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2009 JMM Contributed Paper Sessions

MAA Contributed Paper Sessions, Washington, D.C. Joint Mathematics Meetings, January 5-8, 2009

Call for MAA Contributed Papers
The MAA Committee on Contributed Paper Sessions solicits contributed papers pertinent to the sessions listed below. Contributed paper session organizers generally limit presentations to fifteen minutes. Each session room contains a computer projector, an overhead projector, and a screen. Please note that the dates and times scheduled for these sessions remain tentative.

Submission Procedures for Contributed Paper Proposals

Send your abstract directly to the meeting website (abstracts should not be sent to the organizer(s) who will automatically receive a copy). Please read the session descriptions thoroughly as some organizers require an additional summary of your proposal be sent to them directly. Participants may speak in at most two MAA contributed paper sessions. If your paper cannot be accommodated in the session it was submitted, it will be automatically considered for the general session. Speakers in the general session will be limited to one talk because of time constraints. Abstracts must be submitted by Tuesday, September 16, 2008.

All accepted abstracts will be published in a book available at the meeting to all registered participants. Abstracts must be submitted electronically. While no knowledge of LaTeX is necessary for submission, LaTeX and AMSLaTeX are the only typesetting systems that can be used if mathematics or any text markup (e.g., accent marks) is included. The abstracts submissions page is at Simply select the Washington, D.C. meeting, fill in the number of authors, and proceed with the step-by-step instructions. Submitters will be able to view their abstracts before final submission. Upon completion of your submission, your unique abstract number will immediately be sent to you. All questions concerning the submission of abstracts should be addressed to

General Session, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings and afternoons; Sarah Mabrouk, Framingham State University.

Papers may be presented on any mathematical topic. Papers that fit into one of the other sessions should be sent to that organizer, not to this session.

Assessment of Student Learning in Undergraduate Mathematics,
Wednesday Afternoon
William O. Martin, North Dakota State University, and Bernie Madison, University of Arkansas.

Assessment continues to be an important issue for the mathematical sciences, with increasing faculty involvement in assessment activities. Departments are expected to document assessment activities focusing on student learning in general education, the major, and graduate programs for program review and institutional accreditation. We encourage faculty to disseminate information about their experiences by inviting contributed papers that (a) describe assessment projects in undergraduate mathematics programs, including the areas of quantitative literacy, general education, and the major; (b) report findings of those projects; and (c) describe faculty and departmental responses to those findings. Papers are solicited from any individuals or groups actively involved in assessment.

Building Diversity in Advanced Mathematics: Models the Work,
Monday Afternoon
Hale California State Polytechnic University Pomona, and Abbe Herzig, University at Albany.

Papers presented at this session give models of programs that have been successful at supporting diverse groups of people (women of all races, African Americans, Latinos and Chicanos, and Native Americans, people of all economic groups, people with disabilities) in their pursuit of advanced mathematics study and careers. Presentations will span the educational pathway, since issues of diversity need to be addressed at every educational and professional juncture. Proposals are sought that describe successful programs for post-doctoral (faculty), graduate, undergraduate or pre-college students. We interpret "success" broadly, and are looking for ideas that should be shared with others in the mathematics community as models for promoting diversity across the educational spectrum. These might be academic or extracurricular programs, which have targeted any group of people traditionally underrepresented in the mathematical sciences. Historical perspectives are also welcome.

College Algebra: Focusing on Conceptual Understanding, Real-World Data, and Mathematical Modeling,
Thursday Morning
Florence S. Gordon
, NYIT; Laurette Foster, Prairie View A&M University; Yajun Yang, Farmingdale State College; and Ray Collings, Georgia Perimeter College.

The MAA, under the leadership of CRAFTY, is conducting a national initiative to refocus the courses below calculus to better serve the majority of students taking these courses. The goal is to encourage courses that place much greater emphasis on conceptual understanding and realistic applications compared to traditional courses that too often are designed to develop algebraic skills needed for calculus.

We seek talks addressing all the college level courses below calculus, particularly college algebra and precalculus, that focus on conceptual understanding, the use of real-world data, and mathematical modeling. We seek presentations that:

  • present new visions for such courses,
  • discuss experiences teaching such courses,
  • discuss implementation issues (such as faculty training, placement, introduction of alternative tracks for different groups of students, transferability issues, etc),
  • present results of studies on student performance and tracking data in both traditional and new versions of these courses and in follow-up courses,
  • discuss the needs of other disciplines and the workplace from courses at this level,
  • discuss connections to the changing high school curricula and implications for teacher education.

