Florida Section Newsletter
The Mathematical Association of America
October 2000
Volume 22, Issue 1

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bulletExecutive Committee
bulletPresident's Message
bulletGovernor's Report
bullet34th Annual Meeting
bulletCampus News
bulletFlorida International University
bulletRegional Meetings
bulletSun Coast XXV
bulletGold Coast XXV

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Executive Committee

June White, St. Petersburg Junior College
(727) 791-2542, whitejune@spjc.edu

Past President
Walter Walker, Eckerd College
(727) 864-8461, walker@eckerd.edu

Charles Lindsey, Florida Gulf Coast University
(941) 432-5554, clindsey@eckerd.edu

Vice President for Programs
David Kerr, Eckerd College
(727) 864-8437, kerr@eckerd.edu

Vice President-Elect for Programs
Marcelle Bessman, Jacksonville University
(904) 745-7300, Mbessma@ju.edu

Vice President for Site Selection
Debbie Garrison, Valencia Community College
299-5000 Ext. 2304, garrison@magicnet.net

Vice President-Elect for Site Selection
Siamack Bondari, Saint Leo University
(352) 588-8279, Siamack.bondari@saintleo.edu

Ken Pothoven, University of South Florida
(813) 974-9568, pothoven@chuma.cas.usf.edu

Newsletter Editor
Mark Anderson, Rollins College
(407) 646-2323, manderson@rollins.edu

Newsletter Editor-Elect
Bill Rush, St. Petersburg Junior College
(727) 791-2565, Rushb@spjc.edu

Section Governor
Fred Zerla, University of South Florida
(813) 974-2561, zerla@math.usf.edu

Coordinator of Student Activities
Ben Fusaro, Florida State University
(850) 644-9717, Fusaro@math.fsu.edu

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President's Report

June White

Mathematics is in the headlines! Nespapers, magazines and journals all seem to be reporting on mathematics these days. Emphasis is placed on the need for more math majors, more math faculty, and more math literacy. In a report in the New York Times, September 27, 2000, filed by the Associated Press, the headline read "More Math, Science Training Urged". The aritcle reported on the National Commission on Math and Science Teaching in the 21st Century whose chair was John Glenn, former Senator from Ohio and former astronaut. This commission proposed a "$5 billion budget for making sure teachers earn majors or minors in math and science, teach those courses instead of others, and get incentives to stay in their jobs." Newsweek Magazine recently devoted many pages to the lead story regarding teaching and the future shortage of faculty, especially in mathematics, and the St. Petersburg Times has devoted many newsprint pages to the same story.

Does the United States actually face a serious problem? According to some of the data, the answer to this question is clear. According to NACME (National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering), "only 12 percent of all American students and 6 percent of minority students graduate from high school with the four year sequence of math and science courses to be eligible for science or math-based majors in college." Data from the Glenn commission indicates that more than 25 percent of high school teachers of math and science lack even a college minor in those areas. According to Susie Davis, Secondary Mathematics Supervisor for Pinellas County, openings existed for math instructors when school opened and openings exist now. In higher education the number of math faculty retiring in the next 5 years will create many openings for what appears to be a very small group of math majors. In the Fall, 2000, issue of The Quaternion, the newsletter of the math department at the University of South Florida, only nine students were listed as having received bachelor degrees with a major in mathematics during the 1999-2000 academic year.

What does this mean for the Florida Section of MAA? This question is one which needs discussion by those of us interested in math and math education. I look forward to our being engaged in this dialogue and for MAA to provide some leadership to this discussion.

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Governor's Report

Fred Zerla

The Board of Governor’s Meeting at Mathfest 2000 held at UCLA the first week of August featured several items of interest to the Florida Section. One that will help section officers and regional meeting planners is the expansion of the MAA’s computer facilities. We were shown a brochure from Association PlusTM which bills itself as "Your Complete Association Management Solution". This is one of the firms the MAA is considering contracting to update its management software. For us, this menas that our section officers will be able to contact all members of the section who have an e-mail address with one message. Of course, the members without e-mail access would still have to be contacted by regular mail, but their number is dwindling. In meetings, especially regional meetings, most of the work involves communication with the members. What a blessing such a management system would be!!

