The fall 2014 meeting was held October 25, 2014 at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.
- Maureen Carroll (University of Scranton)
A Recipe for Games on Planes
- Ingredients: 1 set of tic-tac-toe rules, 1 finite affine plane. Directions: Mix well.
Serves: 2. Substitutions: After sampling and analyzing our original recipe, we'll consider alternative ingredients to produce a variety of other games with the same flavor profile.
- Ivars Peterson (MAA Director of Publications)
Pancake Sorting, Prefix Reversals, and DNA Rearrangements
- The seemingly simple problem of sorting a stack of differently sized pancakes has become a staple of theoretical computer science and led to insights into the evolution of species. First proposed in The American Mathematical Monthly, the problem attracted the attention of noted mathematicians and computer scientists. It no w plays an important role in the realm of molecular biology for making sense of DNA rearrangements.
- Chris Rorres (University of Pennsylvania, Emeritus Professor at Drexel University)
Mathematical Modeling of Animal Epidemics
- Animal epidemics, such as those of foot-and-mouth disease and infectious salmon anemia, have the potential of causing enormous economic losses, as evidenced by the devasting 2001 foot-and-mouth epidemic in the United Kingdom. In addition, some animal epidemics, avian influenza for example, pose the threat of being continued in human populations.
Today with the availability of enormous computing power and precise global positioning systems, more accurate models of animal epidemics are being developed to explore effective vaccination and culling policies. This talk will discuss research being undertaken at The University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, emphasizing work in the use of graph theory to chart the progression of chronic wasting disease (CWD) among deer populations in Pennsylvania.
- Sarah N. Bryant (Shippensburg University)
Tackling Unconscious Bias in STEM Faculty Searches and the Promotion & Tenure Process
- We may all be aware of the “leaky pipeline” and the fact that women drop out of the academia track at higher rates than men. There remains no simple answer for why this is so. This workshop will introduce research that shows that one impacting factor is the unconscious bias women in STEM face. In particular, we will focus on implicit bias in the hiring and promotion/tenure processes. After examining the phenomenon of implicit bias and introducing literature proving its impact on women in STEM, we will discuss concrete steps that search committees can take to insure that they recruit from a diverse pool of highly qualified candidates and avoid the pitfalls of unconscious bias. We will also discuss how implicit bias can affect tenure and promotion decisions and detail what specific steps that can be taken to reduce this bias.
Student Contributed Paper Session
Student talk schedule (PDF)
Student talk abstracts (PDF)
Section Governor's Presentation
The slideshow below was shown at this meeting.
Section Governor, Annalisa Crannell, Franklin & Marshall College
The MAA is about to enter its 100 Year Celebration. Woo-hoo!
As we leave our first century behind us, there are certain items of luggage we won't carry with us. For example:
- The Combined Membership List is becoming a historical relic, and will soon disappear. Why is the MAA making a preemptive move to abandon this particular ship? Because technology has changed a lot, and the software for the database is antiquated. But better yet, there is now a member look-up on the MAA website.
- There will be no more “Short Course”, at least not the kind that lasts for two days before our national meetings. What might the Short Course evolve into? There's a “Lucas Fund” that used to fund short course and might offer prof development for MAA members. Suggestions are welcome!
But our travels forward aren't all about shedding baggage; they are also a celebration and reaffirmation of all we do well: communicating mathematics with our students and with one another. In this vein, MAA meetings are hoppin' hotbeds of activity (MathFest 2014 set record levels of attendance); our journals are still among the most widely read math journals in the world, and professional development through PREP workshops and curricular materials is abundant.
An emerging area of MAA leadership is in high-quality, low-cost textbooks. Books! Buy 'em! Write 'em! MAA textbooks go through a rigorous editorial screening (unlike open access books) but are cheap. As time marches forward, the MAA is working on tying these texts to WebWorks, so instructors will find it increasingly easy to use these books in well-supported ways in our classrooms.
What else lies on the horizon as the next century dawns?
- Vision 2025 is a multi-organization (AMS, MAA, SIAM, AMATYC, ASA) project looking at curriculum in first two years, focusing particularly on identifying and supporting common themes. Keep your eyes peeled for updates!
- A new departmental MAA membership structure is in the works, and will come to the Board of Governors for consideration in January.
- Speaking of January, a new Curriculum Guide is coming out soon (its grand unveiling will be at JMM 2015); this is an amazing and comprehensive overview of the best that the mathematics curriculum has to offer, and it is likely to be extremely helpful to departments undergoing review or thinking of (re)structuring their mathematics major.
Annalisa Crannell, Governor