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Contents for the Winter 2007 Issue
ISMAA Annual Meeting
Carl Cowen
MAA President Carl Cowen Mesmerizes the Audience at ISMAA 2006


The 2007 meeting of the ISMAA will be held March 30-31 at Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois. Scheduled plenary speakers are:

There will also be a workshop on Bringing Life (Sciences) to Calculus Courses, Friday 9:30 - 12:00 and Saturday 2:00 - 3:00, given by Tim Comar of Benedictine University. This year's ISMAA meeting will also be held in conjunction with the 56th Annual WCCTM Mathematics Conference on March 30 at WIU.

Preregistration (required for the workshop and the banquet) must be completed by March 16. For more details on registration and the program, see the program web page.

Call for Papers

Individuals are invited to propose a 25-minute presentation on a topic dealing with mathematics or the teaching and learning of mathematics. Proposals (title and brief abstract) should be made to Program Chair Peter Andrews of Eastern Illinois University and should be received by March 16. Please specify if you have a preference for a Saturday morning or Friday afternoon session.

For Student Participants

Student program highlights include:

Any undergraduate student or group of students may propose a 15-minute presentation on a topic dealing with mathematics or the teaching and learning of mathematics. The paper may represent a class project, a senior thesis or a research project. Proposals (title and brief abstract) should be made to Program Chair Peter Andrews of Eastern Illinois University and should be received by March 23. Please specify if you have a preference for a Saturday morning or Friday afternoon session. Identify your proposal as an undergraduate submission in your e-mail.

Student Funding Opportunities

Graduate Student Grants. The ISMAA will continue its Graduate Student Grant Program begun last year. These grants give graduate students the opportunity to come to the annual meeting of the ISMAA at a greatly reduced cost by awarding them a $50 travel stipend to use for housing or travel expenses. They may also use the student housing available at the conference (typically with undergraduate students at the host college). In addition, the ISMAA will waive the registration fee and cover banquet expenses for qualified graduate students. Graduate students wishing to apply for the ISMAA Graduate Student Grant should submit a brief statement including their name, contact information, and how they would benefit from the grant to Program Chair Peter Andrews by March 9. (Early applicants will receive more favorable consideration.) Graduate students are also welcome to present the results of their research in contributed paper sessions!

Undergraduate Travel Stipends. This year up to 50 undergraduates who register for and attend the conference will be awarded $50 NSF/RUMC-funded stipends. Preference will be given to students who present a paper, participate in the Student Mathematics Contest, or are attending the ISMAA annual meeting for the first time. Students wishing to apply for the ISMAA Undergraduate Student Grant should submit a brief statement including their name, contact information, an indication of whether or not they will be presenting a paper or competing in the mathematics contest, and the number of previous ISMAA meetings they have attended. Requests should be made via e-mail to Program Chair Peter Andrews by March 9.

More detailed information on the meeting may be found on the program web page. Please contact Program Chair Peter Andrews with additional questions.

Peter Andrews
Mathematics Department
Eastern Illinois University
Charleston, Illinois 61920
(217) 581-6275

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 Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois, March 30, 2007- March 31, 2007. Up to nine 2007 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 2007-2008 academic year. 2007 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 2007 and 2008 ISMAA Annual Meetings.

The 2007 Program will begin on the morning of Friday, March 30, 2007 with Tim Comar leading the first part of the conference workshop, Bringing Life (Sciences) to Calculus Courses, 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, March 31, 2007, following the closing address of the ISMAA meeting. After a brief box lunch, the group will reconvene for the second part of the conference workshop. 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 2007 ISMAA Project NExT Fellows can be accessed via the links below.

The registration deadline for the 2007 ISMAA Project NExT Fellows is March 5, 2007. For further information, please contact the Director for the ISMAA Project NExT Program:

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

From the Section Governor

Rich Wilders

by Rich Wilders, ISMAA Governor

I am now completing my term as governor having attended my final meeting of the Board of Governors as part of the Joint Meetings in January. My time as a Board Member was informative if not always exciting. As with most organizations, the governing board spends most of its time approving items proposed by its executive council. I can report four important initiatives during my tenure;

There are four Project ACCCESS Fellows in the Illinois Section. We are pleased to welcome our new colleagues.

Leonard Blackburn, Parkland College, Champaign
Andy Geary, William Rainey Harper College, Palatine
Wendy O'Hanlon, Illinois Central College, East Peroria
Michele Thoele, Prairie State College, Chicago Heights

Rich Wilders
ISMAA Governor

From the Section Chair

Andrew Leahy

by Andrew Leahy, ISMAA Chair

Are there loopholes in the high school teacher certification process?

The ISBE high school teacher certification process has recently been a subject of discussion at ISMAA Board meetings. In essence, there are two standard methods for an Illinois-certified teacher to receive an endorsement to teach mathematics at the high school level: (1) complete a mathematics major of at least 32 credit hours through an ISBE-approved certification program or (2) complete 24 credit hours of mathematics courses and pass the Content-Area Test in Mathematics through the Illinois Certification Testing System.

This second method for obtaining a mathematics teaching endorsement has caused some concern among Board members. On its face, it seems like a rigorous alternative to completing a full mathematics major. The difference between the 24 credit hours for this endorsement track and the 32 credit hours (minimum) cited for a mathematics major is only a few courses. Add to this 24-credit requirement the additional testing requirement, and it looks like a reasonable alternative. However, there's a not-so-subtle difference between the two: The 32 credits for method (1) are required to be part of a major in mathematics. There is no such constraint on method (2). Indeed, there appears to be no constraints at all for the mathematics courses that could be counted toward these 24 credit hours.