Tina Straley gave her first Board of Governors report since assuming the position of Executive Director of the MAA. Among the items of interest to the Florida Section is the announcement that the NSF National Digital Library Program funded a joint proposal by the MAA and the Math Forum to establish an on-line resource and a directory of all materials, hard copy and electric, in undergraduate mathematics. As Tina explained at the Meeting, this includes a Library of Commercial Projects and a Library of Online Mathematics and its Applications. As an example, she suggested that an instructor assigned to teach differential equations for the first time can find much useful information here. She also announced the establishment of the Journal of Online Mathematics and its Applications, which would be an online refereed journal.

Ed Dublinski and Olaf Stackleberg will meet with leaders in mathematics and mathematics education to plan a development program for mathematics faculty who teach preparation courses, but have not had preparation in education. I know this NSF funded effort is needed in Florida and I gather that the need is equally as great in the rest of the nation.

Martha Seigel, Secretary of the MAA, reported that the Committee on the Undergraduate Program of Mathematics (CUPM) requested that President Banchoff appoint a Task Force on First Year Mathematics. Linda Kime of the University of Massachusettes, Boston, chairs this Task Force which has as its charge "to define and determine the dimension of the problem of the first year mathematics courses prior to calculus." A preliminary report will be presented to the Executive Committee by the January 2001 meeting.

In 1993, the MAA published Guidelines for Programs and Departments in Undergraduate Mathematical Sciences. These Guidelines are now in the process of being up-dated. Of continuing concern to the profession is the increase in the number of part-timers teaching undergraduate courses. This has been a trend in year colleges for some time, now the 4-year colleges and universities are beginning to emulate this practice. While financial officers may consider the use of part-timers as a way to save money on fringe benefits, their use causes problems for the departments. Although most are excellent teachers whom the department has no hesitation in putting before a class, they have no commitment to course development, program integrity or to the welfare of the department itself. The MAA is trying to address the problems this trend brings both to the profession and to the status of the part-timers themselves.

The August/September 2000 issue of Focus contains aricles that cover items discussed at our Governors Meeting. Among these are:

bulletThe National Council of Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) has issued performance based standards for the nation’s schools of education. The article summarizes the six standards.
bulletThe Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences (CBMS) will issue report on recommendations on the preparation of mathematical teachers, K-12. This report shifts the emphasis from the mastery of particular courses to learning the key ideas underlying the mathematics they will be teaching. The report by Alan Tucker, former MAA Vice President, and lead writer for this CBMS project, mentions Professor Liping Ma’s 1999 book, Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics. Dr. Ma, who spoke at Mathfest 2000, compared the mathematical knowledge of samples of Chinese and American elementary school teachers. Her thesis is that there is substantial mathematical knowledge involved in teaching mathematics well in elementary grades.
bulletThe discussion of the Panel on Post-Tenure Review at the Washington Meeting in January 2000 is summarized by Bernard L. Madison. Professor Madison served for 10 years as the chair of the Department of Mathematics at the University of Arkansas, then 10 years as college dean. He discusses this controversial subject then shows how it is done at four schools. Focus also presented an alternate view by William Berlinghoff, former Associate Secretary of the American Association of University Professors.
bulletThe National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) recently updated its 1989 Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics in a document titled Principles and Standards for School Mathematics (PSSM). Susanna Epp of DePaul University and Ken Ross of the University of Oregon and past president of the MAA worked with the NCTM on the development of the PSSM. Their article in Focus tells nine "concerns" that the MAA task force had with the 1989 Standards and "comments" on their preception as to how well the PSSM addressed these concerns. Information on many of the topics mentioned above can be found on the MAA’s web site, MAA Online (www.maa.org) <http://www.maa.org>. I find the question of membership decline in the MAA baffling. The MAA is involved in so many vital issues confronting the profession today that I cannot see how a teacher of undergraduate mathematics at a college or university can keep up without being a member of the MAA.

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Thirty-Fourth Annual Meeting
of the Florida Section of the MAA
March 2&3, 2001
Florida Gulf Coast University
Ft. Myers, FL

Preliminary Announcement and Call for Papers

The thirty-fourth annual meeting of FL-MAA will be a concatenation of mathematical research and exposition, technology, and pedagogy. The two plenary speakers for the conference are Barry Cipra and Frank Morgan.

