Florida Section Newsletter
The Mathematical Association of America
October 1999
Volume 21, Issue 1
 

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Contents:

bulletPresident's Message
bulletGovernor's Report
bullet33rd Annual Florida Section Meeting
bulletAmendment to the Bylaws
bulletRegional Meetings
bulletCampus News
bulletSt. Johns River Community College
bulletEckerd College
bulletFlorida International University
bulletFlorida State University

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Presidentís Message

Walter Walker

It was an honor to be president elect of the Florida Section of the Mathematical Association of America. I was greatly impressed by the wonderful job that was done by Past President Mike Mears and the entire Executive Committee in carrying out their stewardship responsibilities over section activities. We had a very enjoyable and professionally rewarding meeting at Gulf Coast Community College. We thank the Program Committee chaired by Dr. Judy Jones (VCC) and the Student Activities Coordinator Dr. Ben Fusaro (FSU) for delivering an excellent program. We are grateful to the host institution and the Local Arrangements Committee chaired by Dr. Janice McFatter (GCCC) for the friendly meeting environment they provided.

I was happy to see that five of the six regional sections had very successful meetings last year and encouraged by plans in the works to revitalize the west regional meetings. I am grateful to the leadership teams in each region who contribute their time and talents to ensure that Fl-MAA continues to vigorously promote the vitality of the Mathematical Sciences in the State. It is important that senior members of Fl-MAA continue to be involved in section activities and seek out and encourage young faculty to assume leadership responsibilities in their regional meetings and eventually at the state level. I was pleasantly surprised by the enthusiasm that was displayed by prospective section officers when asked about their willingness to serve. Please respond to Mike Mearsí WANT TO BE FAMOUS advertisement in the June 1999 issue of the Newsletter.

The next annual meeting of the Florida section of the MAA will be held at the University of South Florida in Tampa during the first weekend in March of the year 2000. We plan to meet at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Meyers for the year 2001 and at Santa Fe Community College in Gainesville on March 1-2, 2002. The Program Committee chaired by Dr. Phil Novinger (FSU) and the Student Activities Coordinator Dr. Ben Fusaro (FSU) will put together an excellent program for the USF meeting this March. The Local Arrangements team of Dr. Ken Pothoven, Dr. Fred Zerla, and Dr. Gregory McColm promise to be gracious hosts. The ingredients are in place to deliver what promises to be one of our most successful meetings. This is contingent on good attendance, so start making plans now to attend the meeting and bring along a colleague. We hope to bring back the Articulation Section to the program. This would feature dialogue on important issues of interest to the membership such as: What changes should be made in the reward structures of our colleges and universities in order to more effectively fulfill our primary mission of teaching, research and rendering service to the mathematical community?

This issue is particularly important since young faculty need to be properly awarded and mentored for assuming responsibility for activities in the section. The restructuring of our State University System with the introduction of a tired system of faculty responsibility split between Teaching and Research with little emphasis on Service to the Mathematics Profession, foreshadows important repercussions for faculty. Who will teach Mathematics in the future? Another issue of importance is: The Adjunct Issue: Uses and abuses of Part-time faculty and Visitors in the teaching of Mathematics. How should their faculty development and assessment be done? Questions involving possible negative impact on the quality of instruction and mentorship of students and service to the profession remain largely unassessed.

Let us use the Articulation Section to dialogue on these important matters. Bring to the attention of the program chair and the executive committee other issues that might be of interest to you. It is very important that we foster student participation in the regional and state meetings. In order to more effectively do this the Executive Committee is proposing to you for ratification an amendment to the Bylaws. This amendment would make the Student Activities Coordinator a member of the Executive Committee with a three-year non renewable term. I encourage you to ratify the amendment and vote Dr. Ben Fusaro as our Maiden officer.

We are exploring the possibility of developing a Florida Section NexT-like Program to better service the needs of young faculty in our four year colleges and Universities. I think such a program would greatly enhance the careers of our young faculty, foster good teaching and promote their participation in section activities.

Please feel free to call or write me whenever you see ways that I can better serve the interest of the Florida Section of the MAA. See you at USF in Tampa for the March Meeting.

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Governor's Report

Fredric Zerla

Mathfest99 in Providence, RI, featured a variety of activities to interest any mathematician. The Hedrick Lectures (a series of three) were given by Carl Pomerance of the University of Georgia and Lucent Technologies. Professor Pomerance has spoken at meetings of the Florida Section twice. Well known for his work with the Georgia Prime Project, Dr. Pomerance aimed each of his three lectures to a different aspect of primes. Among the other outstanding expositions at Mathfest99 were Robert Devaney of Boston University on "The Mandelbrot Set, the Farey Tree and the Fibonacci Sequence" and Jeremy Gray of The Open University on "100 Years of Hilbert Problems". Discussions of teaching techniques and the art of teaching included that of the President of the MAA, Tom Banchoff of Brown University, who spoke at the last meeting of the Florida Section. Professor Banchoff gave the inaugural Leitzel Lecture on "Teaching Stages", on the development of a career in teaching mathematics. Also in this category was the advice of Judith Roitman of the University of Kansas about "What to do in K - 12". Dr. Roitman, a Berkeley graduate, warned about what can happen when a group opposed to rationalism gains control of the school curriculum as it has in Kansas. Her advice is that we all work closely with the public K - 12 schools to provide guidance as well as a counter force. Along this line, a panel discussed the almost completed revision of the NCTM Standards and MAA membersí attempts to make them stronger and clearer.

