LIAISON BREAKFAST 2003 FULL LIST OF COMENTS
Q1. Faculty members have heavy time
demands placed on them by all of their teaching, research, and service
commitments. What suggestions do you
have to help faculty cope with the problem? What can the MAA do to
help with this?
- We are going to try a team teaching approach to a large
section of calculus, which will possibly lead to a reduction of our
12-hour teaching load.
- Set up support networks that help
faculty choose how they will spend their time- especially offering
advice for new faculty.
- Offer suggestions/success stories
on time management.
- Explore talks given by “distance
learning” techniques (i.e. use technology to enable far-flung
people to “attend” the same talk without long drives).
- Encourage ways for college
faculty to share conditions, experiences, and ideas to navigate
this balancing act. Suggestions include a
web board, discussion lists, and contributed sessions on these
- Continue the Project NExT
program, which is addressing a new generation of faculty seeking to
prepare them for coping with these issues.
- Set priorities! Keep a time log
and discuss it with the department chair or dean.
- Perhaps the MAA can do a survey
- The MAA could help by issuing a
statement on the importance of all 3 areas. Administrators
already see that teaching and research activities should count as
- Make clear the work involved in
- Keep publishing great books.
- Encourage math departments to
give more recognition to faculty who engage in research with
students (course release and other forms of recognition).
- Give some incentive to faculty to
engage in activities with students (math clubs).
- Locate foundations that would
fund workshops for mathematics teachers in regions where
elementary, secondary, and college teachers attend together. This would begin “contacts” within local
areas which may provide opportunities for interaction on future projects.
- Encourage publishers to have
specific topic workshops for secondary/college teachers at no or
very little cost to the participant.
- Perhaps we need to allow
different faculty members to focus on different aspects of
professional work. Some to focus on
service and some to focus on research and then value them equally. Perhaps we can’t all do it all.
- Do the same course and committees
over and over.
- Push for “one person” committees.
- Have classes meet fewer days-
say, twice a week for longer periods instead of three time a week.
- Develop forums, like the NExT
listservs for more people.
- Do a survey to get hard data on
- On committee work, committees are
inefficient- no one is trained to be a chair or on a committee,
maybe the MAA can do something to address this.
- Facilitate time-saving
techniques- contributed paper sessions on fast ways to do
something, lists of ideas on the web.
- I would love for the MAA to
aggressively push for a national teaching load and class size
recommendations by working with department chairs, liaisons, and
MAA leaders and I’d be happy to help with that work.
- Continue Project NexT. It’s very valuable.
- The MAA can provide
reviews/commentaries on curricular materials, both compiling them
for members or reviewing them by staff.
- The MAA can help provide
information on grants.
- The MAA can and does provide a
framework for service to the profession.
- As to suggestions for the
faculty, each school has a different mix of commitments.
- Publicize the good suggestions.
- Email the questions to the
liaisons before the breakfast so we have to time to consider them
- Topic specific listservs that
allow a mathematician to quickly and easily communicate with other
people with similar interests and concerns.
- Two-hour workshops at the
meetings on “balance”, separated by career level- (entry,
mid-career, nearing retirement) which would provide a chance to
interface with others at the same point in their careers about balancing
- The MAA can work to let us know
what is out there. Web lists of
information, materials that are helpful for teaching. If
we stop reinventing the wheel, our time is used more efficiently. The MAA website has already done a lot to
- Thank you letters should be sent
to administrators at departments/institutions when their faculty
present at MAA sessions (with a copy also going to the presenter). Many people now face a documentation
requirement for tenure and promotion. Registration
for such a letter could be provided at the on-site MAA booth.
- Offer a program similar to
Project NexT for faculty who have been teaching 7-10 years.
- MAA could do more surveys to
gather information against which we can compare ourselves:
workload, state of the major.
- Offer ways for faculty at smaller
schools with heavier teaching/service loads to connect or network
in order to share ideas and resources.
- Offer MAA grants to younger
faculty members to get started in their life as an academic.
- Learn that “no” is not a
- We have a faculty development
program that goes 6 weeks in the summer, 2 weeks between semesters,
and an hour every Tuesday. Dialogue is key.
- The MAA provides a good forum to
share faculty development program ideas.
- The MAA should try to communicate
with administrators about all we do.
- Offer suggestion about how to
- In the spirit of the CUPM
Guidelines, the MAA should survey teaching loads and issue
recommendations on things like the credit load.
- Survey schools on teaching loads
and research demands, etc compared to programs, success.
- Make sure there is a sytrong
mentioring system for new faculty.
- Help faculty members set
priorities. Feel free to say “no”.
- The replacement of tenure track
faculty with contract fdaculty has increased the problems/demands. The MAA should speak strongly to this and
encourage lobbying by related organizations.
- Develop mentoring guidelines.
- Give increased encouragement to
statewide NexT-like programs.
- Many departments operate with a
minimum staff, using temps and adjuncts to fill gaps. The
MAA should encourage the powers that be to hire more permanent
- Any means of sharing the various
types of experinces from teachers whao are known for their teaching
success (Joe Gallian and Aparna Higgins, for example).
