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Contents for the Spring 2016 Issue


ISMAA Annual Meeting


The 2016 Annual Meeting of the Illinois Section of the MAA


Don’t miss the ISMAA annual meeting at Illinois College in Jacksonville, IL on April 8 and April 9, 2016.

This year’s plenary speakers include: William Dunham (George Pόlya Lecturer, MAA), Richard Laugesen (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), Matt Boelkins (MAA, Grand Valley State University) and John McCarthy (Washington University in St. Louis)

For more details and registration information see: http://sections.maa.org/illinois/2016AnnualMeeting.htm

ISMAA Student Travel Awards


Travel funds are available to support student attendance at the ISMAA meeting. Up to $50 per student is available for Illinois institutions to use in support of student travel, with a max of $200 per institution. Limited funds are available.

We ask that institutions which already provide full support not request these funds. Travel funds are not available to the hosting institution or to institutions within 50 miles of the meeting site. Travel awards are available for all students (secondary, undergraduate, or graduate); however, preference will be given to students presenting at the meeting.

The travel form is available as a Word document or as a PDF document. Please send completed forms electronically to Pat Kiihne (pkiihne@mail.ic.edu) by March 25, 2016.


Joint Articulation Guide


The Illinois Mathematics and Computer Science Articulation Guide is maintained jointly by the Illinois Mathematics Association of Community Colleges (IMACC) and ISMAA.  It serves as a guide to the Illinois Articulation Initiative (IAI) for courses descriptions in general education mathematics and mathematics majors courses. Revisions to the guide were presented at the 2015 ISMAA Business Meeting. 

At the 2016 ISMAA Annual Meeting, these revisions will be voted on 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. 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.

In addition, a proposal to streamline the geometry requirement in the guide was presented separately.  The proposal would strengthen and support the importance of a solid geometry background for students pursuing STEM and Education degrees 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.  This 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!


From the Section Governor


Sharon K. Robbert

Trinity Christian College


On January 5, 2016, I attended my third (and final) Board of Governors meeting in Seattle, Washington. At this meeting,   MAA President Francis Su reiterated that his attention will focus on three themes:  understanding the needs and interests of members, harnessing the digital revolution to support MAA members, and addressing underrepresentation of minority groups within the organization. It is significant to note that for the first time in 11 years, the number of core MAA members increased.  At the same time that memberships have increased, overall operating budget deficits remain.  The MAA has implemented several initiatives to modify the financial status; it is too early to ascertain the success of these strategies.  Strategies include implementation of new membership structures, prioritizing new/lapsed member acquisition, hiring a modern-marketing person for the organization, and bringing the American Mathematical Competition (AMC) under direct MAA control.   The Board approved several motions (listed below). The most significant motion approved is a new governance structure (in concept) for the MAA.  This new structure is expected to meet priorities identified in August 2014: strategic planning, checks and balances, and communication and representation. The new structure will retain geographic representation among an assembly of approximately the same size as the current board of governors, but restrict fiduciary responsibility to a smaller board of directors. To conclude the process, the MAA charged a task force (chair Rick Gillman, Indiana section) to draft bylaw changes and a timeline for implementation by the August Board meeting. Finally, the MAA Nominating committee seeks candidates for several positions.  Contact Bob Devaney with nominees for governor-at-large for minority interests, governor-at-large for high school teachers, chair of council on members/communities, chair of programs/services, president, and vice president. Please consider nominating persons from the Illinois section for one or more of these roles.  

It has been an honor to serve on behalf of the Illinois section for the last two years.  Please remember to vote in the election for the new Illinois section governor.    


List of Motions approved by the Board of Governors


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, Matt Boelkins of Grand Valley State University, John McCarthy of Washington University in St. Louis, and Richard Laugesen of the University of Illinois. This year’s workshop on Friday morning will be given by Jim Olsen of Western Illinois University and is titled, “The Beauty of Three-Dimensional Polyhedra.” We will two panel sessions this year.  One panel session will have 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. We will also have panel session and discussion on the history of mathematics. We are interested in your input for future topics for panel sessions and discussions.

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 the appropriate links on the 2016 Annual Meeting page 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 made benefit the ISMAA.  So buy MAA books at the ISMAA Annual Meeting!

I would like to encourage you to submit nominations for the Distinguished Service Award Winner and for the Distinguished Teaching Award Winner.  Please consider nominating your colleagues for these prestigious awards by sending your nominations to Olcay Akman at oakman@ilstu.edu.

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 Annual ISMAA Meeting in April!

Become an Institutional Sponsor

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 free student registration; and speaker sponsorship includes the three free faculty registrations, free student registration, and listing as an underwriter of a plenary speaker in the meeting program.  To become an institutional sponsor, download the 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 (OUR) Awards 2016

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):


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 18, 2016.

Questions? Email oakman@ilstu.edu

Outstanding Graduate Research Exposition (OGRE) Awards 2016

The Illinois Section of the Mathematical Association of America invites submissions for the 2016 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 18, 2016 and present a talk at the 2016 ISMAA Meeting at Illinois College on April 8-9, 2016 as described below.





The written statement will be submitted as a PDF file by March 18, 2016 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 is now accepting nominations for the Distinguished Teaching and Distinguished Service awards. The deadline for the nominations for either award is March 18, 2016.

The section awardees will be presented at the ISMAA annual meeting, held at Illinois College on April 6-8, 2016.  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. Questions about the ISMAA awards should be addressed to the ISMAA Awards Committee Chair Olcay Akman at (oakman@ilstu.edu) .

ISMAA Project NExT Program - 2016

Project NExT (New Experiences in Teaching) is a professional development program of the MAA. 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 Nineteenth Annual ISMAA Project NExT Program will be held in conjunction with the ISMAA annual meeting at Illinois College, April 8-9, 2016. Up to nine 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 upcoming academic year. Newly selected 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 for the current and next year’s ISMAA Annual Meetings. 


The Fellows’ Program will begin on Friday morning (April 8, 2016), with the pre-conference workshop.  The workshop is followed by an opening lunch during 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 morning of Saturday, April 9, 2016, preceding the closing address of the ISMAA meeting.  The topic for the Saturday morning session will be determined by interest of the Fellows.   At the meeting, we will match new ISMAA NExT Fellows with a Mentor. It is expected that each Mentor-Fellow pair will continue to communicate about professional development issues throughout the following academic year. 


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


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


Ellen Ziliak
Department of Mathematical and Computational Sciences, Benedictine University
Lisle, IL 60532
Phone: 630-829-6594


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