MAA Iowa Section Newsletter
Spring 2014

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, Joy Becker,


Section Governor's Report

The governor's meeting at the January JMM in Baltimore was productive. In addition to the standard reports, the following were also considered: discussion about the elimination of Short Courses, 2015 dues were kept the same as 2014, there was approval to disband the Committee on Travel Study Programs, there was discussion about a modern Introductory Statistics course, and CUPM had us focus on the 2015 MAA Curriculum Guide.

Keep in mind and plan to attend MathFest in Portland this August, section meeting at Clarke University in October, and the centennial celebration of the MAA at the Washington, D.C. MathFest in August 2015.

I had a student who is majoring in Mathematics and History (among others) work on many of the historical documents for our section. First, most of these were scanned in by our secretary and then he reviewed then along with other sources. I hope to add some of these to the web site this summer and there will be a presentation at the section meeting in October.

Section Chair's Report

No report submitted.

Section Vice-Chair's Report

As the Vice Chair of the Iowa Section of the MAA, I attended the officers meeting at the Joint Math Meetings in Baltimore January 2014. After a round of introductions, we heard from a number of sections describing some of the more innovative thing they were doing. The Rocky Mountain Section described their grant program for encouraging mission consistent math related activities to help use up accumulated funds. The Indiana Section described their visiting speaker program for bringing local prestigious speakers to the small colleges in the area. The Southeast Section described how they have managed to connect with the two year colleges and encourage their attendance to their section meeting.

We heard a series of announcements from the MAA leadership. These included information about teaching awards, book sales, review of section by-laws, and encouraging new memberships. There was considerable discussion about the 2015 MathFest in Washington D.C. celebrating the centennial of the MAA. The MAA will be creating banners for each section (so we do not need to worry about how to get our banner to Washington D.C. for the meeting) which will be used in the celebration. For the centennial, we are asked to provide a group photo from our Fall Section meeting, as well as information about notable mathematicians from our section as part of the history.

Finally we were asked to design T-shirts for the Iowa Section to wear to the MathFest. There will be a day during the meeting when attendees are encouraged to wear their section’s T-shirt design. The national office will give prizes for the most T-shirts sold (per capita), most worn at the MathFest meeting, and best design. See T-shirt Update below for more information.

The Fall Meeting of the Iowa Section of the MAA will be held at Clarke University in Dubuque on October 24th and 25th. We are scheduled to have two national speakers, as this is the year for our Polya speaker. Bob Devaney will speak Friday evening and Ruth Charney will speak Saturday morning. Given that the location of the meeting is so close to Wisconsin to Illinois, we will be making a special effort to invite members from those sections to attend our meeting.

Section Treasurer's Report

No report submitted.

Iowa Section NExT Announcement

As usual, the MAA's Iowa section will be holding activities for our Iowa-NExT group on the Friday before the sectional meeting. Iowa NExT fellows are invited to join us for our informal workshops and lunch before the section meeting on Friday. All pre-tenure faculty and senior grad students can apply to be Iowa-NExT fellows. Download the application from Iowa-NExT part of this site. If you know of such people in your department, please encourage them to apply.

2013 Iowa Section Teaching Award

UNI's TJ Hitchman was awarded the 2013 MAA Iowa Section Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics. TJ was in his sixth year at his institution and was cited by his nominators for the impact of his teaching on UNI students, his devotion to implementing Inquiry-Based Learning in his classes, and for his "belief in doing what is effective" in the classroom.

2014 Iowa Collegiate Mathematics Competition

The 20th annual Iowa Collegiate Math Competition was held on Saturday, March 1, 2014. Due to adverse weather, the competition was not held as scheduled at UNI, but everyone took the 3-hour exam at their home institution. The problems and solutions can be found on the competition web site. This year we had 18 teams from 10 different Iowa Colleges and Universities participating. Here are the 2014 winners:

1st place: "Team_name.jpg" from ISU (97 points)
2nd place: "Gold Team" from UNI (89 points)
3rd place: "National University of Zimbwawe" from Coe College (58 points)

Congratulations to all participants! The date for 2015 will be announced at the Fall Iowa MAA meeting and on the competition web site in October.

See the contest page for further information. For questions or comments, contact:

Ruth Berger
Luther College

MAA T-shirt Update

At the behest of the MAA National Office, we have made plans to design a T-shirt for the Iowa Section of the MAA. We made a solicitation for designs which was put out in March, with the reward of a free T-shirt to the winning design. We received a number of designs, primarily from undergraduates. A poll was held at the MUMS Conference at Simpson in April, and one of the designs was a strong favorite. (See the picture below.) A solicitation for orders will be made at the beginning of the school year, so they can be delivered at the Fall Section Meeting. There will be additional shirts ordered for people to purchase at the Fall Meeting.

For questions or comments, contact:

Brian Birgen
Wartburg College

MAA T-shirt Design

Dates of Importance

August 6-9, 2014 - MathFest 2014, Portland, Oregon.

October 24-25, 2014 - Annual Meeting of the Iowa Section, Clarke College, Dubuque, Iowa.

January 10-13, 2015 - Joint Mathematics Meetings in San Antonio, Texas.

Departmental News

The following items have been submitted by the liaisons for the corresponding departments. If your department has news that is not included, please contact your liaison so that it can be included and have them e-mail the the editor, Joy Becker,

Central College
Russ Goodman

Loras College
Angela Kohlhaas

Beginning in summer 2014, Loras College will offer a Master of Arts in Integrated STEM Education. Co-developed by Robert Keller, PhD (Mathematics) and Rebecca Monhardt, PhD (Science Education), this innovative, interdisciplinary program views STEM as a single integrated discipline. Faculty in Education, Mathematics, Engineering, Computer Science, and Biology will teach courses in the program, which is to be delivered nearly entirely in an online format. The program targets practicing elementary through secondary teachers as well as informal educators.

Mount Mercy College
Jitka Stehnova