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Contents for the Fall 2008 Issue


ISMAA Annual Meeting


The 2009 Annual Meeting of the Illinois Section of the MAA

Don’t miss the ISMAA annual meeting April 3-4 at Bradley University in Peoria.  Plenary speakers include Gail Burrill, past President of NCTM, from Michigan State University; Sunil Chebolu from Illinois State University; Ivars Peterson, Director of Publications for Journals and Communications at the MAA; and Laura Taalman from James Madison University. 

Are you interested in speaking at a concurrent session?  E-mail Pat Kiihne, Program Committee Chair, (pkiihne@ic.edu) with a title and abstract by March 1.

Watch this space for updates on the meeting.

ISMAA- OUR Awards Announcement



The Illinois Section of the Mathematical Association of America (ISMAA) invites submissions for the 2009 Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Research in Mathematics.

The awards will be given to the best three research papers authored and presented by undergraduate students in any field of mathematics.  For this award student participants are encouraged to produce complete research projects including, but not limited to focusing on interesting mathematical problems, the process of writing manuscripts, creating professional presentations and speaking at professional meetings. Faculty mentors will encourage their students to work on problems with more research emphasis. In addition to helping outstanding students fund their travels to ISMAA Meetings, we believe this award will help introduce selected students gain experience in conducting, writing, presenting and funding research projects.

Working in collaboration with a faculty advisor, undergraduate students who wish to apply for one of these awards should submit the following materials electronically (either as a PDF or MS Word document) to the Awards Committee.

Please include "OUR-Award-Submission" in the subject heading. Papers need not have been submitted for publication in a professional journal at the time of consideration for this award but they have to be complete scientific manuscripts.

This year the  awards for the top three ranked winners will be $250, $150 and $100.  For OUR Award application as well as regular abstract submission deadlines please go to ISMAA 2009 Annual Meeting website.

Questions? Email oakman@ilstu.edu .


From the Section Governor

Herbert E. Kasube

Bradley University



Herb & slower friend


As the picture above shows, I participated in the MAA Study Tour to Peru with a side trip to the Galapagos Islands.  The tours continue to attract mathematicians from around the country.  In May of 2009 we travel to Egypt.  Details will be available on the MAA website after October 1st.

The MAA Board of Governors met at Mathfest in Madison.  Frank Ferris has been appointed [interim] editor of Mathematics Magazine. The MAA is beginning a search for a secretary.  After twelve years in the position, Martha Siegel is stepping down.  Details are available at http://www.maa.org/news/082608sec.html .

Attendance at Mathfest was discussed. Numbers continue to climb.

John Kenelly, MAA treasurer reported to the Board.  MAA’s financial position continues to be strong. Net assets in 2007 were $14,092,870. The auditors “gave us an unqualified opinion that the financial statements of the MAA are free of material misstatement.”

 The working groups for strategic planning continue to report. The Working Group on Governance presented its recommendations as already approved by the Board of Governors.  The committee and council structure of the MAA has been appropriately modified. Much has been clarified.  I am currently serving on the Council on the Profession. There are some Bylaws changes in the works.

The Working Group on Membership also presented its report. Membership numbers have been declining slightly. While dues have increased, there is no feeling that this is major reason for this decline. Attracting and retaining members will both continue to be priorities. Expanding international membership should be pursued.

The Working Group on Meetings gave an interim report.  Betty Mayfield thanked those sections (including Illinois) which distributed surveys at their spring meetings.

The strategic planning group on STEM issues also presented its report.  More to come from this group.

Book sales continue to be strong including sales on Amazon. More textbooks are currently in production – Calculus Reconstructed, Invitation to Complex Analysis, Mathematical Interest Theory.

So far 258 bricks have been sold for the Halmos Commemorative Walk at the Carriage House. The Carriage House continues to host many MAA and non-MAA events.

