Out Of Focus Logo

Contents for the Fall 2009 Issue


ISMAA Annual Meeting


The 2010 Annual Meeting of the Illinois Section of the MAA

We are pleased to announce that the Illinois Section of the Mathematical Association of America is planning the Eighty Ninth Annual Meeting, which will be held at Augustana College at Rock Island, IL,

April 9-10, 2010 (Friday and Saturday).


The conference includes the following events:






5.   A undergraduate student math contest (a good activity for your math club).


It would be helpful if you could send an e-mail as soon as possible to Prof. John Ye (ye@math.niu.edu) to state that you/your students (graduate or undergraduate)/your math club are interested in the

conference and will/might come. We may also be able to provide travel support for some undergraduate and graduate participants.


Please indicate if you would be interested in giving a 25-minute talk in one of the concurrent sessions, and/or your undergraduate, graduate participants need travel support.


The deadline for both your abstract submission and the travel grant request submission is on Friday, March 12, 2010.


A formal online registration and submission forms for your abstract and travel grant request will be available in the spring of 2010. You should plan to register formally online in the spring of 2010 even if

you send an e-mail now.


Please forward this pre-announcement to any colleagues/students who might be interested in attending the conference. Thanks!


We are look forward to hearing from you!

Zhuan (John) Ye, ye@math.niu.edu, 815-753-6763 (office)


For your information, here are four plenary speakers, their tentative schedules and titles.


Opening talk, 12:50pm-1:50pm, Friday, April 9, 2010.

Title: Stories from the Development of real analysis

Prof. David Bressoud, President of MAA, Macalester College


Banquet talk, around 8:00pm, Friday, April 9, 2010.

Title: Math is music--stats is literature

Prof. Richard D. De Veaux, Williams College

(He gave a short course in the AMS-MAA annual joint meeting in 2009)


Opening talk, 8:30-9:30am, Saturday, April 10, 2010.

Title: My Teaching philosophy and the development of the keystone method

Prof. Vali Siadat, Daley College

(He was an MAA's Haimo Award winner in 2009)


Closing talk, 12:05-1:05pm, Saturday, April 10, 2010.

Title: Rogue Waves, Tsunamis and Sand Bars

Prof. Jerry Lloyd Bona, University of Illinois at Chicago

(He was a plenary speaker in the AMS-MAA annual joint meeting in 2007)


Conference Workshop, 8:45am-11:45am, Friday, April 9, 2010.

Title: Data Mining and New Trends in Teaching Statistics

Prof. Richard D. De Veaux

Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Williams College


More information is available at http://ismaa.knox.edu/2010AnnualMeeting.htm.


From the Section Governor

Herbert E. Kasube

Bradley University



MathFest 2009 in Portland was a huge success.  The registration of 1517 was a record! The talks were diverse and very interesting. The weather and general atmosphere of the city added to the experience. On to Pittsburgh for MathFest 2010.

As for the meeting of the Board of Governors, ISMAA members will be glad to hear that the changes to our Section Bylaws were approved. I was able to answer the few questions even before the vote.

Project NExT reported that numbers continue to be high and funding prospects are good. ExxonMobil continues its support and generous bequests from Marcia Sward and  Richard Good currently fund five NExT Fellows. Project NExT continues to be one of the most important programs started by the MAA.

The Strategic Planning Working Group on Sections and The Strategic Planning Working Group on STEM Issues both presented their final reports.  The STEM report generated a lot of discussion, in particular issues of articulation and a “Freshman Experience” in mathematics. Working Groups on Meetings and on Periodicals/Communications gave preliminary reports.

Financially, MAA is currently in a very good position.  Investment returns are strong, or as strong as they can be expected with the current economy.

Perhaps the most interesting thing to come out of the Board of Governors is a new option in membership.  As of your next renewal there will be an e-membership option.  The all-electronic membership will become active on January 1, 2010. It includes online access to all three MAA journals (American Mathematical Monthly, College Mathematics Journal, and Mathematics Magazine) and to MAA FOCUS. All other membership benefits (books and meetings discounts, section membership, ability to add a JSTOR subscription and/or SIGMAA memberships…) will continue as before. Dues for e-memberships will be the same as those for a basic membership that includes only the American Mathematical Monthly, so that e-membership provides online access to all three journals for the price of one print journal.  There was lively and enthusiastic discussion of this exciting new option.

