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Contents for the Fall 2015 Issue


ISMAA  2016 Annual Meeting


The 2016 Annual Meeting of the Illinois Section of the MAA


We are pleased to announce that the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Illinois Section of the MAA will be held April 8 and April 9, 2016 at Illinois College in Jacksonville, IL.

The conference includes the following events:







 More information is available at: http://sections.maa.org/illinois/2016AnnualMeeting.htm


From the Section Chair


Timothy D. Comar


Professor of Mathematics

Benedictine University



Dear ISMAA Community,

I would take this opportunity to tell you about the great things going with the ISMAA.  The Programming Committee is in the process of putting together an engaging program for the entire ISMAA community with some excellent speakers and sessions. If you haven’t been to an ISMAA Annual Meeting in awhile or ever, I strongly suggest that you come to our meeting at Illinois College in Jacksonville, IL, April 8-9, 2016.  This meeting has lots to offer faculty, both in terms of research and education, graduate students, and undergraduate students. I would like to tell you about a few of the exciting things to find at this year’s meeting.  Our plenary speakers will be the MAA Polya Lecturer, William Dunham of Muhlenberg College; the Secretary of the MAA, Barbara Faires of Westminster College; John McCarthy of Washington University in St. Louis, and Richard Laugesen of the University of Illinois. As many of undergraduates will be entering the workforce upon graduation, we plan on having a panel session with representatives from business and industry to talk about their careers and how to get started in similar careers.  This session would be great for both students and faculty who advise students. At the 2015 meeting, we had a successful roundtable discussion on the undergraduate complex analysis curriculum. In 2016, we plan on to have a similar roundtable discussion on the history of mathematics.

We will continue to have the undergraduate student problem solving competition and an opportunity for undergraduate students to present research or expository work from a class project.  I do want to encourage undergraduate research students to present their work at the meeting and, if far enough along in their work, submit their work for the Outstanding Undergraduate Research (OUR) Awards.  Additionally, I want to encourage graduate students to consider competing for the Outstanding Graduate Research Exposition (OGRE)) Awards. The OGRE awards are designed for graduating or near graduating graduate students in mathematics who have an interest in academic careers at undergraduate teaching-oriented institutions. Please see other places in this newsletter and on the ISMAA website for details about both of these competitions.  I would like to encourage you to present talks on your research or your latest educational innovations.  Better yet, I would like to encourage you to organize sessions on a research topic or a current topic related to mathematics education.  This way, you could encourage colleagues from inside or even outside the section to share expertise and network with fellow ISMAA members.  In fact, my most valued collaborators are active ISMAA members. I would also like to encourage newer faculty to apply to participate in the ISMAA Section Project NExT Program at the Annual Meeting.  This is a great way for newer faculty to network with other members of the ISMAA and get advice about navigating their careers. Another great aspect of the Annual Meeting is the MAA book sale.  Many MAA books are available at a discount, and a portion of the funds from the purchases benefit the ISMAA.  So buy MAA books at the ISMAA Annual Meeting!

I would like to once again congratulate Daniel Hrozencik of Chicago State University as the 2015 Distinguished Service Award Winner.  Dr. Hrozencik has served on the ISMAA Board for many years in several roles, including the Section Information Coordinator and now also the Chair of the Finance Committee.  I would also like to congratulate Olcay Akman of Illinois State University as the 2015 Distinguished Teaching Award Winner.  Dr. Akman is a dedicated and innovative instructor, and has greatly contributed to statistics and biomathematics education at Illinois State University for both undergraduate and graduate students. Please consider nominating your colleagues for these prestigious awards by sending your nominations to Olcay Akman at oakman@ilstu.edu. The 2015 Winners of the OUR Awards are Kelsey Zimmermann (First Place), Rachel Majerczyk (Second Place), and Maryam Moeed (Third Place), all of Benedictine University.  I look forward to seeing strong competition for the OUR and OGRE awards in 2016.

I would also like to encourage you to have your institution 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.

The ISMAA is committed to engaging all of its constituents, ranging from faculty at high schools, community colleges, colleges, and research institutions, undergraduate students, and graduate students.  If you would like to become more involved with the ISMAA or have ideas for the ISMAA to better serve your particular constituency, please contact me at tcomar@ben.edu.  I would be very happy to speak with you.

I wish you a good remainder of the term and look forward to seeing you at the ISMAA Annual Meeting in April!


Timothy D. Comar




From the Section Governor


Sharon Robbert

ISMAA Governor

Interim Provost

Trinity Christian College




Happy 100th Birthday, MAA! 


At the summer 2015 Mathfest in Washington, D.C., the largest group of MAA members and friends gathered to celebrate the Centennial Anniversary of the Association.  In addition to the usual and expected collection of excellent lectures, workshops, and presentations at Mathfest, conference events included musical, carnival, drama, and other celebratory events.  Conference photos are available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/maaorg/sets/72157651008051206/page1.


On the day prior to the start of the festivities, I met with other governors at the semi-annual board meeting.  At this meeting, governors learned about and voted on ongoing activities of the MAA and affiliated sections.  I am pleased to report that the MAA is making significant progress on reducing annual budgetary deficits through a combination of efforts to increase revenue and decrease expenditures. 