The session is co-sponsored by CRAFTY and the Committee on Two Year Colleges.

Cryptology for Undergraduates
Monday Afternoon
Chris Christensen, Northern Kentucky University, and Robert Lewand, Goucher College.

In increasing numbers, cryptology courses are being developed to serve the needs of undergraduate mathematics and computer science majors. For mathematics majors, cryptology fits into the undergraduate curriculum in much the same way that number theory does. In addition, cryptology is appearing as a topic in mathematics courses for non-majors, as it is a hook to interest these students in mathematics. This contributed paper session solicits presentations that address topics appropriate for undergraduate cryptology courses for mathematics or computer science majors, or presentations of cryptological topics that could interest and motivate on-mathematics majors.

Demos and Strategies with Technology that Enhance Teaching and Learning Mathematics,
Tuesday Morning and Afternoon.
David R. Hill, Temple University; Scott Greenleaf, University of New England; Mary L. Platt, Salem State College; and Lila F. Roberts, Georgia College & State University.

Mathematics instructors use an ever expanding variety of instructional strategies to teach mathematical concepts. As new technologies emerge instructors employ them in interesting ways as a means to boost creativity and flexibility in lesson design. Tools an instructor utilizes may include specialized computer applications, animations (possibly with audio), and other multimedia tools on standard delivery platforms or handheld devices. This contributed paper session will focus on novel demos, projects, or labs that mathematics instructors have successfully used in their classrooms that support conceptual understanding. Presenters are encouraged to illustrate their approach with the technology, if time and equipment allow, and to discuss how it is employed in the classroom. Proposals should describe how the presentation with technology fits into a course, the effect it has had on student attitudes toward mathematics, and include a summary of any assessment techniques employed. The session is endorsed by CTiME (Committee on Technology in Mathematics Education)

Developmental Mathematics Education: Helping under-prepared students transition to college-level mathematics,
Thursday Morning
J. Winston Crawley and Kimberly Presser, Shippensburg University.

Many students are arriving at college today under-prepared for college-level mathematics courses. In order to help these students to be successful, we need to undertake new strategies for support services, courses offered and perhaps even in our programs themselves. This session invites papers on all aspects of developmental mathematics education. In particular, what classroom practices are effective with such students and how does research in student learning inform these practices? For students interested in math-intensive majors such as the sciences, how can we best prepare these students for several subsequent mathematics courses? How can we best coordinate support services with the courses offered in our mathematics departments?

Environmental Mathematics,
Monday Afternoon
Karen Bolinger, Clarion University, and Ben Fusaro, Florida State University.

We invite presentations that apply undergraduate mathematics to solve environmental problems. We also invite presentations on expositional and pedagogical aspects of Environmental Mathematics. This session is sponsored by the SIGMAA Environmental Mathematics.

Guided Discovery in Mathematics Education, Thursday afternoon, Jerome Epstein
Polytechnic University. Following on a good session on the topic for JMM-2008, we are again soliciting contributions for 2009 on a topic which we believe to be of central importance for the further development of quality programs in mathematics education at all levels. We seek papers on:

  1. Programs with more than anecdotal evidence of efficacy, or the lack thereof,
  2. Means of assessment used to determine efficacy of discovery-based programs,
  3. Well thought out papers on the operational meaning of terms such as: "Guided Discovery", and thus on what specific aspects of programs actually are responsible for any observed differences in outcomes.
  4. Differences in outcomes in later mathematics courses for those in discovery-based programs vs. traditional lecture-based.

The session is sponsored by SIGMAA on Research in Undergraduate Mathematics Education (SIGMAA on RUME)

Innovative and Effective Ways to Teach Linear Algebra,
Tuesday Morning and Afternoon
David Strong, Pepperdine University; Gil Strang, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and David C. Lay, University of Maryland.

Linear algebra is one of the most interesting and useful areas of mathematics, because of its beautiful and multifaceted theory, as well as the enormous importance it plays in understanding and solving many real world problems. Consequently, many valuable and creative ways to teach its rich theory and its many applications are continually being developed and refined. This session will serve as a forum in which to share and discuss new or improved teaching ideas and approaches.
These innovative and effective ways to teach linear algebra include, but are not necessarily limited to:
  • hands-on, in-class demos;
  • effective use of technology, such as Matlab, Maple, Mathematica, Java Applets or Flash;
  • interesting and enlightening connections between ideas that arise in linear algebra and ideas
  • in other mathematical branches;
  • interesting and compelling examples and problems involving particular ideas being taught;
  • comparing and contrasting visual (geometric) and more abstract (algebraic) explanations of specific ideas;
  • other novel and useful approaches or pedagogical tools.

