This is my report to you of my activities during my third and final year as your governor. During this year, I represented you at the Board of Governors meetings in August at the summer meeting in Minneapolis, MN and in January at the winter meeting in San Francisco, CA.
One of the highlights of the summer meeting was the opportunity to greet the members of the winning International Mathematical Olympiad team. The team was introduced by professors Richard Gibbs and Walter Mientka and was greeted with a standing ovation. They commented on the experiences they had and thanked the Association for the opportunity to take part in the competitions. Two of the team members will still be high school students next year and will both therefore be eligible to be members of the next team.
A major move was made to provide Internet services at the Mathematical Association of America. The MAA has added gopher and World Wide Web servers, enhanced its general electronic mail capabilities, and is poised to offer a third major Internet service, an electronic mail list server. To accomplish these objectives, MAA purchased a powerful Sun workstation running UNIX and upgraded their connection to the Internet. Future projects include the addition of indexed searches of text files via Gopher or www. These would allow users to search a set of files containing bibliographic information for exactly the words or phrases in which they are interested. Members are encouraged to investigate Internet opportunities available through your MAA.
The Board of Governors held a major discussion of the operation of the board in light of the MAA Strategic Plan, electronic communications opportunities and the emergence of many active mathematics interest groups. The board has the opportunity to discuss substantial issues prior to the board meetings. Evidence of this surfaced between the two meetings. Two issues were discussed via Internet communications between the two meetings. They were MAA membership and the value of the summer meeting.
The mission of the MAA is "To advance the mathematical sciences, especially at the collegiate level." Approximately 50 to 60,000 people teach collegiate mathematics. Of these, approximately 15,000 are MAA members. If the MAA is to accomplish its mission, it is important that more college teachers support the MAA. We must encourage more of our collegues to belong to the MAA. Over one-half of the MAA's income is from dues. The MAA currently has approximately 30,000 members.
During the past twenty-five years attendance at the summer meetings averaged a little over 1000 members (817 for meetings west of the Mississippi and 1162 for meetings east of the Mississippi). Attendance last summer at Minneapolis was 766. The low levels of attendance and the fact that revenue from exhibitors is very low during the summer result in a persistent deficit for summer meetings. The MAA and AMS have operated under an agreement where the registration fee is set for the winter meeting at a level that results in a surplus that offsets the deficit realized in the fall. Attendance at this winter meeting was a near record, slightly over 4000. Only the winter meeting held in New Orleans was larger. The AMS asked us to revisit this agreement. Their executive committee further indicated that the AMS may no longer feel that the summer meeting meets the needs of its members. This situation caused the Board of Governors to discuss holding future summer meetings. The discussion concluded with the board deciding that the summer meetings were important. The executive committee of the MAA was empowered to negotiate the holding of future meetings with the AMS Council, which met the next day. The AMS Council voted to continue holding joint summer meetings.
The governors were given a copy of the MAA Strategic Plan in Action, which included the original Strategic Plan together with brief descriptions of ongoing projects and project plans. This document gives as complete a picture as possible of the activities of the Association, in conjunction with the goals and objectives for the Association. You were given copies of the Strategic Plan. To see the MAA in action, I encourage each of you to view this document.
The winter meeting represented the final meeting for Don Kreider as president of the MAA. We express our appreciation to Don for his leadership. The new president is now Ken Ross. We wish him well and look forward to his leadership.
This also represents my final year of a three-year term as your governor. I wish that each of you could have the opportunity that I have had to represent our section at the national level. It has been a rewarding experience that I treasure. I wish to thank you all for the opportunity that you gave me.
Donald M. Bardwell