was not reached was further impetus to move to online voting.
At JMM, STAT-ED held a business meeting, and sponsored the following Contributed Paper Sessions:
'First Steps for Implementing the Recommendations of the Guidelines for Assessment and Instruction in Statistics Education (GAISE) College Report', which included 15 presentations demonstrating how to use real-world data in courses ranging from introductory to advanced statistics
'Implications of the New ASA (GAISE) Guidelines for Teaching Statistics', which explored the implications of the college-level GAISE recommendations to how we teach introductory statistics and implications of the preKto12 GAISE recommendations to how we prepare elementary, middle grade, and secondary teachers as well as implications for college statistics teachers on serving students who enter college having studied statistics
'Requiring Statistics of Every Mathematics Major: Model Courses'
STAT-ED sponsored a panel discussion entitled, 'Enhancing the Teaching of Advanced Placement Statistics', which provided insights into teaching the AP Statistics Class in high school and included lessons learned from the 2006 exam.
At JMM, TAHSM sponsored a Panel Discussion on 'AP Calculus: Friend or Foe?'
At MathFest, TAHSM sponsored the following events:
A workshop for AP Calculus teachers, organized by Steve Davis of Davidson College, on 'Teaching Continuity and Differentiability for Functions on One and Two Variables'
A town hall meeting, hosted by Tom Banchoff and Dan Teague, on 'What Should Future Math Majors Learn About Proof in High School?'
BIO SIGMAA endorsed the TIMBER 2006 meeting on undergraduate mathematical biology research and education, held at Appalachian State University, Nov. 3-4, 2006.
NECQL X (New England Consortium for Quantitative Literacy) conference at Amherst College, Amherst, MA in April 2006 was associated with QL.
The Spreadsheets Across the Curriculum Project at Olympia, WA, in July 2006 was associated with QL.
The MAC^3 (Mathematics Across the Curriculum) summer institute, at Sleeping Lady Retreat, WA, in August 2006 was associated with QL.
The Ninth Research Conference on Research in Undergraduate Mathematics Education was held in Piscataway, New Jersey in February, and attracted 90 attendees. There were four plenary speakers and over 50 contributed talks from additional researchers in undergraduate mathematics education. One important feature of the conference is that significant time is provided for either graduate students or new researchers to give preliminary reports of their research and receive suggestions from more experienced researchers.
RUME held its Tenth Conference on Research in Undergraduate Mathematics Education on February 22-25, 2007 in San Diego California. The event drew over 140 participants, for the largest conference in the history of the SIGMAA. There was an award for the best paper, which included a $200 cash prize. In addition, to help researchers move their work toward eventual submission to a journal, an online proceedings was published and four new researchers were awarded assistance from more established members of our community with a pre-submission review.
There was one meeting of the Executive Committee at the Joint Meetings in San Antonio in January 2006. BIG EC discussed the issue of member participation in the failed election of 2005. The consensus of the EC was to submit to the membership a motion to revise the charter to allow officers to be elected by a majority of votes received.
Attendance at EM SIGMAA executive meetings and business meetings has been small, which is a continuing concern. It was decided, therefore, that a quorum would be three elected officers, although others will be able to vote if they attend council or membership meetings. This motion passed unanimously at a business meeting in January, after being recommended by the executive board.
There was a lunch meeting in San Antonio.
The officers met prior to the business meeting at the 2006 JMM. Some of the officers also met at MathFest in August 2006.
The Executive Committee met at every JMM, and at our annual research conference.
At the JMM, the SIGMAA officers met to plan for the coming year.
The Executive Board met informally both at the Annual Meeting and at MathFest.
New sigmaa officers volunteered and were approved by the initial group forming the sigmaa.
Elections were to be held in October 2006 for the offices of Chairman and Vice-Chair for Membership. Only one candidate for Chairman came forward, and was elected. The position of Vice-Chair for Membership was declared vacant.
A three-person Nominating Committee was formed from the general membership, with our immediate past Chair David Zitarelli serving as its chair. The Nominating Committee decided the HOM would be best served if the two officers whose terms were to expire would stand for re-election. The election was held electronically, and results were announced via email. While only a small percentage of the membership votes in these uncontested elections, the sense is that active members vote.
Due to changes by the MAA in the election process, the one election scheduled for 2006 (for treasurer) was delayed to spring 2007.
In August, nominations for Chair-Elect and Secretary-Treasurer were solicited via the listserv. After coming up with a candidate for each office, an election was held in October, using the MAA’s electronic voting system. This worked fairly well, with any glitches resolved pretty quickly by the MAA. About 40 members voted.
The election was held on January 13th at JMM. The Nomination Committee consisted of Karen Marrongelle (chair), Bill Martin and Margaret Kinzel. They presented a slate of candidates for the offices of Secretary and Program Chair. There were approximately 40 attendees. (Quorum is 25 members including 2 officers.)