There is also a new plan for student memberships –


Membership Level







  • Books discount
  • MAA Math Alert e-newsletter
  • Electronic MAA FOCUS
  • Electronic Math Horizons
  • Electronic access to all three MAA journals

$ 30


(generally assumed to be paid by the student)



  • Books discount
  • MAA Math Alert e-newsletter
  • Electronic MAA FOCUS
  • Electronic Math Horizons
  • Electronic access to all three MAA journals

$ 30


(paid by the institution as part of a departmental membership)


(Notice that the term departmental membership has replaced institutional membership.)

MAA book publications continue to be quite strong.  More textbooks are becoming available all the time.  As an “editorial comment”, I would add that prices of MAA textbooks continue to be lower than “traditional” publishers.

MAA Study Tours continue with a full trip to Egypt in May of 2009 (see below) and a trip to Spain and Portugal planned for the summer of 2010.  A return to Greece is scheduled (tentatively) for 2011.



The Joint Mathematics Meetings in 2010 will be January 13-16, 2010 in San Francisco.  Notice that this represents a change in dates from those announced earlier. Registration is already underway.


From the Section Chair


Iraj Kalantari


Western Illinois University

Macomb IL 61455






 I write this message as the Chair of the Illinois Section of the Mathematical Association of American for the current year.


As I learn of the duties of the position and try to carry them on I appreciate the help provide by other members of the board, particularly Lanette Poteete-Young, who now serves as Past Chair to help maintain continuity.


The Board of Directors held its fall meeting last September at the downtown campus of De Paul University and more information about that meeting will be coming to you in the form of the minutes of the meeting.


One of the main topics of discussion was the upcoming 2010 Spring meeting that will be held at the Augustana College on April 9-10, 2010.  More information on that will also be available to you, but here I ask you to consider putting it on your calendars.  The list of speakers is rich and we hope to have a large gathering. 


Below, please be reminded of items for your consideration and possible action:


• Encourage your department to become an Institutional Sponsor of the ISMAA.   


• Nominate a deserving colleague for an ISMAA Distinguished Award (teaching or service).    


• Promote attendance and participation of your undergraduate and graduate students at the spring meeting.


• Consider presenting a talk at the spring meeting.


• Encourage your new colleagues to become members of MAA (and thus of ISMAA).


• Consider becoming a member of the Board of Directors of ISMAA.


• Consider volunteering your institution to host a meeting of ISMAA sometime.


If you have any other questions about the ISMAA please feel free to contact me.


Become an Institutional Sponsor

ISMAA has changed the 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 approximately $20 (on-site would be approximately $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 by e-mail for the procedure prior to registering for the Annual Meeting. A copy of the form is also available online. Sponsorship forms should be mailed to:

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

Looking for ISMAA Awardees

The ISMAA Awards Committee has extended the deadline for the section Distinguished Teaching and Distinguished Service awards to March 12, 2010. This is to enhance the likelihood of having section awardees this year. The section awardees will be presented at the ISMAA annual meeting, April 9 – 10, Augustana College at Rock Island, IL. 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:



Questions about the ISMAA awards should be addressed to the ISMAA Awards Committee Chair Olcay Akman (oakman@ilstu.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 Tenth Annual ISMAA Project NExT Program will be held in conjunction with the ISMAA annual meeting at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois, April 9, 2010- April 10, 2010. Up to nine 2010 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 2010-2011 academic year. 2010 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 2010 and 2011 ISMAA Annual Meetings.

The 2010 Program will begin on the morning of Friday, April 9, 2010 with Dr. Richard D. DeVeaux, Professor of Mathematics and Statistics at Williams College, presenting the conference workshop, Data Mining and New Trends in Teaching Statistics.  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 Fellows and national NExT Fellows. The ISMAA Project NExT program will conclude on the afternoon of Saturday, April 10, 2010, 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.

