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Contents for the Fall 2014 Issue


ISMAA  2015 Annual Meeting


The 2015 Annual Meeting of the Illinois Section of the MAA


We are pleased to announce that the 2015 Annual Meeting of the Illinois Section of the MAA will be held March 27 - 28, 2015 at Northern Illinois University in Dekalb, IL.


The conference includes the following events:







 More information is available at:




From the Section Chair


Tony Bedenikovic


Department of Mathematics

Bradley University




Dear Friends of the Illinois Section,

As you may know, the MAA turns 100 years old next year.  To celebrate this benchmark, the MAA has a number of special events planned, including an extended MathFest 2015, which will be held in Washington D.C.  Looking ahead to the MAA's centennial has given me the opportunity to look back at the history of our Illinois Section.  We have a notable history, to say the least.  Our Section was founded in 1917, just two years after the national organization was founded.  By my count, our Section is the tenth-oldest in the Association.  The first program meeting of the ISMAA was held in 1919, on the campus of the University of Illinois.  Since then, the ISMAA has held a program meeting every year except three, with two of those disruptions occurring during World War II.

What strike me most about the history of our Section are the variety of locations for our annual meetings and the great number of participants who made these meetings successful.  We have held meetings all over our state, from John Logan College (1980) and Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (1950, 1965) in the southern part of our state to Lake Forest College (1972) in the northern part.  Perhaps two of the more interesting locations for our meetings have been the local high school in Elgin, Illinois (1924) and the University of Illinois at Navy Pier (1953), which was affectionately referred to by students as the ``narrowest university in the world.'' 

To these many different places came many different mathematicians and mathematics educators seeking a community. It is interesting to see, for example, the participants list for the 1972 meeting at Lake Forest College, which included the names of Wolfgang Haken, Mary Ellen Rudin, Saunders MacLane, and Harley Flanders, not to mention many others who contributed to that meeting. These examples of many locations and people reflect our diversity, yet our persistent community.

I am happy to say that the program committee of the ISMAA is already making arrangements for the 2015 annual meeting, to be held on the campus of Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, March 27 - 28.  There is some symmetry at work here:  from Southern Illinois-Edwardsville for our previous meeting to Northern Illinois University for our next meeting.  Please find in this newsletter additional information about the 2015 meeting.  It would be great to see you in DeKalb in March.

One of the most effective ways to contribute to the history of the Section is to encourage your institution to become a sponsor of the ISMAA.  All levels of sponsorship include free registration for students at the annual meetings, with the higher levels providing perks for faculty as well.  The  rates are $50 for ordinary sponsorship, $100 for sustaining membership, and $200 for speaker sponsorship.    If your institution is not currently a sponsor and you would like additional information about sponsorship, please contact Pat Kiihne, Secretary-Treasurer of the Section, at pkiihne@mail.ic.edu.  This form of support is greatly appreciated.

To all of you reading this Fall 2014 newsletter, I welcome you to the ongoing history of the ISMAA.  I am proud to be part of an organization which continues to create a community centered about mathematics.


From the Section Governor


Sharon Robbert

ISMAA Governor

Interim Provost

Trinity Christian College




Herb Kasube attended this Board of Governors meeting as a substitute for Sharon Robbert. This is allowed under MAA Bylaws.


Sharon Robbert was elected to the MAA Audit Committee. The Budget for MathFest 2015 is higher than usual because it will celebrate the Centennial of MAA and be one day longer than the “usual” MathFest. Remember that MathFest 2015 will be held in Washington, DC.


The Committee on Short Courses was officially dissolved. The Short Course program has been discontinued due to budget constraints, so it is appropriate to dissolve the committee


Reporting from the International Mathematics Olympiad (IMO) the United States has won 5 gold medals and 1 silver, finishing second overall behind China.


It was suggested that Sections invite Congressmen and Congresswomen to their Section Meetings.


The Committee on the Undergraduate Program in Mathematics (CUPM) is planning on releasing a new set of recommendations in 2015. There was some discussion of these recommendations, but there was no significant objection to any of them. They will be a little more prescriptive than the 2004 Recommendations.