The Board of Governors also voted on numerous prizes and awards, including the 2009 Haimo Teaching Awards and various publication and meritorious service awards.  These will be officially announced at the Joint Mathematics Meetings.

Executive Director Tina Straley suffered an unfortunate accident this summer.  She broke her wrist in a fall at her home. During Mathfest in Madison someone asked if they could sign her cast.  Always thinking of the MAA, Tina wrote “$1000 Donor” and “$500 Donor” on her cast.  At last count Tina’s “Cast of Thousands” had raised over $3400 for MAA.

The Joint Mathematics Meeting 2009 will be held in Washington, DC January 5-9. Members are invited to visit MAA Headquarters and see the Halmos Walk and Carriage House. There will also be a special luncheon honoring Jim Tattersall, retiring Associate Secretary of the MAA on January 8th.

From the Section Chair

Lanette Poteete-Young


Judson University




Dear Membership of ISMAA


I am completing my second (and final) year as Chair.  This spring the Board will bring to the membership some additional bylaw changes.  For the past year we have been working through our bylaws to update the language and make sure they are current in reflecting how our section operates.  At this time we have two substantive changes that we plan to bring to the membership at our spring meeting.  We plan to remove the Committee on Secondary School Lectures from the bylaws.  This committee has not been functioning well in the last several years and all of our attempts to revitalize it have failed.  There doesn’t appear to be much interest or demand for it.  Another change involves formalizing the position of Auditor.  We have been using one for several years and so decided to mention that position in the bylaws.  The rest of the changes are editorial in nature to reflect the language the MAA is requesting we use to refer to them.  After the Board meets again in January, we will post both the old bylaws and the new bylaws for your perusal.  Please take a few moments to look them over to be prepared to vote at our spring meeting.


Speaking of the Spring Meeting, the Program Committee is working hard to plan an outstanding spring meeting for all of us on April 3 and 4, 2009 at Bradley University.  Please plan to attend and bring your students and colleagues!  This year we are promoting undergraduate research by offering OUR (Outstanding Undergraduate Research) Awards at the spring meeting.  If you have a student who has done (or is doing) original undergraduate research, please make sure they apply for this award.  We are also continuing to subsidize travel expenses for undergraduates to attend the spring meeting.  Please watch the website for more information on how to apply for these funds.

I want to offer congratulations to Vali Sadat from our section who will be receiving one of the 2009 Haimo Awards from the MAA for excellence in teaching!  Once again this year we will be accepting nominations from the membership for both outstanding teaching as well as outstanding service.  Please send your nominations to the chair of the Awards Committee, Olcay Akman, oakman@ilstu.edu .

Planning ahead, we have been invited to Augustana College for our 2010 Spring Meeting, April 9-10, 2010.  Please keep these dates in mind. 

As always if you have any questions or suggestions, I would be happy to hear from you.  Your Board members will also be willing to answer any questions you might have.  I look forward to seeing you at the Spring Meeting April 3-4, 2009.

Become an Institutional Sponsor

ISMAA offers three levels of Institutional Sponsorship. Free student registration at the annual meeting comes with each level. The base level, Ordinary Sponsorship ($50), allows unlimited student registration at the annual meeting. The higher levels, Supporting Sponsorship ($90) and Speaker Sponsorship ($150), have all of the benefits of Ordinary Sponsorship *PLUS* two free faculty registrations. Those who choose Speaker Sponsorship will be listed as an underwriter of a plenary speaker at the ISMAA meeting. Regular registration at the meeting is $20 (on-site would be $25), so those schools who would normally choose Ordinary Sponsorship may wish to consider the Supporting level. However, to make life easier on our secretary-treasurer (and faculty who wish to avail themselves of the "free" registration) please contact Jon Johnson <mailto:jonj@elmhurst.edu> by e-mail for the procedure prior to registering for the Annual Meeting. A copy of the form is available online <http://ismaa.knox.edu/out-of-focus/winter-2007/inst-member-2007.pdf>.

