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MAA on the Road: At the AMATYC Annual Meeting in Minneapolis

By Michael Pearson and Candace Baumann

The American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges (AMATYC) held its 33rd Annual Meeting in Minneapolis on Nov. 1-4, 2007. The meeting had originally been scheduled for New Orleans, but the facility that was to host the meeting was permanently closed as a result of Hurricane Katrina. So AMATYC made the decision to move to the other end of the Mississippi River and hold "New Orleans in Minneapolis 2007."

About 1,000 people attended this year's conference. Highlights of the meeting included Bernie Madison's invited lecture on the increasing importance of quantitative literacy for effective participation in the modern world, both in the workplace and as a citizen. Wayne Roberts' talk, "The Derivative as a Linear Transformation," was well-received. Wayne also spoke about the importance of his experience as a student at Morton Junior College (and later as a teacher) to his outlook as a faculty member.

Michael Pearson talks with a visitor to the MAA's booth at the 33rd AMATYC Annual Meeting earlier this month. Photo by Candace Baumann.

Dan Kennedy gave a delightful early-morning lecture, "My Year with NUMB3RS: Mathematics Goes to Hollywood," describing some of the interesting mathematical ideas from that show. He also noted other examples from recent popular culture, including A Beautiful Mind and Proof, in which mathematics plays a significant role. As Dan observed, the mathematical community should not miss the opportunities for "teachable moments" afforded by these events.

The 2007 conference marked the last formal involvement of the MAA with Project ACCCESS (Advancing Community College Careers: Education, Scholarship, Service), an early-career professional development program modeled on Project NExT. The first three years of this program were funded by ExxonMobil in response to a proposal submitted jointly by MAA and AMATYC. Currently led by Karen Gaines of St. Louis Community College and Brad Chin of West Valley College, Project ACCCESS Fellows participate in workshops and sessions just before and during two consecutive AMATYC meetings. Alhough the initial funding period is over, AMATYC plans to continue the program, and the MAA will continue to support Project ACCCESS Fellows by providing a one-year membership and limited funds for travel to MAA Section meetings.

The MAA booth buzzed with activity throughout the entire meeting, and a number of MAA members volunteered their time at the booth to talk to AMATYC members about the benefits of MAA membership. Thanks go to Steve Blasberg, Joanne Peeples, Abe Mantell, Ray Collings, Dennis Ebersole, and Jay Malstrom for helping out.

News Date: 
Wednesday, November 14, 2007