An aspect of the summer meetings that is a point of pride of the MAA is the student presentations. This year, 40 students presented papers in the MAA Student Chapter Session and 35 in the Pi Mu Epsilon Session, these included 2 from Florida. The meetings were followed by a banquet and invited addresses. The Pi Mu Epsilon Frame Lecture was given by Fred Richey, now of West Point, on the origins of the Calculus. Professor Richey spoke at the meeting of the Florida Section three years ago. The MAA lecturer was Dan Klaman of American University who traced the history of the study of infinite series, especially Eulerís work.

The most interesting topic at the Governorís Meeting had to do with the changing complexion of the employment of mathematicians. I reported previously that the MAA along with most other professional academic organizations suffers from decreasing membership. Almost all of our members are associated with academia which seems to be down-sizing nationally. Our graduates are finding employment outside the professorate, but many would like to keep in touch with collegiate mathematics. A suggestion was made that we should broaden our membership base to include them. We might begin a new magazine similar to Mathematical Horizons, but aimed at the postgraduate employed outside the academy. This led to a suggestion that the College Mathematics Journal and the Mathematics Magazine might be combined so as not to increase the total number of journals we publish. But questions were asked quickly about how much mathematics background the reader is presumed to have. Also, should the new magazine be associated with membership as our present journals are or might it be sold on magazine racks at bookstores? The main result I saw coming out of this discussion was a willingness to expand the membership base to include and encourage mathematicians in non-academic positions to join.

Walter Walker, President of the Florida Section, asked me to explore establishing a Project NexT in our Section. I spoke to Christine Stevens, the National Director, about it. She was enthusiastic and gave suggestions we might implement at the State Meeting at USF in March. Walter asked me to join with two former governors, Lee Armstrong of UCF and Fred Hoffman of FAU to try to get Florida NexT going. We are working on it.

As the world changes, mathematicians and its teaching change with it. This is an interesting time to be in the profession.

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MAA Florida Section Meeting
March 3 - 4, 2000
University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida

The MAA Florida Section will hold its 33rd annual meeting, in conjunction with the Florida Two-Year College Mathematics Association, on March 3 - 4 on the campus of the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida. Put these dates on your calendar and plan to attend. Questions and issues related to the meeting program should be directed to Phil Novinger, Vice President for Programs, at novinger@math.fsu.edu or (706) 354-1586 (before January 1), or (850) 644-8711 (after January 1), or by accessing the web page described below.

Up to date information regarding all aspects of the meeting can be obtained by accessing the home page of the FSU Mathematics Department, http://www.math.fsu.edu where you will find a link to the preliminary program page as it develops, and also other useful meeting information. Alternatively, this can be accessed by going to http://www.maa.org/sections where a link to the same page will be provided. The meeting page and links should be in place by sometime in early November.

Plenary speakers for the meeting include MAA Polya Lecturer Colin Adams of Williams College in addition to one or two additional ones, yet to be determined.

There will again be a student oriented special session organized by Ben Fusaro which will include student presentations, a student banquet on Friday evening and featured guest speaker. For more information contact Ben via email at fusaro@math.fsu.edu or call the FSU Mathematics Department at (850) 644-2202 and ask for Ben.

It is also intended that there be a special articulation session that would address one or more of the following issues:

bulletWho is teaching mathematics at the various levels and are they qualified?
bulletHow can adjuncts be used more effectively?
bulletHow are CASís impacting the way that we teach mathematics?

If you believe that such a session would be of interest and/or are interested in participating on a panel at such a session, please get in touch with the VP for programs, Phil Novinger. Whether or not such a session is scheduled will depend somewhat on how much interest is indicated by you.

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Amendment to the Bylaws of the
Florida Section of the MAA

In March, at the Annual Business Meeting, members of the Florida Section of the MAA will be voting on an amendment to the bylaws. This amendment would reflect the creation of a new position on the Executive Committee of the Section with a three year, non-renewable term: Coordinator of Student Activities.

The duties of this Section officer would be as follows:

The Coordinator of Student Activities shall be responsible for arranging the involvement of students in the Annual Meeting and encouraging the formation and continuation of Student Chapters of the Mathematical Association of America at the various institutions of higher learning throughout the Florida Section.

This would involve some coordination with the program chair as stated in the following paragraph:

The Annual Meeting shall be planned by the Program Committee in coordination with the Local Arrangements Committee, the Secretary-Treasurer and others. The Executive Committee shall make suggestions for speakers and it may also suggest topics of interest. The Coordinator of Student Activities shall work with the Program Committee to provide an opportunity for student participation in the Annual Meeting. The Program Committee shall consider suggestions from the national office concerning program organization and the membership shall be solicited for program suggestions as well as contributed papers.