Barry Cipra is a free-lance writer from Northfield, Minnesota whose mathematical articles and essays appear regularly in SIM News, FOCUS magazine, and the AMS Transactions. Frank Morgan is a professor of mathematics at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusettes. His latest books are Geometric Measure Theory: a Beginner’s Guide and The MathChat Book based on his live, call-in MathChat tv show (www.mathchat.org).

In addition to these two plenary speakers, FL-MAA is sponsoring invited talks by Lokenath Debnath (UCF) on a topic in wavelets, Stephanie Fitchett (Honors College, FAU) on a topic in algebraic geometry, A.G. Kartsatos (USF) on a topic in nonlinear functional analysis, Pat McDonald (New College) on a topic in partial differential equations, and Boris Shekhtman (USF) on a topic in approximation theory.

Additionally, there will be at least two workshops scheduled for Friday, March 2nd from 9:30 to 11:30am. Tentatively scheduled, one of the workshops will be a Grant Writing Workshop to "guide potential grant seekers in the art of writing effective and fundable grants" with NSF and other granting agencies.

Other events include:

a conference banquet for all attendees on the evening of Friday, March 2nd
a round-table discussion on "Undergraduate Research in Mathematics - Definitions and Directions"
a series of student presentations
a private colleges forum
the annual business meeting of FTYCMA
a community college chairs meeting on the morning of Friday, March 2nd
an SUS department chairs meeting on the morning of Friday, March 2nd
a lyrical mathematical play and performance

This year, FL-MAA will be publishing a Conference Proceedings in electronic format and all presenters are welcome to submit an article for review and consideration. The Proceedings are divided into four sections covering mathematical research and exposition, uses of technology in teaching and learning mathematics, mathematical pedagogy, and student papers. Specific instructions for authors forthcoming.

Finally, this preliminary announcement also serves as a call for papers:

FL-MAA invites oral talks (30 minutes) or poster presentations (90 minutes) from mathematicians in the SUS, the community colleges, and the state’s private colleges or universities. Undergraduate students are also invited to make presentations. Here, the undergraduate student may elect either a 15 or 30 minute oral talk or a 90 minute poster presentation.

If you desire to submit a presentation for consideration, please e-mail your name, institutional affiliation, type of presentation you desire (oral or poster), the category you wish your presentation to be considered under (mathematical research or exposition, technology, pedagogy, or an undergraduate student paper), title, and an abstract of fifty words or less to David Kerr, Vice-President for Programs at kerr@eckerd.edu. Please submit your abstract by December 15, 2000.

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Campus News

Florida International University

Dr. Tedi Draghici has joined our department as a tenure track Assistant Professor. He comes to us from Northeastern Illinois University. Earlier he completed his Ph.D. from Michigan State University in 1997. His research interest is Differential Geometry.

In the faculty convocation and awards ceremony 2000 Dr. Shamita Dutta Gupta received a university-wide award for excellence in teaching.

Profs. Kafkoulis, Dutta Gupta, Alandro and Rosenthal are teaching various undergraduate Mathematics courses as web-assisted courses. The Mathematics Department has a home page on the net at http://www.fiu.edu/~math/.

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MAA Regional Meetings

Sun Coast XXV
Friday, December 1, 2000
St. Petersburg Junior College — St. Pete/ Gibbs Campus
3 pm - 9 pm

Please join us for an afternoon and evening of mathematics discussions. For many of us this is the only time of the year that brings us all together to renew acquaintances, share ideas, meet new people in the mathematics community and socialize. We extend a warm welcome to anyone in the area who is interested in mathematics - bring friends!!!

For more information, visit http://www.spjc.edu/spg/math/conference/maaintro.html or contact

Cora Wilkerson, St. Petersburg Junior College, Mathematics Dept., St. Pete/Gibbs campus, P.O. Box 13489, St. Petersburg, FL 33733, email: wilkersonc@spjc.edu.

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Gold Coast XXV
Friday, November 17, 2000
Miami Dade Community College — Kendall Campus
12:30 pm - 5:00 pm

Keynote Speakers

1:00 PM Professor Chris Cosner, University of Miami
Some Mathematical Models in Ecology
3:50 PM Professor Paul Yiu, Florida Atlantic University
Geometry: Then What Shall Be Taught?

Panel Discussion

2:10 PM Mathematics for Liberal Arts

Contributed Paper Session

2:10 PM

Professor Shamita Dutta Gupta, Florida International University, PH: (305) 348 - 2047, email: duttagus@fiu.edu

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