The Past-Chair served as the Nominations Officer, working with the rest of the Executive Committee to select a slate of candidates for the two offices (Chair-Elect and Secretary/Treasurer). The Past Chair solicited suggestions and volunteers for serving as officers from the membership. Election of officers took place on-line this year for the first year following the MAA protocol.
The first election was held during the spring. Ben Klein organized the slate of two candidates for Chair-Elect. The process of finding candidates who would agree to run took longer than expected, so the voting period was later than expected. However, the election itself ran smoothly and without significant problems.
E-mails were sent to members and a web page was developed.
The BIG SIGMAA E-Mail Listserv was active throughout the year. Key discussions included:
Lean Six Sigma, spawned by a query by a mathematics student studying the issue at Wooster College
Internships at companies where listserv members are employed
The 'Where's the Math?' discussion that was reported in various mathematics forums
'Math Will Rock Your World' (Business Week article)
Open source software
The University of Maryland's interdisciplinary focus (are there other departments like it?)
EPADEL Spring meeting topics (horology, Pythagorean theorem geometric proof, "How mathematicians can save our democracy")
AMS Notices commentaries: Must math be done in an idealistic way? Should mathematicians avoid defense work?
BIG ideas for applying for a new job
The Oakland As in the playoffs - an operations research success
How to donate to your alma mater's math department
The April issue of the electronic newsletter, The BIG Notebook, included the following items:
'My Life with the Alpha-Beta Filter', by John Gray (NSWC)
'Improving the Mathematics Major: A Professional Degree Program Proposal', by Peter Stanek
'My Summer 2005 Internship', by Matt Ferrara (RPI)
'An Order-26 Costas Array', by Greg Coxson (TSC)
The August issue of the electronic newsletter, The BIG Notebook, included the following items:
A book review by Joseph Malkevitz (SUNY), of new biographies of Arthur Cayley and J. J. Sylvester
'A Sequence Based on Limiting Reflectance in Thin Optical Films', by Deuard Worthen (Raytheon)
'Costas Array Sudoku', by Laura Taalman (JMU)
'One-Stop Surfing for NSF Mathematics Institutes', by Greg Coxson (TSC)
The findings of a survey of the 29 MAA sections (20 responded) were posted to the listserv. We were seeking opportunities for BIG SIGMAA activities, including:
Leading discussions on BIG topics
Participation in career workshops at undergraduate conferences
A BIO SIGMAA web page has been set up and a periodic electronic newsletter organized, although this has not yet been issued.
There are three email lists: one for the Executive Committee, one for the larger advisory council, and one for the membership as a whole. There is also a website, and all of these seem to be effective.
There was some activity on the listserve in 2006. Also, a copy of the newsletter was posted on the website.
The list-serv had a fair amount of activity, and seems to be increasing each year. The list-serv activity came in spurts, but addressed interesting topics (assessment, for example). The list-serv was also used to solicit votes for changes in the SIGMAA-QL charter. The changes concerned voting procedures: changing the nomination and voting windows; allowing for electronic voting administered by the MAA; and eliminating the minimum number of votes needed for a valid election. The motion concerning this was approved by the membership.
The webpage was updated consistently by the webmaster, and it listed both past SIGMAA-QL events and upcoming QL-related events, along with many resources and slides from talks. Textbook information was also put on the site, along with QL-related job postings.
Both of these activities seemed successful. Occasionally a member complained of not receiving e-mails, but these problems were resolved with the help of the MAA.
The Website Committee maintained and added to the SIGMAA on RUME pages, hosted atwww.rume.org/. Maintenance and creation was done by Shandy Hauk and Eric Hsu. Among the pages that were revamped and/or created on the SIGMAA on RUME web site in 2006 are:
A page of links to upcoming conferences and meetings with embedded links to their sponsoring groups
The list of periodic publications in RUME, including links to information for each
An archive of SIGMAA on RUME meeting minutes - including links to information for each
Information about job searching and the interview process
An e-mail distribution list for officers to communicate with members about elections, opportunities such as workshops, information about SIGMAA sponsored events, etc, and members to send questions to each other soliciting assistance about issues related to teaching statistics, statistical analysis questions, etc.
A webpage for members which includes SIGMAA business items (charter, minutes, letters from the chair), links to useful websites for teaching statistics, and newsletters from the SIGMAA.
An electronic newsletter is distributed periodically. This newsletter reports on events like JMM sessions or conferences and meetings that would be useful to statistics educators, such as the US Conference on Teaching Statistics.
Communication with the membership has not been as frequent as it should be. There is a new webmaster, Maria Hernandez, and she is organizing a new webpage. It is expected to come online by the end of March 2007. Maria and the Chair worked together to organize the website.
The first annual HOM SIGMAA Newsletter was well-received and appreciated by the membership.
Announcements of events and opportunities in mathematics history in the newsletter, on the website, and at the annual meeting.
The Student Writing Contest.
The Virtual Book Club.
The annual newsletter.
The first annual newsletter was sent out in October.