MAA Session on Research on the Teaching and Learning of Undergraduate Mathematics,
Tuesday Afternoon
Keith Weber, Rutgers University; Michelle Zandieh, Arizona State University; and Karen Marrongelle, Portland State University.

As part of its ongoing activities to foster research in undergraduate mathematics education and the dissemination of such research, the Special Interest Group of the Mathematical Association of America on Research in Undergraduate Mathematics Education (SIGMAA on RUME) solicits reports of research on the learning and teaching of undergraduate mathematics for its contributed paper session. We solicit proposals for research reports presenting results from completed research studies on undergraduate mathematics education that address one or more of the following themes: (1) results of current research; (2) contemporary theoretical perspectives and research paradigms, and (3) innovative methodologies and analytical approaches as they pertain to the study undergraduate mathematics education. We also welcome preliminary reports on research projects in early stages of development or execution.

Mathematics and the Arts,
Thursday Morning and Afternoon
Douglas E. Norton, Villanova University.

This session invites presentations of results on the connections between mathematics and the arts: mathematical aspects of arts, music, and architecture, as well as artistic representations of mathematical objects, ideas, and theorems. We invite explorations of connections old and new: tilings, architecture, quilting, cross-stitch, painting, sculpture, musical composition and analysis, mathematical properties of or themes in poetry and literature, new technological explorations. The Math-Arts connection is not just about Escher and the golden mean any more! (These topics are not excluded, of course.) The sharing of experiences and ideas for incorporation into course design and classroom activities is also encouraged. The session is sponsored by the MAA SIGMAA on Mathematics and the Arts.

Mathematics of Chemistry,
Monday Afternoon
George Rublein, College of William and Mary, and Thomas R. Hagedorn, The College of New Jersey.

Mathematics makes its appearance early on in college-level chemistry courses. Physical chemistry, which is heavily laced with mathematical models, has a reputation as the most difficult course in the undergraduate chemistry curriculum. The treatment of mathematics in chemistry textbooks often bears little resemblance to the approaches that students see in mathematics courses. This session solicits contributions that show examples of models drawn from chemistry that might comfortably appear in the calculus, differential equations or linear algebra courses in which chemistry students are commonly enrolled. Chemical thermodynamics, stoichiometry and chemical kinetics are good sources for such models.

Mathematics Experiences in Business, Industry and Government,
Wednesday Morning
Phil Gustafson, Mesa State College, and Michael Monticino, University of North Texas.

This contributed paper session will provide 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 who are interested in learning more about BIG practitioners, projects, and issues, will find this session of interest. This session is sponsored by the MAA Business, Industry and Government Special Interest Group (BIG SIGMAA).

The Mathematics of Games and Puzzles,
Tuesday Morning
Laura Taalman, James Madison University.

With the recent popularity of Sudoku, the mathematics of games and puzzles is enjoying a renaissance. In addition to those doing mathematical research about the game of Sudoku, people are continuing to research other games and puzzles such as Nim, SET, Rubik's Cube, the 15-puzzle, knight tours, origami, Mancala, cake division, and Japanese pencil puzzles such as Slitherlink, Nurikabe, Heyawake, and Masyu. These puzzles are related to a surprisingly wide variety of mathematical topics, from graph theory, game theory, and NP-completeness to number theory, topology, and integer programming. The mathematical research of games and puzzles is also a fertile ground for undergraduate research projects and for popularizing mathematics. This session invites talks about mathematical research, classroom use, and possible undergraduate research projects that relate to games and puzzles. Handouts of puzzles are encouraged.

Mathematics and Sports,
Tuesday Morning
Howard Penn, United States Naval Academy.

Sports provide a host of applications of mathematics. Examples exist that use concepts taught in calculus, differential equations, probability, statistics and combinatorics. In this session, we will showcase interesting applications of mathematics in various sports. The application should be suitable for use in the classroom. The mathematics may be at any level from freshman to senior. Talks may be expository or may highlight undergraduate research.

Mathlets for Teaching and Learning Mathematics,
Wednesday Morning and Afternoon
Thomas E. Leathrum, Jacksonville State University; David Strong, Pepperdine University; and Joe Yanik, Emporia University.