The Association is still very concerned about declining numbers of members and is taking actions to reverse the trend.  MAA President Francis Su has defined this issue as one of critical importance for his tenure as president.  One tactic to increase members is to identify and implement resources that are a significant member-only benefit, resources that will be viewed favorably by a larger fraction of the math community.  An example of a benefit already implemented is the member e-library accessible from the MAA home page when you log into your account.  One book currently in my e-library is The Beauty of Fractals: Six Different Views—check your account for this and other titles! In addition, President Su is gathering social-media experts to develop ideas and build other innovative digital resources for members.  If you happen to be interested in participating in this venture or have other ideas to build Association memberships, please contact me at Sharon.Robbert@trnty.edu

Finally, the Board of Governors continued dialogue about the governance structure of the MAA.  In January 2016, members of the Executive Committee will bring two models for governance for selection by the Board of Governors. After the new model is selected, the Executive Committee will work on a transition and implementation plan. 

Other tidbits: 

Respectfully submitted, Sharon K. Robbert


Become an Institutional Sponsor

Institutional Sponsors:  ISMAA is grateful for its 2015 institutional sponsors: 

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

Now it’s time to start thinking about institutional sponsorship for 2016.  Please encourage your institution to join us.  Ordinary sponsorship ($50) includes unlimited free registration for undergraduates at the 2016 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 this form ( Word or pdf) and send it with payment to:

Pat Kiihne

ISMAA Secretary/Treasurer

Illinois College

1101 West College Avenue

Jacksonville, IL  62650


Outstanding Undergraduate

Research Award Winners 2015


The winners of 2015 OUR Awards are as follows:



 Congratulations to all award winners and participants!




The Illinois Section of the Mathematical Association of America invites submissions for the 2016 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 Olcay Akman, Awards Committee Chair, at oakman@ilstu.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 1, 2016.

Questions? Email



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 11, 2016 and present a talk at the 2016 ISMAA Meeting at Illinois College, Jacksonville, IL April 8-9, 2016 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 Olcay Akman, Awards Committee Chair, at oakman@ilstu.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 oakman@ilstu.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, 2016. This is to enhance the likelihood of having section awardees this year. The section awardees will be presented at the ISMAA annual meeting,  held April 8 and April 9, 2016 at Illinois College in Jacksonville, IL.. We strongly encourage all members to take the time and nominate a colleague worthy of the awards.

The 2015 Distinguished Service Award was given to Dan Hrozencik of Chicago State University.

The 2015 Distinguished Teaching Award was given to Olcay Akman of Illinois State University.

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 Olcay Akman  at oakman@ilstu.edu

Illinois Section of the MAA

ISMAA Project NExT Program

Project NExT (New Experiences in Teaching) is a professional development program for new or recent Ph.D.s in the mathematical sciences. It addresses all aspects of an academic career: improving the teaching and learning of mathematics, engaging in research and scholarship, finding exciting and interesting service opportunities, and participating in professional activities. It also provides the participants with a network of peers and mentors as they assume these responsibilities. Since 1994 there have been over 1500 Fellows, who have appeared in all capacities in the academic mathematical profession.


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 Fifteenth Annual ISMAA Project NExT Program will be held in conjunction with the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Illinois Section of the MAA will be held April 8th and 9th, 2016 at Illinois College in Jacksonville, IL.


Up to nine 2016 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 2016-2017 academic year. 2016 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 2016 and 2017 ISMAA Annual Meetings.


Application materials for 2016 ISMAA Project NExT Fellows can be accessed via the links below. For further information, please contact the Director for the ISMAA Project NExT Program:


Ellen Ziliak
Department of Mathematics
Benedictine University



ProjectNExT Application.doc

ProjectNExT Application.pdf


The registration deadline for the 2016 ISMAA Project NExT Fellows is April 2, 2016.


Changes Coming for the Joint Articulation Guide


Forty-five years ago, Illinois became one of the first states in the country to have a document, created and maintained solely by mathematics faculty in the state, outlining the content, course objectives, credit hours, and pre-requisites for most undergraduate math courses.  Fifteen years later (1994), this document, known as the Illinois Mathematics and Computer Science Articulation Guide, served as the primary guide in the formation by the Illinois Articulation Initiative (IAI) of courses descriptions in general education mathematics and mathematics majors course.  To this day, the IAI continues to rely on this document to guide its decisions regarding course transferability in Illinois.

The articulation guide is maintained jointly by the Illinois Mathematics Association of Community Colleges (IMACC) and ISMAA.  The guide is regularly updated and has recently undergone its first major “face-lift” since the document’s creation.  This new guide streamlines and updates the structure and has some minor revisions on a few courses.  At the 2015 ISMAA Business Meeting, the new guide was presented for review by the general membership.  At the 2016 ISMAA Annual Meeting, this document will be presented for formal approval.  The Curriculum Committee of IMACC and the Two-Year College Committee of ISMAA are hopeful that the membership will approve the Articulation Guide in its new form.  If not approved, the documents will need to go through a review process that will take several years to complete (though we are working to improve the process for approval to allow for a more adaptable document in future years).  This document was the work of over two dozen task force members from ISMAA and IMACC—we hope you will support the work of your colleagues.

Related to the above, a proposal to streamline the application of the geometry requirement in the articulation guide was also presented at this year’s Business Meeting.  The proposal would strengthen and support the importance of a solid geometry background for students pursuing STEM-related degrees (or math education) while streamlining prerequisites for some general education math courses.  This proposal will also be voted on at the 2016 Business Meeting, and, if approved, will be effective immediately thereafter.  The proposal has the support of the IMACC Curriculum Committee (where it originated), the Developmental Education Advisory Council, ICCB, and IBHE.  Again, it is hoped you will consider supporting the work of your colleagues who crafted this document.

Both documents are available for review at http://sections.maa.org/illinois/ArticulationGuide.htm. Should you have any questions about either item or see anything that needs attention, please contact Keven Hansen, Chair of the Two-Year College Committee, at keven.hansen@swic.edu.  Plans are already underway for the next review cycle of the articulation guide!