The August meeting of the Board of Governors was my third and last summer meeting as the Michigan Section Governor. Next month in New Orleans will be my last winter meeting. By the time you read this, we will have nominated candidates for an election in the spring to name my replacement. I urge all Michigan Section-MAA members to watch for the mailed ballot from the MAA Washington office and fill it out and return it.
The MAA Mathfest meeting in August on the UCLA campus was the first one that reflected the leadership of our new Executive Director, Tina Straley. She is moving forward aggressively in her new job. My reading is that we have good leadership.
Several staff positions at MAA headquarters have been vacant for awhile in response to the financial deficits that the Association was dealing with in the mid 1990s. Now that we are back in the black, Tina has moved forward with filling these vacancies. This ought to allow the headquarters to focus more effectively on new initiatives.
Another change in the works that will allow the MAA to be more responsive to members is the development of an in-house data base. MAA has been contracting out its data base work, including membership records, financial record keeping, inventory and sales for all the publications, etc. The Board approved a plan that will have the MAA purchasing an organizational data management software package that will allow for bringing all of the record-keeping back into the MAA office.
The package will also allow for transacting more business via the Internet. When implemented, the system ought to allow members to review their membership status and history, renew memberships and pay their dues, or purchase books, all via the World Wide Web. For the staff, it will give them much greater flexibility and quicker turnaround in producing reports and monitoring activities for which they are responsible.
Implementation of the new system will not be cheap. In fact, the Board of Governors approved a budget for 2001 with a deficit of $167,251. The cost of conversion to the in-house association management software is very nearly equal to the deficit. However, the projection is that, once in place, it will produce cost savings on the order of $130,000 per year. The staff expects that these savings and increased revenues will produce a surplus of $45,250 in 2002, and that within a few years, the borrowing from other funds needed to cover the 2001 deficit can be paid back.
In other business the Board of Governors approved a major revision of the Guidelines for Programs and Departments in Undergraduate Mathematical Sciences, which was originally adopted in 1993. This revision includes input from the American Statistical Association, which wanted to see changes in the 1993 document before endorsing it. The review and revision process has extended over several years.
The Board of Governors received a preliminary report from the Task Force on Articulation, which, along with representatives of the NCTM, AMATYC, and AMS, is exploring the major problem of students' making transitions between the various levels of mathematical education. The Task Force chair, Bernard L. Madison (U of Arkansas), was one of the planners for a workshop sponsored by the Mathematical Sciences Education Board last February. The workshop identified and clarified the issues and several aspects of the problem that might be suitable for MSEB initiatives. We also learned that there were changes in the works for the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics resulting from the American Mathematical Society's no longer wanting to continue to help pay for a lobbyist.
John O. Kiltinen, Governor
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