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Fall 2006 - Governor's Column

The MAA continues to improve its financial situation. The new audit firm reported only very minor problems in our fiscal practices. They reported that the MAA was "in a good overall financial position with good liquidity." The 2005 budget closed out in the black by $109,000 obtained primarily via conservative spending decisions by the staff. The 2006 budget appears to be in balance half way through the year, and the Board approved a 2007 operating budget of approximately $7.5 million.

As it has been over the past several years, the publication side of the MAA is doing exceptionally well. Ten new books have been published this year, and there are 17 more in the pipeline. The Classroom Resource Materials series leads the way in sales, and sales through Amazon are growing significantly. The MAA's web material continues to expand significantly - if you haven't been visiting their website, you need to do so. Among other changes, current issues of the journals are available online in a members only section.

There are significant staff changes at the MAA headquarters. Searches are currently underway for three positions: Associate Secretary, Director of Journals & Communications, and Associate Director for Student Activities. Jim Tattersall's term as associate secretary has been extended for one year to present a transition year for his replacement. The latter two positions are new positions create in response to current directions and initiatives of the MAA. The MAA also assumed direct employment of the 10 AMC staff people working at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln . Previously, the MAA had been reimbursing the University for employing these individuals.

The Carriage House facility is finally nearing completion. The first meetings are scheduled for late September, with the first clients being the NSF. The MAA has the facility booked through October and November. It is hoped that when the MAA isn't using the facility it can be used as a revenue producing conference center. There will be a grand opening ceremony on April 19-21, 2007.

On other celebratory notes, the MAA will be celebrating the 300 th anniversary of Euler's birthday in 2007 by preparing a poster, developing a website, publishing a collection of four books on Euler and organizing its study tour around Euler, visiting St. Petersburg , Basel , and Berlin .

The Board also approved sending a congratulatory note to the Mathematical Association of Victoria ( Australia ) as it celebrates its centennial this year.

This last item provides a nice transition to a new issue that the MAA beginning to deal with: how to work on the international level. The MAA is uniquely the organization whose attention is focused on undergraduate mathematics education. This implies leadership responsibilities, or at minimum, collaboration at the international level. This past year, the MAA was a sponsor of the International Conference on Teaching Mathematics in Istanbul that Carl Cowen attended. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this matter.

This discussion of directions that the MAA might take leads me to mention the strategic planning process. The initial strategic planning groups, on the AMC, revenue, and professional development, will providing their reports to the board at the January 2007 meeting. Simultaneously, the working groups on governance, student involvement, and membership have begun their work. At this meeting, the Board broke into small discussion groups to provide initial feedback to the governance group.

The Board also approved a bylaws change that provides a mechanism for removing officers and other appointees. This change completes the process begun with the implementation of the Whistle blowers policy last year. Basically, the Board can remove officers with a ¾ vote. It will be voted upon by the members at the January business meeting.

There was also a discussion of the definition of "quorum" and the apparent fact that most if not all section bylaws miss use this term. A quorum needs to be a number or percent that can be calculated; a quorum cannot consist simply of "those present at a meeting." This matter was referred to the committee on sections for further investigation.

Finally, all of the editors of the journals pointed out their continuing need for referees. Please feel free to contact the editors to volunteer your services!

Rick Gillman
Governor Indiana Section of the MAA

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