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Regional Meetings

Gold Coast

The Gold Coast Section meeting of MAA will be held at Florida Atlantic University on November 19. Papers for the contributed paper session are solicited at this time (10-15 mins). Talks can be either related to research or related to teaching mathematics at both high school and college levels. Student papers are welcome. For more details contact Dr. Shamita Dutta Gupta, Florida International University, Ph: (305) 348-2057, email: duttagus@fiu.edu.

SUNCOAST XXIV

The University of South Florida, Tampa Campus, is hosting Suncoast XXIV, the 24th annual West Coast Regional Meeting of the Florida Section on Friday afternoon, December 3, 1999. We are seeking presenters for this meeting.

Anyone wishing to give a half-hour talk related to mathematics or the teaching of mathematics is asked to contact Dr. Gregory McColm (813) 974-9550, mccolm@math.usf.edu no later than October 29. The meeting will begin at 3:00 and climax with the Aftermath Dinner. For further details, contact Dr. McColm or one of the other members of the Planning Committee: Drs. Kenneth Pothoven, 974-9568, klp@math.usf.edu, or Fredric Zerla, 974-2561, zerla@math.usf.edu. A complete program will be available in early November.

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St. Johns River Community College

Phil Lyons has joined the Mathematics Department full-time. He has a Bachelorís degree from the University of Louisville and a Masterís degree from the University of North Florida.

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Eckerd College

We welcome two new members to our discipline this year. Kathy Roegner will be serving as a visiting assistant professor of mathematics and Eduardo Fernandez will be serving as a visiting assistant professor of mathematics and physics. Kathy is an Eckerd alum having graduated from the college with her B.S. degree in 1991. She earned her Ph.D. degree from Technisiche Universitat Berlin and her area of expertise in lattice theory. Eduardo earned his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in plasma physics.

For other faculty news this summer, Jerry Juvenicus spent several weeks in July at Colorado State University serving as a grader for the AP Calculus exam. Similarly, Walter Walker was at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln where he served as a grader for the AP Statistics exam. In June, David Kerr sponsored a three-week workshop for Pinellas County Schoolteachers on basic properties of physics and physical science. He also attended the annual meeting of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) in Washington, DC.

For student news, Denise Mason (Class of 2000) attended the summer program for women in mathematics at George Washington University where she studied complex dynamics, multivariate splines, fractal geometry, and graph theory. Veneta Dimitrova (Class of 1999 with a double major in mathematics and economics) has been hired by EDC Associates, a financial investment firm in New York City, where, in addition to her normal duties with the company, she is being paid to attend Columbia University to complete her masters degree. Mark Lewis (Class of 1992 and Ph.D. degree from Georgia Tech in operations research in 1998) has recently accepted a tenure-track position at Michigan State University. Mark was one of the undergraduate student speakers at the Florida State MAA conference in 1992.

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Florida International University

Jim Slifker retired from Florida International University in June 1999. He joined FIU in 1972. During his 27 years here he was awarded TIP twice. In addition he was given two FIU teaching awards. He and his wife Rose Ann plan to travel, play tennis, to skiing and spend time in other enjoyable physical pursuits.

Shinar O. Kouranbaeva is joining the mathematics Department at FIU from fall 1999. She comes to us from University of California, Santa Cruz where she is completing her Ph.D. Her research interests are mechanics, fluid dynamics, PDE, etc.

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Florida State University

Dee Witt Summers has succeeded Chris Hunter as Chair of the Mathematics Department and Phil Bowers has succeeded Perrin Wright as Associate Chair. Chris served as Department Chair for two consecutive three-year terms, while Perrin served in the position as Associate Chair for 15 years. The Department thanks Chris and Perrin for their many years of outstanding service and looks forward to working with Dee Witt and Phil.

The FSU Mathematics Department anticipates a masterís option available fall 2000 in Computational Biology. This program is intended to prepare students for careers in biotech industry or government positions. The two faculty members setting up the program, Jack Quine and Dee Witt Summers, do research in the area of mathematical molecular biology so doctoral work is also available.

Information:  http://www.math.fsu.edu/~smith/Guides/compbio.html

A Financial Mathematics program began fall 1998 as a new interdisciplinary professional masterís degree in the FSU department. It is intended for students who want to work in the financial markets, or with firms or regulators; a concentration in Actuarial Science is possible within this masterís. The interdisciplinary program is directed by Bettye Anne Case.  Information: http://www.math.fsu.edu/~smith/Guides/finmath.html.

Actuarial Science became a Degree Program by action of the FL BOR in July, 1999. A full bachelorís degree curriculum is available, and is listed at the http://www.soa.org site.  The interdisciplinary program represents cooperation between facilities of Accounting, Economics, Finance, Mathematics, Risk Management and Insurance, and Statistics. It is headquartered in Mathematics and directed by Bettye Anne Case.

Information: http://www.math.fsu.edu/~smith/Guides/actmath.html

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