Looking for ISMAA Awardees

The ISMAA Awards Committee has extended the deadline for the section Distinguished Teaching and Distinguished Service awards to March 15, 2008. This is to enhance the likelihood of having section awardees this year. The section awardees will be presented at the ISMAA annual meeting, April 3 – 4, at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. We strongly encourage all members to take the time and nominate a colleague worthy of the awards. For the guidelines on eligibility and nomination please visit the MAA Teaching Award web page. The completed nomination packets should be sent to:

Dr. Jon Johnson
ISMAA Secretary/Treasurer
Mathematics Department
Elmhurst College
Elmhurst, IL 60126


Questions about the ISMAA awards should be addressed to the ISMAA Awards Committee Chair Olcay Akman

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 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 Tenth Annual ISMAA Project NExT Program will be held in conjunction with the ISMAA annual meeting at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, April 3, 2009- April 4, 2009. Up to nine 2009 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 2009-2010 academic year. 2008 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 2009 and 2010 ISMAA Annual Meetings.

The 2009 Program will begin on the morning of Friday, April 3, 2009 with Dr. Ivars Peterson, Director of Publications for Journals and Communication at the Mathematical Association of America, presenting the conference workshop on Communicating Mathmeatics.  The workshop is followed by an opening lunch at which new ISMAA NExT fellows will have an opportunity to get to know one another as well as other sectional and national NExT Fellows. The ISMAA Project NExT program will conclude on the afternoon of Saturday, April 4, 2009, following the closing address of the ISMAA meeting. After a brief box lunch, the group will reconvene for a session devoted to professional development opportunities in the ISMAA and the MAA. This year we will match new ISMAA NExT Fellows with a Mentor at the meeting. It is expected that each Mentor-Fellow pair will continue to communicate about professional development issues throughout the following academic year.

In 2008, there were five new ISMAA Sectional Projecct NExT Fellows.  They are Edward Boamah of Blackburn College, Sung Eun Kim of Judson University, Itai Seggev of Knox College, Michael C. Sostarecz of Monmouth College, and Paula Stickles of Millikin University.  The 2008 ISMAA Project NExT Workshop featured Dr. Thomas Hull, who introduced participants to the mathematics of origami.

Application materials for 2009 ISMAA Project NExT Fellows can be accessed via the ISMAA website. The registration deadline for the 2009 ISMAA Project NExT Fellows is March 2, 2009.  For further information, please contact the Director for the ISMAA Project NExT Program, Timothy D. Comar at tcomar@ben.edu:

Timothy D. Comar
Department of Mathematics
Benedictine University

News From Around the Section

Benedictine University

Timothy D. Comar, Associate Professor of Mathematics at Benedictine University is the the PI on the NSF CCLI grant "Biocalculus: Textbook Development, Dialog, and Assessment." This grant a joint venture between Benedictine University and College of DuPage.  A major part of this project is the development of a new textbook for biocalculus (calculus for life and health sciences majors) courses.  A preliminary version of the textbook will be available for use and class testing in the fall of 2009. Please contact Tim Comar at tcomar@ben.edu for further details.

Chicago State University


Paul Musial received tenure. Richard Solekiewicz returned to the department after a year-long sabbatical at NASA.

Illinois Institute of Technology

Department of Applied Mathematics


This fall, Shuwang Li, formerly of UC-Irvine, joined our department as assistant professor.  He specializes in mathematics modeling and computation of biological and materials phenomena.  Maurice J. Frank, retired from the department this past spring.  There were two promotions: Tomasz Bielecki to full professor, and Michael Pelsmajer to associate professor with tenure. 

