MAA Iowa Section Newsletter
Fall 2011

This is the web edition of the Iowa Section Newsletter. To receive a printed copy of the newsletter or to make suggestions/comments, please contact the editor, Amanda Matson,


Section Governor's Report

Major issues occupying the Board of Governors this year (January in New Orleans, LA and July in Lexington, KY:

Financial status of the MAA. This is best explained by saying that we are financially sound, we are not in financial trouble, but we have some cash flow problems, in that our present income lags behind the expenditures. Briefly, the MAA has assets of over 13 million dollars, with even more in the real estate on 18th Street in Washington is included. But in 2010, for example, the MAA suffered a $410,407 net loss in income. The loss is projected to be just $79,026 in 2011, and the 2012 budget has been constructed to show $25,531 (positive) net income. This has been handled by reducing some staff positions at the MAA, cutting support for travel (for example, the Board of Governors is no longer provided lunch or refreshments at its meetings) and other economies.

Paid membership in the MAA has increased from a low of 16,657 in 2008 to 17, 123 in 2010. Attention is being paid in particular to retention of members. Recruitment of new members is costly, but new strategies to do this more effectively and efficiently are being developed.

There have been a number of changes in personnel in the past year or so. Of course, David Bressoud has concluded his term as President, with Paul Zorn stepping into that position. John Kenelly has retired as Treasurer, to be succeeded by Jim Daniel. In January, Michael Pearson will replace Tina Straley as Executive Director. Christina Knowles is the Associate Director of Development, replacing Lisa Kolbe.

Attendance at the Joint Meeting in New Orleans set another record, with just under 6000 mathematicians in attendance. Undergraduate student attendance at these meetings continues to increase significantly, growing from 281 in 2001 to 759 in 2011. Graduate student attendance has increased in the same period from 429 to 873, while nonstudent mathematicians has remained substantially flat. This has a financial impact, of course, as student registration fees do not cover the full incremental cost of their attendance. Attendance at MathFests show similar trends in student attendance, but nonstudent mathematicians' participation has also increased. Total attendance at MathFest in 2000 was 870, while the 2010 MathFest in Pittsburg drew 1548 mathematicians. It is expected that attendance at the 2011 MathFest in Lexington was similar to the 2010 total, though undergraduate participation may have dropped a bit.

The various Strategic Planning Working Groups continue their work, with Periodicals and Communications drawing to a close. SUGMAAs and Book Publications continue.

Over 100,000 students participated in each of the American Mathematics Competition contests by taking exams AMC10 or AMC 12, respectively, with over 4000 schools returning results. At the IMO, the United States team finished second. Individuals received 6 gold medals and were within 5 points of first-place China.

I'll be happy to answer questions about this report or other national activities of the MAA at the Iowa Sectional Meeting or by email at
With respect,
Joel Haack

Section Chair's Report

Update on the "Missouri River Sections Meeting"

Al Hibbard, Bernie Baker, Scott Searcy and TJ Hitchman attended the ad-hoc committee meeting on the possibility of organizing a new "Missouri River Section." The outcome is that the Missouri section has invited the Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska-SE South Dakota sections to join them for a joint meeting in Marysville, Missouri during the Spring of 2013. Al Hibbard and TJ Hitchman have agreed to be on the organizing committee if the section agrees to such an arrangement.

Changes to the MAA section book sale program

The Association is hoping to avoid legal troubles with sales tax, so the current Section Meeting Book Sale Program is changing. We are no longer allowed to sell physical books at our section meetings! All purchases at our section meetings will be now be orders sent in to the national office. Shipping is still free, the meeting discount still holds, and the section still gets a cut of the "sales made at the meeting."

MAA Branding and Positioning Efforts

The Association is working on consolidating its "brand" and visual styles. The main web page has undergone some design changes, both structural and visual. Check out the changes, they would welcome feedback.

There is a push from the Association to move our Section web page to be hosted on their server, but they recognize that we will switch when we are ready.

Section History

In connection with the upcoming anniversary of the association, each section has been encouraged to write a history. If you have any interesting documents, photos or stories relating to the history of the Iowa section of the MAA please share them. Joel Haack at UNI has taken responsibility for the Iowa section effort.

Section Treasurer's Report

One can view the report from the treasurer that was submitted to the MAA and will be presented at our next upcoming meeting in October.

Iowa Section NExT Announcement

Iowa-NExT, our section's program for new teachers of mathematics is going strong! We will have a good crop of fellows for this fall and will be having our traditional Iowa-NExT activities will take place on Friday, October 21 starting at 9:30 a.m. on the Central College campus. The schedule will soon be posted on the Iowa-NExT informational page at this section site. If you know of pre-tenure faculty members or graduate students in their last two years of their doctorate, encourage them to apply by using the application there.

The Iowa NExT Steering Committee is Russ Goodman (Central), Theron Hitchman (UNI), Neil Martinsen-Burrell (Wartburg), and Jon White (Coe).

2011 Iowa Collegiate Mathematics Competition

The 2011 Iowa Collegiate Math competition, was held at ISU this Spring. A total of 31 teams participated, and we had a tie for the high score. This year's winners are: "The Eigenvalues" from Iowa State University & "WHO" from the University of Iowa. The traveling trophy will be presented to UI and ISU at the business meeting of the Iowa MAA section meeting this month. At that meeting we will also discuss the date for the 2012 competition which will be held at the University of Iowa. Dates under consideration are Feb.18, Feb.25, March 24, or March 31. If the competition date has coincided with your Spring break for the last 2 years let me know, so we can try to avoid another conflict in 2012. Ruth Berger ( Iowa Collegiate Math Competition coordinator.

Dates of Importance

October 21-22, 2011 - Annual Meeting of the Iowa Section, Central College, Pella.

January 4-7, 2012 - Joint Mathematics Meetings in Boston.

August 2-4, 2012 - MathFest 2011, Madison, WI.

If you have additions, corrections, or comments on anything on this page, please pass this information to the newsletter editor. Last modified: 10/19/2011