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 section information director, Al Hibbard,


Governor's Report

The officers, members of the Board of Governors and staff of the MAA continue to focus their efforts on providing the kinds of quality services that the members of the association deserve. Much has happened over the past few months: Nineteen new books were published in 2007. MAA Online was redesigned and with new and expanded content. MAA Classifieds was launched ( Programming in the Carriage House Conference Center has expanded. Sponsorship was provided for two four-member teams of high school girls to attend the 2007 China High School Girls Math Olympiad. The Euler Tour was a huge success and plans are underway for future study tours to Peru (2008) and Egypt (2009). More than 1700 attended Mathfest 2007 and the 2008 JMM in San Diego attracted a record number of attendees.

I am pleased to report that there will be no dues increase for 2009. Planning continues for an anticipated restructuring of Institutional and Student memberships.

Strategic planning is continuing. In January the Board of Governors focused on issues of membership. The next round of strategic planning will emphasize STEM issues, publications, meetings, and Sections. Those attending the Iowa Section meeting in April will be asked to share feedback to the Strategic Planning Working Group on Sections. Since much of the work of the MAA is carried out by the Sections, this part of the strategic plan could have a real impact on the future of the organization.

MAA President Joe Gallian has challenged each section to purchase at least one brick for the commemorative brick path in the courtyard at MAA headquarters. A number of sections have already done so. Let's add the Iowa Section to that list. Individuals can also "purchase" bricks. More information on the commemorative brick program can be found at

I have been asked to suggest names of individuals from the Iowa Section who are interested in serving on national MAA committees. Please let me know if you would like me to forward your name for consideration.

MathFest will be held in Madison, Wisconsin, July 31 - August 2. It will probably never be closer. I encourage all of you to attend and perhaps bring a few students.

Remember that as Section Governor I am your representative. Contact me with any questions or concerns that you have.

Respectfully submitted,
Cal Van Niewaal
Governor, Iowa Section, 2007-2010

Chair's Report

Dear Iowa Section Members,

At this year's Section Meeting you will be asked to participate in an information gathering exercise. The MAA Committee on Strategic Planning for Sections has sent us the materials for their "Dot Activity." On registering, you will be given a strip of dots, blue for faculty, orange for students. Nearby will be four large sheets of paper, each with a different set of options related to Sections and Section activity. You are asked to affix your dots near the items that you think most important (all on one item, or spread among several items...your choice.) With the data collected from our Section and other Sections, the strategic planning committee hopes to obtain guidance in strengthening the MAA Section structure.

I anticipate another very enjoyable Section meeting, with many interesting talks on a wide variety of subjects, and a chance to see old friends again. I look forward to seeing all of you April 25 and 26 at Simpson College.

Respectfully submitted,
Elgin Johnston

Treasurer's Report

The report is available as a separate page.

Respectfully submitted,
Karen Shuman

Nominating Committee Report

The 2008 MAA-Iowa Nominating Committee, consisting of Cal Van Niewall (Chair - Coe College), Steve Willson (ISU), and Marc Chamberland (Grinnell), has submitted the following nominations.  Elections will be held at the business meeting at Simpson College on Saturday, April 25, 2008.

Vice-Chair Elect:

Theron J. Hitchman University of Northern Iowa
Scott Searcy Waldorf College

Theron J. Hitchman is Assistant Professor of Mathematics at the University of Northern Iowa. He received a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 2003, was a VIGRE Lovett Instructor at Rice University and a Visiting Assistant Professor at Williams College before moving to Iowa. TJ's research blends elements of differential geometry, Lie theory and dynamical systems, focusing on how the internal structure of lattices in Lie groups restricts their realizations as symmetry groups of smooth manifolds. He is a Project NExT fellow (Sun dot), and has the privilege of teaching lots of geometry courses at UNI.

Scott Searcy is an Associate Professor of Mathematics at Waldorf College, a faculty he has served since 2000. Dr. Searcy's primary research interest focuses on improving digital audio reproduction and storage. He is also involved in some smaller projects that can be addressed within a small college setting. Dr. Searcy received his B.S. and M.S. from New Mexico Highlands University, and his D.A. in Mathematics from Idaho State University. He has served as the President of IMATYC and as a member of the IMATYC board. Dr. Searcy is a member of MAA, AMATYC and IMATYC.


Bernadette Baker Drake University
Cathy Gorini Maharishi University of Management

Bernadette Baker, Associate Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science and Associate Chair of the department, has taught at Drake University since 1979. Her main research interest is studying how college students learn mathematics (mainly calculus I) using the lens of APOS theory for analysis. Bernie teaches Calculus 1, College Algebra, and Mathematics for Elementary Education majors. She holds a B.S. in Mathematics from Creighton University, M.S.E. from Drake University, and Ph.D. from Iowa State University. In her spare time, Bernie enjoys flower gardening and travel.

Cathy Gorini is Professor of Mathematics and Dean of Faculty at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, IA, where she has been on the faculty for thirty years. She has been teaching a course she developed, Geometry for the Artist, for twenty years. The Iowa Section gave her the Award for Distinguished College Teaching of Mathematics in 2001. She is the editor of Geometry at Work: Papers in Applied Geometry, published by the MAA in 2000 and author of Facts On File Geometry Handbook. She holds a PhD in mathematics from the University of Virginia.

Iowa Section NExT

We will have six new members in Iowa Section NExT this year. Participating in our meeting on the morning of April 25th will be Debra Czarneski (Simpson), Ben Galluzzo (U. Iowa), Jacob Heidenreich (Loras), Theron Hitchman (UNI), William Shellhorn (Simpson) and Michael Smith (Morningside). Our meeting will consist of presentations by Jacob Heidenreich, Carl Cowen, Lynn Olson and Debra Czarneski; the meeting will immediately precede the MAA Section Meeting at Simpson College.
Brian Birgen

2008 Iowa Collegiate Mathematics Contest Results

The 14th annual Iowa Collegiate Mathematics competition was held on Saturday, March 8, 2008, at Drake University. Twenty-one teams from eleven Iowa Colleges and Universities participated. A team from Iowa State University won with 90 points, followed closely by the "Batman" team from Grinnell College with 88 points. In third place was "K_3" from Grinnell (77pts) and tied for fourth place were "Urysohn's Swimming Team" from Luther and "Conjecture without Proof" from Drake (75 pts). Congratulations to ISU! They will probably be hosting next year's competition.

Announcements and Dates of Importance


None at this time.

Dates of Importance

July 31-August 2, 2008 - MathFest 2008 in Madison, WI

January 5-8, 2009 - 2009 MAA-AMS Joint Meetings in Washington, DC

Please send corrections, comments and suggestions regarding the Iowa MAA Web pages to
Al Hibbard,