From the Section Representative
Jon L. Johnson
The mission of the MAA is to advance the understanding of mathematics and its impact on our world.
As of the last day of MathFest, 1629 mathematicians had attended the meeting in the mile-high city of Denver this August. At the meeting of the Congress, the role of the MAA Congress continued to be a topic of discussion. Some of the expectations from a "What did I sign up for?" session included the group acting as a sounding board for the Board of Directors, encouraging departmental memberships, nominating section members for committees, communicating issues or concerns both from the sections to the MAA and from the MAA to the sections, and being a champion for the MAA.
Task forces were formed by the Board of Directors to answer two questions:
- How can MAA better support the sections?
- The MAA's council and committee structure is overwhelming. How should we begin examining the structure and, hopefully, change it for the better?
An important announcement was that the MAA finances were in better shape. A large deficit was initially projected, but a one-time payment from the book partnership with the AMS, combined with MAA "belt tightening" and increased donations, resulted in a gain. Without the AMS payment, there would have been a small deficit.
The MAA's core values, which were approved by the Board of Directors, were also introduced:
- Cultivates participation in mathematics through outreach and partnership.
- Strengthens community through collaborative activities for mathematics professionals, students, and enthusiasts at all levels.
- Advocates inclusivity and celebrates diversity by promoting mathematics for all.
- Broadens access to mathematics through initiatives to engage diverse audiences.
- Advances creative discoveries in mathematics and communicates them to the world.
- Communicates the role of mathematics in a changing society.
Teaching and Learning
- Fosters the open exchange of ideas about the teaching and learning of mathematics.
- Develops and promotes research-based instructional resources and practices.
The Executive Director, Michael Pearson, and the rest of those at MAA Headquarters, emphasized that the MAA is primarily a volunteer organization with over 90% of the work done by volunteers at all levels. If you are interested in serving the MAA at the national or the sectional level, please contact me or one of the section officers.
Representatives to the Congress also discussed and offered feedback on the following topics:
- Member communities: 29 sections, 17 SIGMAAs, High school teachers, MAA committees, Project NExT, online communities, Government/Business interests, students at all levels, similar organizations (PME, AMS, SIAM, ASA, etc.).
- MAA Programs
- Curriculum resources (under https://www.maa.org/programs-and-communities)
- Video conferencing for the Board of Directors instead of the more expensive face-to-face meetings.
- Increasing representation of various constituencies in the Congress.
- Congress Learning Communities - a year-long program to better acquaint Congress members with areas and activities of the MAA (e.g., Communication: MAA Publications/Talks, Mission and Membership, etc.).
If you have any input on any of these topics or others, please contact me so that I may forward them to the Congress and Board of Directors.
The Congress also elected new officers:
- MAA Officer-at-Large: James Alvarez
- Vice Chair of the Congress: Jason Douma
- Congress Election Committee: Clare Hemenway, Krystina Leganza, Ron Smith