In 2006 SIGMAA on RUME sent out its first Newsletter. The newsletter provided all members with updated information of upcoming conferences and special sessions sponsored by SIGMAA on RUME, recent awards that members have received, information on publishing research, and information about upcoming elections. The newsletter was written by Chris Rasmussen with input from the publications committee.
At this time, electronic means of communication are the primary means. Members can request hardcopies of ballots for voting on officers. This year was the first year that a post-card mailing was sent out to the members. This was sent right before JMM. Despite some uncertainties related to it being the first time that this was done, the end product both looked good and was easy to do.
There is more than enough money from the $10 dues required by the MAA to pay expenses, and EM is loath to engage in the environmental waste involved in lavish catered receptions. It was decided to use the money to reimburse participants in short courses and field trips, for awards to student winners of contests, and to pay non-MAA speakers at events. Of course, the expenses of those involved in leadership will also be reimbursed.
The main expenditures for 2006 were for travel expenses for an invited speaker at MathFest (Michael Resnik), and for a reception at the JMM. There is still some uncertainty regarding the attendance at future receptions, so budgeting accurately is difficult. As was noted last year, it is also difficult to estimate speaker expenses in the budget request, since no speaker has been invited by the budget deadline. However, at this point we have an accrued surplus of approximately $5000. With one exception (an unanticipated expense in 2005) our expenditures have always been less than revenue.
The budget process is still fairly simple for SIGMAA QL. Revenues come from dues, and the only expenses were for receptions at JMM and MathFest.
Expenditures have been pretty consistent for the past several years, matching pretty well with budgeted items. There is a larger-than-desired carry-over budget from previous years and discussions have take place about how to use these funds to better serve members. The officers decided that it would be nice to support a "Best Contributed Presentation" award for the speaker earning the best score on an evaluation form for the contributed paper session. The award was implemented at JMM. In general, revenue is derived from member dues and a large expense is the reception food at the JMM.
There have been no problems in preparing the budget.
A list of individual members' interests within the arts.
The listserv, electronic newsletter, reception, and contributed paper sessions were successful.
The informal reception at MathFest was great, and provided a very nice opportunity for SIGMAA-QL members (and prospective members) to talk in a very relaxed atmosphere.
Flyers were provided to the new Project NExT Fellows who would be meeting at MathFest. This meant that they got an outline of what QL does and of upcoming activities.
Some of the SIGMAA-QL officers are working with another group, the National Numeracy Network, to plan workshops and other events at an upcoming Sociology Conference. We have grant funding (from the NSF, through the MAA) to support this.
At the annual Conference on Research in Undergraduate Mathematics Education we initiated a "Best Paper Award." TherRecipient received $200 and recognition of this accomplishment. In addition to recognizing high quality work, this award serves the purpose of encouraging members to prepare their work for publication and broad dissemination.
The "Best Contributed Paper" award for the MAA Contributed Paper Session(s) that are sponsored by STAT-ED was successful. The officers believe this will not only be a "congratulations" to the presenter who wins the award, but will also help improve the quality of the presentations at the sessions. With permission, the survey instrument that is used at the Joint Statistical Meetings for Best Contributed Paper in Statistics Education was used.
An award for the best student poster or for an outstanding graduate teaching assistant is also in the planning stages.
The town hall meeting series has been very well attended and very active. There has been a lot of discussion.
New members, even if they supply their e-mail addresses to the MAA, are apparently not added to the BIG SIGMAA listserv. How can this necessary update be automated?
The BIG SIGMAA website is out of date, is hosted on an inaccessible server, and competes with our newsletter. If we decide that we would prefer a small, relatively static web page, would the MAA be willing to host it for us, and integrate it into the main MAA site?
What help can the MAA offer in mailing postcards to BIG members? If BIG provides the text, can the MAA do the mailing?
BIG needs procedural guidance on getting approval for changes to the charter.
HOM has asked the MAA to decide if it wishes to fund research and publications on the history of the MAA, especially in relationship to the MAA Centennial in 2015, through the HOM SIGMAA.
Dues payments failed to coincide with reported membership. Payments of $6,140 suggest 614 paid members. MAA reports 691 paid members. Executive committee members have inquired about the discrepancy, but as of yet no resolution has been achieved on this issue.
Some MAA policy statements (for example, see electronic voting policy) refer to the “Chair” of the particular SIGMAA. Not all SIGMAA’s use the title Chair. SIGMAA on RUME uses the title Coordinator. The inconsistency between how the MAA refers to particular positions and how SIGMAAs refer to positions might need to be addressed.
It is difficult for STAT-ED to sponsor events at MathFest because of scheduling conflicts with the Joint Statistical Meetings. These two conferences can be at opposite ends of the country at almost the same time. The officers are usually involved with and often presenters at the Joint Statistical Meetings. Travel budgets as well as time schedules make it difficult to attend both the Joint Statistical Meetings and MathFest. It is pleasing to have an officer that was able to sponsor events for MathFest. It is hoped that he will continue to do this even after his officer role has expired.
There has also been concern about the overlap between the SIGMAA Business Meeting schedules at the Joint Math Meetings.