- The MAA already does a lot to
help; the CUPM Guidelines, Assessment Guidelines, etc. These
things make our jobs easier.
- Keep the Project NexT Program.
- Give strong support (course load
alleviation) to younger faculty.
- The problem (at large [research]
universities) as I see it is that they don’t seem to know where
their seed corn comes from.
- Keep NexT going.
- Reduce the demands. Offer
official MAA guidelines for departments/schools, which should
include free time for everyone, especially new faculty.
- NExT has been helpful.
- Guidelines to departments about
what is reasonable at different career stages. For
example, new faculty should have few, if any, service
- It might be helpful for the MAA
to cionduct a survey of the teaching/research.service commitments
of mathematicians. Perhaps the results
would be useful to talk to our college/university administrators
about reduced teaching loads, realistic research expectations, and
areasonable committee service. There
might even be separate questions about the responsibilities and
supoort for department chairs.
Q2. The future of our profession is dependent
on the success that current faculty members have in recruiting math
majors and encouraging them in their studies. What suggestions do you
have to help faculty in doing this? What can the MAA do to help with
and distribute ideas about careers, math major activities in
departments, successful departments.
from better students in lower level courses. Letters to HS student
applicants with greater SAT Math skills – include information on
careers. Small “vignettes” of alumni success to be posted on Web site
and included in above letters. Tout double majors.
have to understand the necessity of mentoring future mathematicians and
be willing to invest that time. The understanding of the level of
commitment and necessity to give time must be understood on the part of
faculty, before anything can be said with regard to being able to assist
faculty in this endeavor. I say this in spite of question 1. It must be
understood that enormous time commitments are involved in developing a
mathematician. And one faculty member who cares always makes a
difference. To help faculty, especially faculty in small departments or
in liberal arts schools, the MAA could develop a web site that collects
experiences of departments that have made significant improvement in
producing math graduates capable of completing a graduate program in
the math sciences. Or they could have a session on the subject at a
national or regional meeting, and then collect and publish a summary. A
major problem for math departments is that in many schools they are
only valued as a service department, and not for the production of math
graduates. Decisions made by universities about allowing a course to
run based on enrollment (eg. A course can’t run unless 15 students or
more are enrolled). These kinds of decisions especially impact upper
level math courses, required to complete the major. These courses often
have low enrollment. How many small liberal arts schools would have to
fight to have these course run? MAA could partner with AMS, as well as
with organizations dependent on the production of mathematicians, such
as National Security Agency, to educate administrators in the
importance of allowing programs to run the courses necessary for their
math majors to graduate. Every local math department cannot win local
political battles, but maybe information or encouragement coming from
reputable national organizations could save math programs from being
crippled by arbitrary budget-related decisions.
need to have some idea of what a math major can lead to. If the MAA
would regularly send short career vignettes to liaisons, we could
quickly pass those on to potential mathematics majors/minors – passing
along email is easy and quick.
vignettes of successful graduates.
a speaker list. Publicize availability of money for travel to
workshops. Career brochures and info.
up MAA student travel funds – enhance the fund and advertise it more.
Keep up student hospitality center. Have student message board.
Advertise and post to web tips on being chair/liaison/advisor. Hold
workshops on reviewing articles for math journals. Is there an MAA
- Organize more student activities at the
freshman level. Travel funds for students and faculty to attend student
res. conferences. If such programs exist already, advertise them better.
Give some support to faculty to organize activities designed to make
students more aware or better informed of math-based careers and/or
research in mathematics. Hold workshops to give faculty and students a
chance to discuss these issues.
update and provide brochures on careers. I know that the MAA has a new
book on careers, but that’s not something we can distribute hundreds of
copies to our calculus students, or to high schools that we visit.
potential mathematics majors that will/could attend graduate school and
then mentor these students. Have social events for potential math majors
including students from the community colleges. Have a
meeting/study/social room for the math majors.
more closely with HS teachers. Publish cheap brochure to pass out to
faculty to become involved with K-12 teachers and the public schools.
Frequently, a student’s experience in 4th – 8th
grade strongly influence their interest in mathematics. Work with
administrators and P&T committees to value work with teachers.
a strong statistics option. Develop and keep strong ties with physics,
chemistry, etc. Freshman Math Seminar / Honors Class – an enrichment
class to get students connected. Write a letter to prospective major.
Problem solving for underclassmen – cash scholarship prizes. Commercials
for careers at beginning of Calculus classes. Use “AMS Mathematical
Moments” or “101 Careers” as a resource. Reach out to Jr. and Sr. High.
Facilitate double major.
MAA could aggressively push some national resources. My impression is
that building a large active group of majors depends on building
campus/departmental communities of a certain type – taking specific
actions. St. Olaf has apparently done this well. If faculty leaders
could be “trained” to take certain actions on their campuses, that may
have a big impact. Your career info is very valuable in recruitment too!
us to show what you can do with a math major/minor. What are the
varieties of private sector jobs available? Our regional meetings
(Southeastern) have been great for our majors. If we get them to come,
we never lose them.
the journals available to undergraduates on a September to May basis.
