Liaison Newsletter
February 2006

2006 PREP Program Now Available

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 in 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.

PMET Announces 2006 Workshops

The MAA Preparing Mathematicians to Educate Teachers program has announced plans for summer workshops to support faculty who work with future teachers. Details on the workshops are available at the program website, http://www.maa.org/pmet.

Complimentary Copy of New SAUM Volume Available to Departments by Request

Supporting Assessment in Undergraduate Mathematics, edited by Bonnie Gold, Sandra Keith, and William Marion, contains a collection of assessment practices that have been tried by more than 100 contributors in mathematics at a wide variety of schools, attempts to offer the mathematics teacher suggestions from an insider's perspective. The book is unique among assessment books in representing the point of view of mathematicians exploring and examining methods of learning in their field.

Requests for a complimentary copy, available to mathematical sciences departments, may be made at http://www.maa.org/saum/request.html.

A Call to Refocus College Algebra

A Fresh Start for Collegiate Mathematics: Rethinking the Courses Below Calculus, edited by Nancy Baxter Hastings and published by the MAA, will be available by the end of February. The 49 papers in this volume discuss a range of topics related to new visions for introductory collegiate mathematics.

A department may obtain a copy for $10 to cover the cost of postage and handling. A form to request this complimentary copy is available at http://www.maa.org/data/fresh-start.pdf. Sorry, this offer has expired!

Spring Section Meetings: Coming Soon to a Campus Near You

From the Allegheny to the Wisconsin Section, spring is a busy season for MAA Section Meetings. We hope you are already planning to get to yours. MAA Online has a calendar of section meetings, as well as links to all MAA Section websites, at http://www.maa.org/Sections.

Mathematics Webcast: To Infinity and Beyond

This Thursday, February 2, at 7:00 PM Central Time, A webcast presentation about infinity will be given by Michael Starbird, University Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Texas at Austin. Mike has a strong interest in attempting to make sophisticated mathematics accessible and enticing to the public. This webcast is an experiment in public outreach through the web.\

More information is available at http://www.esi.utexas.edu/outreach/ols/lectures/Starbird/.

From Business Week: Math Will Rock Your World

According to a recent article in Business Week, "the world is moving into a new age of numbers." Business is discovering what we have long known: mathematics permeates the world around us, and there are very few problems that don't admit to quantitative analysis. To see more, read the January 23 cover story, "Math Will Rock Your World."

This article is just one sign that the need for a more quantitatively-literate society is getting the attention of the business community. The Business Roundtable has recently published a report, Tapping America's Potential: The Education for Innovation Initiative, which also makes a case to dramatically increase the level of math and science education.

On January 31, President Bush referred to the relationship between our competitiveness as a nation and our success at improving education as well, and in particular called for large increases in spending on research (and in particular at the NSF) as well as for initiatives to train AP teachers. Be on the lookout for news and initiatives that follow up on some of these trends. One place to look is on the MAA Science Policy Committee site.

Martin Garnder's Mathematical Games on CD

Martin Gardner's "Mathematical Games" column ran in Scientific American from 1956 to 1986. In these columns Gardner introduced hundreds of thousands of readers to the delights of mathematics and of puzzles and problem solving. His column broke such stories as Rivest, Shamir, and Adelman on public-key cryptography, Mandelbrot on fractals, Conway on Life, and Penrose on tilings. He enlivened classic geometry and number theory and introduced readers to new areas such as combinatorics and graph theory.

The MAA has now released the entire collection of his Scientific American columns on one CD. The collection is available through the MAA Bookstore.

Third International Conference on the Teaching of Mathematics

Given the attention in the national press to Turkey's efforts to join the European Union, I thought this announcement was worth repeating. A visit to Istanbul in 2006 promises to be a fascininating experience.

Following two successful International Conferences (ICTM-98, Samos Greece, ICTM02, Crete Greece), the 3rd International Conference on the Teaching of Mathematics will address new ways of teaching undergraduate mathematics. The conference will be based at the hotel The Marmara in the center of Istanbul and will provide a unique international and centralized forum and bring together faculty members from countries with different educational and pedagogical systems around the world who are committed to introducing and using innovative teaching methods. Full conference information can be found at www.tmd.org.tr/ictm3.

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