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Contents for the Spring 2017 Issue

The 2017 Annual Meeting of the Illinois Section of the MAA

The Ninety Sixth Annual Meeting of the Illinois Section of the Mathematical Association of America will be held March 31 and April 1, 2017, on the campus of the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. This conference marks the 100th anniversary of our section, as well as the 50th anniversary for our host institution—definitely not one to miss!

Please click here to complete early registration for the meeting. Early registration is available through March 17, 2017. If you wish to give a talk, please submit an abstract here by March 10, 2017.

This year’s conference will include:

Additional information is available at: http://sections.maa.org/illinois/2017AnnualMeeting.html

From the Section Chair

Timothy D. Comar
Benedictine University

Dear ISMAA Community,

I would like to take this opportunity to tell you about the great things going on 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 College of DuPage, Glen Ellyn, IL, March 31 - April 1, 2017. This meeting has lots to offer faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students, both in terms of research and education.

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 Susanna Epp (DePaul University), Bob Cappetta (University of Illinois at Chicago), Doug Shaw (University of Northern Iowa), and Laura DeMarco (Northwestern University). On Friday morning before the conference begins, Michael Sullivan (Joliet Junior College), will conduct a workshop on using applets and other technology in teaching introductory statistics. This year we would like to highlight two sessions at our meeting: “Mathematics in Business, Industry, and Government,” and “Helping Transitional/Developmental Students Succeed." We are always interested in your input for future topics for sessions, 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, to 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 2017 Annual Meeting page on the ISMAA website for details about both of these competitions.

I also 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 benefits the ISMAA. So, please 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 Heather Dye at heatheranndye@gmail.com.

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.

I would like to bring your attention to the new app MATHFEED, now available for Apple products in the iStore and soon to be available for Android phones in the Google Play Store. The app aggregates current mathematics news and, for MAA members, can directly link to one’s MAA journal subscriptions to read on phones and tablets. This app was developed by Francis Su, who is the immediate past-president of the MAA.

The ISMAA is committed to engaging all of its constituents, ranging from faculty at high schools, community colleges, colleges, and research institutions to 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 at the end of March!

Timothy D. Comar

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From the Section Governor

Jon Johnson
ISMAA Past Governor
Elmhurst College

Dear Friends of the ISMAA,

I attended the Board of Governors on January 3, 2017 at the Joint Mathematical Meetings in Atlanta. I am pleased to relay some of the highlights to you.


At the 2017 Joint Meetings in Atlanta, after some long discussions in the Business Meeting, the MAA members present voted to change the Articles of Incorporation and the Bylaws. The Articles of Incorporation of the MAA are now in compliance with the State of Illinois laws. The Bylaws changed the governance of the MAA in important ways. As mentioned before, the new structure includes a Board of Directors and a Congress, with the Board having primary oversight responsibility for the activities of the MAA and the Congress (consisting of Section Representatives and other Representatives) setting long-term strategic goals, advising the Board of Directors, and acting as a conduit for communication among constituencies of the MAA.


The MAA continues to make changes to increase income with cost cutting and revenue generation. Long term trends indicate that we can no longer rely on journals and books as a primary revenue source. Jim Daniels, the MAA treasurer, is optimistic even though the budget passed for 2018 with a large deficit. Fund raising has been successful with some NSF funding of programs and a successful Second Century Campaign, which has exceeded its goal of $7.5 million.


In 2015 there were 23,316 members, including regular, student and departmental members. Departmental memberships account for the vast majority of student memberships and are viewed as a way to attract students to mathematics and the MAA. The good news on the membership front is that there is no increase in dues for 2018. As mentioned at the Governor’s meeting, any membership changes “are to strengthen our appeal to our core membership while reaching new audiences.”

Close to 6,000 attended JMM in Atlanta. Hopes are that the JMM attendance will continue to be in that range. Attendance at MathFest continues to be good. It has grown by 50% over the last decade. This summer it may grow again, especially since MATHFEST IS IN CHICAGO – BRING FACULTY AND STUDENTS!


1) There is a new mathematics app for Apple products: MATHFEED. It is a very nice mathematics news aggregator. It is free at the App Store. An Android version should be available soon at Google Play. MATHFEED was developed by Francis Su, the (now) past-President of the MAA.

2) MAA has a newly designed homepage. It appears to be more “friendly” and the interesting thing is that it was done using metrics (e.g., what people visited most, etc.).

3) The MAA will be hosting the International Mathematical Olympiad in 2021.

4) The MAA hopes to increase the number of new Project NExT members to 130 to 140 per year in the near future. Many very well qualified candidates have been turned down because of limited slots.

Jon Johnson
ISMAA Governor
Elmhurst College

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Looking for ISMAA Awardees--- Support Your Colleagues!

The deadline for nominations for the ISMAA’s Distinguished Teaching and Distinguished Service Awards has been extended to March 10, 2017. We strongly encourage you to nominate your colleagues for these awards. The winner of ISMAA’s Distinguished Teaching award will be the ISMAA’s section nominee for the national Haimo Award.

To make a nomination for one of these awards, please submit a 1-page pdf letter of recommendation detailing the nominee’s qualifications. Submit the nomination to the ISMAA Awards Committee Chair, Heather A. Dye, via email at heatheranndye@gmail.com with “ISMAA Distinguished Teaching Award” or “ISMAA Distinguished Service Award” in the subject header.

For the guidelines on eligibility and nominations please visit the MAA Teaching Award web page.

Undergraduate and Graduate Student Awards: OUR and OGRE Awards

OUR AWARDS --- Support Undergraduate Research!

The ISMAA invites submissions for the 2017 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 Heather A. Dye, Awards Committee Chair, at heatheranndye@gmail.com. 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 meeting home page) to give a talk in the student session of the 2017 ISMAA Meeting on March 31-April 1, 2017 at the College of Dupage in Glen Ellyn, IL. Applicants will be evaluated both for quality of research and for quality of presentation. The deadline for OUR Awards submissions has been extended to March 10, 2017.

OGRE AWARDS – Support future college educators!

The ISMAA invites submissions for the 2017 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 10, 2017 and present a talk at the 2017 ISMAA Meeting on March 31-April 1, 2017 at the College of Dupage in Glen Ellyn, IL 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 should be submitted as a PDF file by March 10, 2017 to Heather A. Dye, Awards Committee Chair, at heatheranndye@gmail.com. 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. Applicants should make arrangements (see the ISMAA meeting home page) to make arrangements for giving a talk.

Questions? Email heatheranndye@gmail.com.

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ISMAA Project NExT Program

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 Twentieth Annual ISMAA Project NExT Program will be held in conjunction with the ISMAA annual meeting at College of Dupage March 31-April 1. 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 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 (March 31, 2017), 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 1, 2017, preceding the closing address of the ISMAA meeting. The topic for the Saturday morning round table discussion 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. The application deadline for the 2017 ISMAA Project NExT Fellows is Friday March 10, 2017. 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

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