This session seeks to provide a forum in which presenters may demonstrate mathlets and related materials that they have created or further developed. Mathlets are small computer-based (but ideally platform-independent) interactive tools for teaching math, frequently developed as World Wide Web materials such as scripts or Java applets, but there may be many other innovative variations. Mathlets allow students to experiment with and visualize a variety of mathematical concepts, and they can be easily shared by mathematics instructors around the world. This session is sponsored by the MAA Committee on Technology in Mathematics Education (CTiME).

Operations Research in the Undergraduate Classroom,
Monday Afternoon
Gerald Kobylski and Josh Helms, United States Military Academy, and William Fox, Naval Post Graduate School.

This session solicits submissions highlighting innovative instructional strategies and assessment methods in the introductory undergraduate operations research courses or sequence. Suggested topics include, but are not limited to, course content, course projects, case studies, technology demonstrations, cooperative learning activities, and writing assignments. Course projects or case studies presented can be from mathematics courses other than Operations Research but should highlight operations research topics. Talks may focus on original teaching materials or the creative use of previously existing ones, but all talks should provide specific learning objectives addressed by the use of such materials. Each submission must focus on operations research topics at the undergraduate level, including those in the introductory undergraduate operations research sequence or undergraduate courses in stochastic processes, statistical modeling, simulation modeling, queuing theory, networks, linear optimization, nonlinear optimization, etc., and should be accompanied by a course syllabus.

Performing Mathematics,
Monday Afternoon
Timothy P. Chartier, Davidson College, and Karl Schaffer, De Anza College.

Performing arts such as juggling, dance, magic and drama can enrich the mathematics classroom, and reveal intriguing connections between mathematics and the performing arts. Beyond entertaining students and the general public, such demonstrations can offer new and novel perspectives on mathematical content and engage a class in a fun, educational and interactive activity. This session seeks to provide a forum in which presenters may demonstrate and discuss creative ways of teaching and presenting mathematics using techniques generally associated with entertainment and the performing arts. Proposals should clearly delineate the mathematical subject that will be covered. When a short performance or portion of a performance is included, a presenter might also incorporate a clear discussion of how a presenter's methods can be adapted for general classroom use. Descriptions of classroom activities that are suitable for use by teachers and professors without a performance background are also strongly encouraged.

Productive Roles for Math Faculty in the Professional Development of K-12 Teachers,
Wednesday Morning
Dale Oliver, Humboldt State University, and Elizabeth Burroughs, Montana State University.

This session is a forum for faculty whose involvement in professional development for teachers might be described as ’productive.â? The word productive here implies that the professional development produced some observable improvement in what teachers understand about mathematics, in how they think about and do mathematics, or in their pedagogical practices in teaching mathematics. The faculty who present in this session will highlight the key features of the professional development they delivered, including the structure, content, and pedagogy of the work they did with teachers. Of particular interest to the organizers will be descriptions of partnerships between Math faculty and lead K-12 teachers to design and deliver the professional development. This session is sponsored by COMET, the MAA Committee on the Mathematical Education of Teachers.

Promoting Deep Learning for Mathematics Majors through Experiential Learning, Writing and Reflection,
Thursday Morning and Afternoon
Murphy Waggoner, Simpson College, and Chuck Straley, Wheaton College.

Active and engaged learning helps our students gain genuine ownership of concepts and to become independent thinkers with truly transferable skills. This session is intended to give those who are currently helping students move from surface learning to deep learning to share their ideas with others. We invite presentations that describe ways to promote deep learning within the curriculum for mathematics majors such as, effective internship programs, service learning projects or other experiential experiences that allow students to apply mathematical skills in real situations, courses that use a discovery method to teach mathematical concepts, innovative teaching techniques that are proven to make concepts ’stickâ?, or the use of writing as a way to help students deepen their understanding of mathematics. Presentations should describe how the learning experiences where developed and how a deeper and lasting understanding of mathematics was demonstrated. Of special interest are presentations that show how to include written and/or oral reflection as a method of strengthening the learning experience.

Quantitative Literacy Across the Curriculum,
Wednesday Morning
Kimberly M. Vincent, Washington State University, and Cinnamon Hillyard, University of Washington, Bothell.

