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Fall 2007 - Governor's Column

The MAA continues to improve its financial situation. The 2006 budget ended in the black by $11,000 obtained primarily, as usual, via conservative spending decisions by the staff. The 2007 budget appears to be in balance half way through the year, and the Board approved a 2008 operating budget of approximately $8 million. There has been over $40,000 raised in "brick" sales for the path to the Carriage House; President Joe Gallian noted that he wanted each section represented by its own $310 brick.

The only concern with financial matters is a 3% drop in membership (to about 20,500) over the past year. While this drop is not part of a trend, a corresponding drop in journal subscriptions, suggests that it may be related to the dues structures. As in any organization, the key retention problem is converting new members into long-term members (who usually have a very high retention.)

The publication arm of the MAA continues to do exceptionally well, although illegal copying of Mathematics for Business Decisions has kept sales below projections. Therefore this electronic text will be sold in a different format. Sales through Amazon and Cambridge University Press continue to grow, and there is a new publishing agreement with the Canadian Mathematics Society. The textbook portion of sales has grown enough that that line of books will be separated from the Classroom Resource Materials series. Don Albers is preparing to launch a new sub-series of books, the "MAA Guides" , written by experts who will provide an overview to a large variety of mathematical topics. Each guide will include key definitions, theorems, and references.

The MAA's web material continues to expand significantly. If you haven't been visiting their website, you need to do so; not only is there a new look, but there are over 3200 book reviews available. There are plans to add a content management system that would enable sections and SIGMAAs to have the national office host their websites, but would be easy to maintain from remote locations. Ivars Peterson is the primary person in charge of the website content and he would like to (a) post more articles about section level activities and (b) will be reworking the job posting section of the website.

Recall that in January of 2007, the Board accepted the reports from the Cycle 1 of the strategic planning process. These reports were on the AMC, Revenue generation, and Programs. At this meeting, the Board received an initial follow up report on the Revenue generation. The Board also heard interim reports from the Cycle 2 committees on Governance, Membership, and Student Members; after lunch break sessions were held to discuss issues in membership. Initial work on the Cycle 3 groups for Meetings, Sections, and STEM issues is being deferred until after January to ensure completion of the work of the first two cycles.

The Board approved a motion to post a statement at the Joint Mathematics Meetings and also at Mathfest stating the MAA disapproves of the use of personal sleeping rooms for interviews with job candidates. The Board tabled a motion about ethical standards for members because it was unclear what the standards were and to whom they would apply, and with what consequences. A motion directing the MAA to begin investigating "green investments" was withdrawn when it as realized that this was already happening.

Other exciting news:

Project NeXT has now accepted over 1,000 participants (in 14 years.) This year's 84 fellows include, for the first time, representatives from all 29 sections simultaneously. It was noted that Fellows are regularly finding their way into leadership roles in the MAA and other organizations, testifying to the strength of the program. It was also noted that there have been two more Fellowships endowed by donations.

The January 2007 JMM in New Orleans was the largest JMM ever. The Mathfest in San Jose , with over 1,400 participants was the largest Mathfest ever held also.

The United State took 5 th in the IMO held in Vietnam this past summer, and a new feature film about the IMO experience will be premiered at the JMM, 2008.

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! Martha Siegel also noted that anyone interested in serving on a committee should contact either her directly, or through me.

Submitted by Rick Gillman,
Governor of the Indiana Section of the MAA

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