Several faculty members were honored this past year.  Associate Professor Greg Fasshauer received the College of Science and Letters Dean’s Excellence Award in Teaching, and Chair and Professor Fred J. Hickernell was awarded the Dean’s Excellence Award in Research for Senior Faculty.  Additionally, Senior Lecturer David Maslanka received the Bauer Family Award for Undergraduate Teaching, the university’s highest undergraduate teaching award.  Assistant Professor Hemanshu Kaul was named an associate editor of the European Journal of Applied Mathematics, while Tomasz Bielecki was appointed to the Mathematical Finance area editorial board of the same journal.

Last fiscal year six faculty members had external research funding, and to date in this fiscal year five faculty members have been awarded funding.  These funding sources are a mixture of industry and government, including NSF. 

This year, the department introduced concentrations for Applied Mathematics undergraduate students, allowing them to specialize in one of six areas reflecting the expertise of the department’s faculty and professional opportunities.  These areas are: applied analysis, computational math, discrete applied math, stochastics, mathematical finance, and mathematics education. 

North Central College

We hired a new half-time instructor, Jaclyn Murawska, who is teaching several of our elementary education math courses this year.  Jaclyn is currently working on her Ed.D at NIU.

Assistant Professors Dr. Andrea Frazier and Dr. Matthew Pons are (national) Project NExT fellows.

Dr. Linda Gao was promoted to full professor; Linda also received a grant from the Center for Undergraduate Research in Mathematics (at BYU) for 2007 - 2008.  She mentored four students in mathematical modeling research which they presented at NCUR last April.

Associate Professor Mary McMahon had her article (co-authored with Ellen Hines) "Lesson Study with Preservice Teachers" published in the journal Mathematics Teacher.

1993 NCC graduate Dr. Satyan Devadoss, Associate Professor of Mathematics at Williams College, 2007 winner of the MAA's Henry L. Adler award, was presented with North Central's 2008 Alumni Recognition Award.

Olivet Nazarene College

Olivet Nazarene University has been granted a chapter of Pi Mu Epsilon, the National Mathematics Honor Society. The Olivet Chapter is the 331st chapter of Pi Mu Epsilon and will be known as the Illinois Mu Chapter. The installation ceremony will take place on October 3, 2008.


Also, in the Fall of 2008, Olivet added a new major in Actuarial Science. It is an interdisciplinary major that prepares students for the first two actuarial exams.

Principia College

Our math department just had a new hire, our first permanent hire in 15 years.  Our colleague, Dr. David Gibbs, who has been teaching here for over 40 years is in his last year as a full time professor of math.  In fact, having a PhD in theoretical physics enabled him to teach some physics courses as well this year.  We will definitely miss him.  Our new hire is Dr. Andrew Parker who received his MA and PhD from the University of New Hampshire, taught briefly at SUNY campus at Friedberg, and then worked for the past 8 years at a Bureau in Washington, D.C.  We are glad he is here.

Our college is looking seriously into beginning a new General Education program coordinated with our very demanding and successful First-year Experience and six-phase Writing Program.  It will emphasize learning skills with Integrated Learning courses committed to analytical reading, writing, quantitative reasoning, information literacy, public speaking, and argumentation.  The math department will have a strong hand in all of this, we hope.  We are also looking at a possible change from the 74-year old quarter system to a semester system.  Thus, we are trying to map out our majors, minor, and course offerings to go to the semester plan.  Any guidance in this respect would be appreciated.

Rockford College

Mehmet Dik has been promoted to associate professor in May 2008.

Trinity University

David Hansen is a new Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Trinity International University.  He is finishing up his PhD at Northwestern University.

Other News Items


Joint Mathematical Meetings 2009


The dates for the Joint Mathematics Meetings for 2009 in Washington, DC have been changed to Jan 5-8 (from Jan 7-10), with a corresponding shift of all pre- and post-meeting events. Thus the Executive Committee will meet on Jan. 3 and the Board of Governors will meet on Jan. 6.


"Out Of Focus" is published twice per year, in February and October. Submissions and suggestions for articles should be sent to Dan Hrozencik at dhro@att.net