Application materials for 2010 ISMAA Project NExT Fellows can be accessed via the links below. For further information, please contact the Director for the ISMAA Project NExT Program:

2010 ISMAA Project NExT Application (MS Word)
2010 ISMAA Project NExT Application (pdf)

Timothy D. Comar
Department of Mathematics
Benedictine University
5700 College RD
Lisle, Illinois 60532
PHONE: (630) 829-6555
FAX: (630) 829-6551

The registration deadline for the 2009 ISMAA Project NExT Fellows is March 8, 2010.

ISMAA Home Page


News From Around the Section


Illinois Institute of Technology

This year at the department of Applied Mathematics at IIT saw the hiring of Guohui Song, Ph.D., as a Visiting Assistant Professor. He recently completed his PhD from Syracuse University, and specializes in statistical learning, kernel-based methods, and approximation theory.  Greg Fasshauer was promoted to full Professor, and F.R. “Buck” McMorris was voted Professor Emeritus upon his retirement.  Associate Professor Michael Pelsmajer won the College of Science and Letters Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in November 2008. Two students, Christos Mitillos and Young-Ju Jo won the ISMAA Outstanding Undergraduate Research Contest in April.  Eugene Lamie won third place in the IIT Undergraduate Research Day poster competition, an annual university-wide poster competition.  

At this past April’s Karl Menger Lecture and Awards, Professor Rick Durrett of Cornell University gave a talk on improbability and statistics, and fourth-year undergraduate Kevin Ventullo won the outstanding student award.  Donald Saari of UC-Irvine will be the 2010 Karl Menger Invited Lecturer.



North Central College


Richard Wilders is now the chair of the college's Science Division. Matthew Pons just completed his year as a national Project NExT fellow.


Olivet Nazarene University


Dr. Justin Brown, Ph.D. from Northeastern University joined the Mathematics Department in Fall 2009.


The Mathematics Department has added a B.S. in Actuarial Science recently (first approved late fall 2007) as well as a chapter of Pi Mu Epsilon (fall 2008)


Timothy Christian College

        Dr. Mandi Maxwell was promoted to Associate Professor of Mathematics, effective this fall. 

        Dr. Sharon Robbert has initiated a new study group  for students in Calculus targeted to improve performance of students who are predicted to have marginal to poor performance in the course.  The group of 5-6 students in this Calculus Scholars Group commit to meet weekly with a student mentor where they work collaboratively to solve problems at a slightly higher level of difficulty than what is normally required for a Calculus assignment.  The group is modeled after one described by Dr. Robert Megginson (University of Michigan) in a February 2009 lecture at Trinity and shows promise for improved success of participating students.

Western Illinois University


Western Illinois University’s Department of Mathematics has hired six new faculty to begin teaching this fall semester. They are:


Other News   


ICTM Post-Secondary Mathematics Teaching Award

There are MANY excellent teachers in ISMAA who qualify for this award.  The key is to nominate them!  The individuals must be ICTM members.  If their membership has lapsed, they can register now at ICTM.org and still qualify.

Please consider nominating a fellow college/university teacher (or yourself) for this ICTM award. Self-nomination is allowed. Frequently, the pool of nominees is very small or non existent.

Information can be found below, and at: http://ictm.org/ictmawards/college.html

Guidelines for Nomination

The nominee should:

Be an effective teacher of undergraduate mathematics at a two-year college, four-year college, or university.

  1. Demonstrate a sound knowledge of mathematics.
  2. Continue to study mathematics and/or mathematics education on a regular basis.
  3. Participate actively in professional mathematics organizations.
  4. Show leadership and influence on others at the local and state levels.
  5. Be an ICTM member.
  6. Meet all nomination requirements.

Applications due by March 30 of the application year to:

Linda E. North
1436 East Grand
Carbondale, IL 62902


The 22nd International Conference on Technology in College Mathematics (ICTCM)

The 22nd International Conference on Technology in College Mathematics (ICTCM) will be held in Chicago at the Sheraton Hotel on March 11-14, 2010.  Waubonsee Communtiy College is hosting this event with Amy Del Medico and Tom Pulver serving as co-chairs for the conference.  You can learn more about the conference by visiting ICTCM.org.

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