Most PhD students we interviewed for jobs at this meeting were only AMS
members. We need to encourage PhD schools to push MAA membership. Maybe
joint AMS/MAA grad. Student memberships could be made available.
to produce materials about employment opportunities for math majors
that instructors can have easily available.
have to realize most students don’t enter college intending to major in
math. So active recruitment needs to happen in the early years of study.
This can be done in the classroom and also with dept. activities of
wider appeal – career discussions that include, but transcend just pure
maths. The MAA panels at conferences are an excellent way to increase
the discussion and share successes.
possible, participate in state-funded outreach programs for high school
activities – frequent social interaction, active math club, newsletter.
A publicized Math Awareness Month.
up partnerships with high schools (summer programs, setting up classes
at college specifically for high school students). Set up one day
visitation programs with gifted middle-school children.
programs – math contests, HS connections. Establish dept. culture.
Redesign math major.
in conjunction with Committee on MAA Student Chapters. Don’t reinvent
the wheel! Keep in mind that every 4 years some of the same materials
that were distributed can be re-distributed/updated. Build a sense of
community – local campuses and regionally – among majors. MAA could
continue to join forces with NCTM to recruit from the high schools!
templates of letters that faculty can send to prospective high school
students encouraging them to consider a major in mathematics. Create
mathematics application modules that can be presented in calculus
out to graduate students more. Form a Project Next Jr? Pair project
next fellows with graduate students to mentor.
MAA already produces a wide variety of material designed to attract
potential math majors. I am not sure what could be done beyond this.
have gotten some excellent majors out of our help lab for low-level
courses. The instructor in charge is a great recruiter. MAA should keep
sending interesting material we can share with them.
fundamental issue is the ability of students to get jobs. More
informational resources on this would be helpful – web resources would
successful programs and try to copy their programs.
replacement of tenure-line faculty by contract faculty has increased
the above problem. MAA should speak strongly to this and encourage
lobbying by related organizations. Develop mentoring guidelines. Give
increased encouragement to state-wide NExT programs. Find ways to
establish relationships with graduate students. Explore connections
between MAA and AAUP.
in high school students and provide hands-on activities, eg. change
ringing. Give awards to HS teachers based on student nominations.
believe there are plenty of potential math majors. Even though there is
published information, nationally and locally in my case, many potential
majors don’t realize the potential and flexibility of studying
mathematics. Perhaps cases and examples in low level text books would
spread this info.
the best teachers available in the students’ first college mathematics
students in the early courses – perhaps drawing students to take
additional courses that they might not have intended to take. Continue
to make available materials on careers for math majors.
students to MAA meetings! Both at the section and national level. Help
the sections promote activities for students. Also, continue to improve
Math Fest – it get’s better every year!
materials on what careers are open to math majors. Invite students to
MAA meetings. Invite guest speakers to school on interesting topics that
are well advertised. Personally invite better students in calculus to
become math majors.
year math courses should be closer to what mathematics do – not symbol
manipulation courses. More opportunities for undergraduate research.
More opportunities for undergraduates to present.
the number of quality speakers available through the visiting lecturers
program and somehow make sure the departments use that service. Help
faculty find ways to get potential majors involved in summer programs.
REUs are a good idea, but they tend to have prerequisites that ensure
only students who are already math majors participate.
beyond helping individuals to developing a community of majors via
chapters or math clubs, encouragement in entering contests that require
true teams (like the MCM). Invite “outsiders” to give lectures as from
the old MAA VLP or the current SIAM VLP.
NExT going. Work hard on a good brief pamphlet on “What you can do with
a math major.” Maybe with actual data on different “sectors” of types of
jobs. Keep it current. Reference the more extensive books of
schools have been extremely successful at recruiting math majors (SUNY
Postdam, Williams College). Their stories need to be publicized further.
The MAA needs to help departments understand what were the specific
steps taken at those schools and also help departments implement
similar steps at their schools.
efforts to show math majors the various jobs that they can get with a
BA or BS in math. This would include encouraging them to consider
graduate school in all math related fields (including statistics). Make
sure the courses are taught in a modern way and are interesting. Support
colleges with money to bring in speakers who can tell students what
materials to help students understand different potential career paths.
Disseminate info. from schools who do well – what do they do?
add any comments you have about the Liaison Breakfast and the Liaision
Program in general.
for a delicious breakfast! I can’t say
enough in appreciation for MAA!
way to keep everyone in our department “up to date” with information
program, please continue.
breakfast was very successful but a buffet is more appropriate.
food that’s well advertised will get good attendance- Great job this
for inviting me. See you next year.
served breakfast worked well. Having
committee members at separate tables helped keep the discussion going.
discussion question idea was great to generate discussion at the table.
- Thanks for the great breakfast.
- Thanks for the great breakfast and excellent
- Scrumptious, thanks!
- Thanks for the delicious breakfast- but it was
too much toeat at 7:00am.
- The breakfast was great, thanks.
- The breakfasts are enormously useful. Please continue them.
- The discussion questions are remarkably
contrived. One gets the sense that you are
straining to find meaningful questions. These
issues are of course significant, but you can’t honestly expect to get
any meaningful discussion of them in the context of this breakfast. You can do better.