There was then a lengthy discussion on governance of the MAA.  Is the current Board of Governors structure the most efficient? There was the suggestion that there could instead be a much smaller governing “group”.  This did not seem to me to have a lot of support. Rationale for the change seemed to involve the expense of convening such a large group twice a year.  This was strictly “discussion”. No formal proposals were presented for a vote.


There were the “usual” reports from Councils and Committees. Bylaws changes were approved for five different Sections.


What should we be watching in the near future?



 Become an Institutional Sponsor

Institutional Sponsors:  ISMAA is grateful for its 2014 institutional sponsors: 

 The financial support from these institutions helped us to put on a great spring meeting in Edwardsville.

Now it’s time to start thinking about institutional sponsorship for 2015.  Please encourage your institution to join us.  Ordinary sponsorship ($50) includes unlimited free registration for undergraduates at the 2015 annual meeting; sustaining sponsorship ($100) includes three free faculty registrations in addition to the unlimited free student registration; and speaker sponsorship ($200) includes the three free faculty registrations, unlimited free student registration, and listing as an underwriter of a plenary speaker in the meeting program.  To become an institutional sponsor, download the form and send it with payment to:

Pat Kiihne

ISMAA Secretary/Treasurer

Illinois College

1101 West College Avenue

Jacksonville, IL  62650


Research Award Winners 2014


The winners of 2014 OUR Awards are as follows:


The 2014 winners are:

Congratulations to all award winners and participants!



The Illinois Section of the Mathematical Association of America invites submissions for the 2015 Outstanding Undergraduate Research (OUR) Awards. Up to three awards will be given for papers authored and presented by undergraduate students at the upcoming ISMAA meeting. Working in collaboration with a faculty advisor, undergraduate students who wish to apply for the OUR Awards should submit the following materials electronically (either as a PDF or MS Word document):

1. a brief, one-page cover letter stating the nature of the project and identifying the researchers involved;

2. a complete, original research paper;

3. a letter of support from the faculty advisor which also describes the student’s contribution to the work.

Submissions may be emailed to Tim Comar, Awards Committee Chair, at tcomar@ben.edu. Please include "OUR Awards" in the subject heading.

Papers need not have been submitted for publication in a professional journal at the time of consideration, but must be complete manuscripts, even if only a subset of the research will be presented at the meeting.


Applicants should make arrangements (see the ISMAA home page) to give a talk in the student session of the upcoming ISMAA meeting. Applicants will be evaluated both for quality of research and for quality of presentation.. The deadline for OUR Awards submissions is Friday, March 6, 2015.


Questions? Email tcomar@ben.edu



The Illinois Section of the Mathematical Association of America invites submissions for the 2015 Outstanding Graduate Research Exposition (OGRE) Awards. These awards are designed for graduating or near graduating graduate students in mathematics who have an interest in academic careers at undergraduate teaching-oriented institutions. Candidates for the award will submit a written statement by March 6, 2015 and present a talk at the 2015 ISMAA Meeting at Northern Illinois University in Dekalb, IL March 27-28, 2015 as described below.

The written statement should take the form and tone of research statement for a job application to an undergraduate teaching-oriented mathematics department.  The statement should include:

The written statement will be submitted as a PDF file by March 6, 2015 to Tim Comar, Awards Committee Chair, at tcomar@ben.edu. Please include "OGRE Awards" in the subject heading.

The talk should contain the content above and should be directed to an audience of non-experts in the particular area of mathematics and to undergraduate students.  Candidates must be registered for the ISMAA meeting as well.

Questions? Email tcomar@ben.edu


Looking for ISMAA Awardees


The ISMAA Awards Committee has extended the deadline for the section Distinguished Teaching and Distinguished Service awards to February 27, 2015. This is to enhance the likelihood of having section awardees this year. The section awardees will be presented at the ISMAA annual meeting, held at Northern Illinois University in Dekalb, IL March 27 – 28, 2015. We strongly encourage all members to take the time and nominate a colleague worthy of the awards.