There are a growing number of colleges and universities with programs that embed QL in various disciplines. We would encourage dissemination of this important work by soliciting papers from any individuals or groups actively involved in Quantitative Literacy across the curriculum. The need to interpret and make inferences from quantitative data arises in all disciplines. Individuals and teams, who have embedded QL in various disciplines or institution wide, are welcome to submit contributed papers. Papers should provide examples from various disciplines that authentically embed QL in mathematics and/or other curriculum. Preference will be given to abstracts that provide evidence on the impact of the program or projects on student learning. If you have been working with faculty from other disciplines we encourage you to bring these faculty to JMM to present with you. The session is sponsored by SIGMAA-QL.

Statistics in K-12 Education: How will it Affect Statistics at the College Level?,
Wednesday Morning
Patricia Humphrey, Georgia Southern University, and Robin Lock, St. Lawrence University.

Teaching Statistics in K-12 has exploded in the past few years, due both to a change in curriculum in new state standards and the growth of AP Statistics (over 100,000 exams in 2007). Unfortunately, most math teachers at this level are ill-equipped to teach the subject. We seek presentations that illustrate how we can support these teachers (both current and future) - via successful pre- and in-service programs and interaction as a "mentor." What preparation should K-12 teachers have? How will/has this explosion impact teaching introductory Statistics at the college level - has your "intro" course been expanded/modified to (hopefully) adapt to students better prepared for our subject? The session is sponsored by the SIGMAA on Statistics Education and the ASA-MAA Joint Committee on Statistics Education. In order to be considered for this session applicants should submit a one page summary of the presentation to Pat Humphrey at along with the abstract to AMS. Presenters in the session will be considered for the SIGMAA on Statistics Education's Best Contributed Presentation Award.

Statistics Resources on the Web,
Wednesday Afternoon
Dorothy Anway, University of Wisconsin, Superior; Patricia Humphrey, Georgia Southern University, Chris Lacke, Rowan University.

This session seeks to provide a forum in which presenters may demonstrate web-based applets, mathlets, data sets, activities and related materials they have successfully used in statistics classes. With the proliferation of such resources (try a Google search on "statistical applets" - there are 941,000 results) endeavoring to find worthwhile resources can be time-consuming and difficult. No one has the time available to do a thorough search and examination when looking for a particular item on any given topic. We invite submissions that detail the following about one or more items found on the web: what it was, any resources required, how it was used, the time involved (in and out of class), the success and/or failure in terms of pedagogical intent, suggestions for improvement, and the web address where the resource was found. The intent is that attendees will take away a bag of handy tricks that can be used without ’reinventing the wheel.â? The session is sponsored by the SIGMAA on Statistics Education. In order to be considered for this session, applicants should submit a one page summary of the presentation to Dorothy Anway at along with the abstract to AMS. Presenters in the session will be considered for the SIGMAA on Statistics Education's Best Contributed Presentation Award.

Teaching Calculus in High School: Ideas that Work,
Tuesday Morning
Dan Teague, NC School of Science and Mathematics, and John F. Mahoney, Benjamin Banneker Academic High School.

Today, most STEM majors had their introductory Calculus course while in high school. SIGMAA TAHSM is committed to assisting teachers in making the mathematical experiences of their students as challenging and exciting as possible. This session will serve as a forum in which to share activities and approaches to teaching calculus that work well with high school students. Of particular interest are projects and investigations, activities, demonstrations, teaching strategies and techniques that bring the class and the mathematics to life for the students, and illustrate the nature and utility of mathematics. University faculty interested in or concerned about what happens in high school calculus classrooms are encouraged to participate and attend the sessions.

Undergraduate Mathematical Biology,
Tuesday Morning and Afternoon
Timothy D. Comar, Benedictine University; Raina Robeva, Sweet Briar College; and Eric S. Marland, Appalachian State University.

Reports including BIO 2010: Transforming Undergraduate Education for Future Research Biologists (National Research Council, 2003) and Math and BIO 2010: Linking Undergraduate Disciplines (L. A. Steen, ed., MAA, 2005) emphasize that aspects of biological research are becoming more quantitative and that life science students should be introduced to a greater array of mathematical and computational techniques and to the integration of mathematics and biological content at the undergraduate level. Since these reports, many successful programs and materials have been designed to address these issues. This session is designed to highlight available and successful, print, electronic, or online materials which are available for implementation in the classroom. This session would also like to highlight programs and workshops which have helped train faculty in the pedagogy of undergraduate mathematical biology. The session is particularly interested in presenters who have created materials after participating in workshops offered by the MAA or other professional organizations. We encourage presenters to provide handouts or electronic copies of materials that can readily be used in the classroom. This session is sponsored by the BIO SIGMAA.