To understand the implications of this, spend some time looking at the mathematics course offerings of a local community college: Fundamentals of Arithmetic, Fundamentals of Arithmetic 2, Fundamentals of Algebra, Fundamentals of Algebra 2, Geometry and Trigonometry Review, Geometry, Intermediate Algebra, General Education Mathematics, General Education Statistics, College Algebra. There are more than 30 credits worth of mathematics courses in this list alone. These courses need to be taught, but how many of them should count toward the certification of students who may soon be standing in front of a classroom teaching mathematics courses at nearly the same level? There's a world of difference in the expectations for abstract reasoning and overall mathematical maturity between these courses and the courses a mathematics major will see before graduating, but as stated the ISBE requirement doesn't seem to recognize this.

Needless to say, there are many questions here that ISMAA members are likely to be interested in. Does the content-area exam do enough to detect potential shortcomings like this? Would it make sense to advocate something like a minor in mathematics instead of 24 credits chosen at large? If you have thoughts or opinions, we'd like to hear from you.

Become an Institutional Sponsor of ISMAA. It's worth the money!

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 $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 by e-mail for the procedure prior to registering for the Annual Meeting. An institutional membership form was mailed to department chairs earlier this year. A copy of the form is also available online.

Looking for ISMAA Awardees

The ISMAA Awards Committee has extended the deadline for the section Distinguished Teaching and Distinguished Service awards to March 15, 2007. This is to enhance the likelihood of having section awardees this year. The section awardees will be presented at the ISMAA annual meeting, March 30-31, at Western Illinois University in Macomb, 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 Vali Siadat.

Andrew Leahy

P.S. Don't forget to cast your vote in the 2007 election for the Illinois Section Governor!

News From Around the Section

Rembering Karl Menger at the Illinois Institute of Technology

On Monday, April 9, the Department of Applied Mathematics at IIT will host a half-day event to honor Prof. Karl Menger, an outstanding mathematician of the twentieth century, and a former faculty member at IIT. Prof. Karl Sigmund of the University of Vienna will deliver the Inaugural Karl Menger Memorial Lecture on "Menger, Games, and Morals" at 4:30 pm. The lecture will be preceded by a reception and followed by a ceremony awarding the IIT Karl Menger Student Award for exceptional scholarship. All are invited to attend. Details of this event will appear on our department's website www.math.iit.edu. For questions, please contact Patty Cronin, 312-567-3132.

News from North Central College

The mathematics department is pleased to welcome Dr. Andrea Frazier. Andrea completed her Ph.D. at the University of Iowa. She will be giving a presentation at the annual meeting of the ISMAA. The department is also proud of math, computer science and physics major Robert Krzyzanowksi who was this year's Lincoln Laureate winner from North Central College. The Lincoln Laureate program honors one outstanding student from each four-year college in Illinois. Robert is also a member of our forensics team.

News from Rockford College

Department chair Mehmet Dik reports: Dr. Gerald Caton has retired from the Rockford College Mathematics department after 27 years of service to the college and community. The mathematics department has hired Dr. Filiz Dik as tenure-track assistant professor of Mathematics as a replacement for Dr. Caton. Dr. F. Dik served as an assistant professor of Mathematics at Edgewood College, Madison, WI from August 2004 to May 2006. Currently, they have a record number of math majors in their department.

George Hart to Speak at Monmouth College

The Monmouth College mathematics department will be hosting mathematician and sculptor George Hart for a full day of talks on Saturday, February 24. Topics will include an introduction to Zome projects, a lecture on Dr. Hart's geometric sculptures, and a session devoted to the creation of a truncated icosahedron with CD's and cable ties. Contact Monmouth department chair Lyle Welch for more details.

Jonathan Farley to Speak at Elmhurst College

The Elmhurst College mathematics department will be hosting Dr. Jonathan Farley for a presentation entitled "Of Numbers and Flowers: The Truth about Truth" on Wednesday, February 28, 2007, at 7:00PM in the Founders Lounge of Frick Center. Admission is free and the public is welcome.

David Rutschman Joins the Dark Side

Northeastern Illinois University Mathematics Professor and MAA member David Rutschman was recently appointed Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Northeastern Illinois University.

Benedictine University and College of DuPage Announce Grant

Timothy Comar will be the principal investigator on a three-year $200,000 NSF-CCLI grant looking at biocalculus at Benedictine University and the College of DuPage. The project will focus on the development of a new textbook and laboratory manuals for a year-long calculus sequence which emphasizes biologically-oriented mathematical models. In addition, the grant will fund a seminar series for undergraduates in the mathematical and biological sciences. For more details, see this press release.

In Memoriam: Steve Galovich

Steven Galovich, Professor of Mathematics and former Provost and Dean of the Faculty at Lake Forest College, passed away on December 14, 2006, at age 61. Professor Galovich received his undergraduate degrees from UC-Davis and his Ph.D. from Brown University under the direction of Michael Rosen. Prior to coming to Lake Forest, he had been on the faculty at Carleton College for 20 years. He was a member of the MAA for 31 years and won the Allendoerfer Award in 1988. More information is available at the Lake Forest web site.

"Out Of Focus" is published twice per year, in February and October. Submissions and suggestions for articles should be sent to aleahy@knox.edu.

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