The 2014 Distinguished Service Award was given to Gregory Galperin of Eastern Illinois University.

The 2014 Distinguished Teaching Award was given to Paul McCombs of Rock Valley College.

For the guidelines on eligibility and nomination please visit the MAA Teaching Award web page. Questions about the ISMAA awards should be addressed to the ISMAA Awards Committee Chair Tim Comar at (tcomar@ben.edu).

Illinois Section of the MAA

ISMAA Project NExT Program

Project NExT (New Experiences in Teaching) is a professional development program of the MAA, with major funding provided by the Exxon Education Foundation, and additional funding from several other sources. This program is designed to support new college faculty in their teaching, scholarly, and professional activities and and to help these new faculty members to get involved in the mathematical community beyond their own institutions.

The success of Project NExT on the national level has prompted a number of MAA sections to organize their own local versions of this program. The Fourteenth Annual ISMAA Project NExT Program will be held in conjunction with the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Illinois Section of the MAA will be held March 27 and March 28, 2015 at Northern Illinois University in Dekalb, IL.

Up to nine 2015 ISMAA Project NExT Fellows will be selected. Anyone within their first four years of teaching mathematics (after finishing a master's or doctoral degree) at any two or four-year college or university in Illinois is eligible, as well as any graduate students at universities in Illinois who are completing their PhD this year and have a position in Illinois for the 2015-2016 academic year. 2015 ISMAA Project NExT Fellows' meeting registration, pre-conference workshop registration, opening banquet fees, and Friday and Saturday lunches at the annual meeting will be paid for by the ISMAA Project NExT for the 2015 and 2016 ISMAA Annual Meetings.

Application materials for 2015 ISMAA Project NExT Fellows can be accessed via the links below. For further information, please contact the Director for the ISMAA Project NExT Program:

2015 ISMAA Project NExT Application (MS Word)

2015 ISMAA Project NExT Application (pdf)

Cindy Traub
Department of Mathematics
Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville



The registration deadline for the 2015 ISMAA Project NExT Fellows is February 28, 2015.


News from Around the Section

Bradley University


The Mathematics Department has hired two new faculty. Selma Yildirim Yolcu received her PhD at Georgia Institute of Technology in 2009. Prior to joining Bradley University, she taught at Case Western Reserve University, Purdue University and Georgia College and State University. Dr. Yildirim Yolcu's research interests lie primarily in the partial differential equations and stochastic processes, with a focus on problems at the interface of spectral theory and symmetric stable processes. She enjoys attending meetings and workshops related to women in mathematics.


Turkay Yolcu, an assistant professor of mathematics at Bradley, holds a PhD in mathematics from Georgia Institute of Technology. Prior to joining Bradley, Turkay worked at Georgia College, Purdue, and Case Western. Turkay is a problem solver who can combine ideas from different fields of mathematics to come up with original solutions. His work mostly focuses on analysis, PDE, mathematical physics, geometry and mathematical finance. 


North Central College


New hireKathleen Courtney (half time, elementary mathematics education)

Faculty AwardsKatherine Heller - Dissinger Award for Outstanding Teaching by a Junior Faculty member (college-wide recognition)

                              Richard Wilders - Dissinger Award for Outstanding Service by a Senior Faculty member (college-wide recognition)


Grants Received:  The North Central College mathematics department was awarded a second year of the Dolciani Mathematics Enrichment Grant in the amount of $5300 by the Mathematical Association of America to fund a second year of the E^2 (Expository Engagement): North Central Math Circle.  This math circle brings 25 mathematically talented and interested high school students to campus for 16 two-hour sessions, with each being led by a faculty member from a college or university.  The first hour is a talk on a nontraditional mathematics topic, such as the math of square dancing or graph coloring, with the second hour being group problem solving, mentored by NCC mathematics majors, on problems related to the talk.  Questions about the program can be directed to one of its co-directors, Dr. Katherine Heller (kheller@noctrl.edu) or Dr. Neil R. Nicholson (nrnicholson@noctrl.edu).