North Central Mathematical Bulletin

The newsletter of the North Central Section
of the
Mathematical Association of America

Volume 10 Number 2 September 2007

Table of Contents

Governor's Report

MAA-NCS Section NExT

President's Report

Fall Section Meeting

Secretary's Report

Campus News

Treasurer's Report

Conferences and Courses

Student Chapter Coordinator's Report

Future Section Meetings

2007 Section Team Competition

Meetings of Other Sections


Information for Contributors

Governor's Report
Jennifer Galovich
College of Saint Benedict/Saint John's University


My  term as Governor began with a weekend orientation at MAA Headquarters in DC, where we were plied with coffee and budget numbers.  This was a more thorough (and, I think, more effective) orientation than was provided in the past, and greatly appreciated.


In addition to the usual work of simply running the business (publishing books and journals, organizing meetings, etc.)  the principal work of the Association in recent years has been strategic planning, a process anticipated to last for about five years. In each year, some areas of MAA operations are selected for a review coordinated by a working group appointed  by the Executive Committee.


Cycle I, completed, focused on Professional Development, Revenue and the AMC. Cycle II, going on now, targets Membership, Students and Governance.  Other areas for future Cycle(s) include Books, Journals, and Meetings. Each working group gathers information in a variety of ways, including discussions in Sections, focus groups and surveys of the membership. The final report for each area summarizes strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities and makes recommendations.


Unsurprisingly, a Board meeting is (at least) 90% reports from everybody under the sun, and a few action items.  This year, part of our meeting at Mathfest was spent brainstorming regarding the Membership area for strategic planning. Action items included elections to various positions.  Of particular note was the election of Gerard Venema (Calvin College) as Associate Secretary-Elect. Dr. Venema will take over for Jim Tattersall in January 2009. As to other items, the Board considered and tabled to JMM 08, a draft of a policy regarding ethical standards, and passed a policy strongly discouraging the use of hotel sleeping rooms for job interviews.

President's Report
Tom Sibley
College of Saint Benedict/Saint John's University

Welcome to another school year.  I’m looking forward to seeing you again at our section meetings.  The fall one is shaping up well.  Friday evening, Oct. 19th, we are anticipating an engaging “swan song” from David Appleyard, recently retired from Carleton and our 2006 winner of the Award for Distinguished Mathematics Teaching.  On Saturday, Jim Tattersall, the Associate Secretary of the MAA, will get to take on a different role from helping organize the national meetings.  He will be speaking on his research love—history of mathematics.

Many thanks are in order, starting with the many people who made the Summer Seminar a success.  Steve Kennedy and the other folks at Carleton provided all the logistics to make Jonathan Borwein’s Experimental Mathematics short course a great opportunity.

Thank you to all those who have finished their term of service to the section.  Steve Kennedy led us well as President and I will count on his support this next year as I try to come close to his standards.  Dan Kemp served faithfully as Governor for three years.  Su Doree did double duty as an at large member and the Chair of the Teaching award committee.  (You can note below that she doesn’t know how to say “no” yet, since she is, to our good fortune, our President-elect.)  Dale Buske has finished his commitment as past President; I have appreciated his insight and advice.  Eric Lund served well as Chair of the Meritorious Service award committee.

I look forward to working with all of the officers this year, including the new officers: Jennifer Galovich as Governor, Su Doree as President-elect, Shawn Chiappetta as Information Officer and Kris Nairn as at large member.

Please send in nominations for this year’s awards.  Nominations for the Teaching award can be sent to Ivy Knoshaug at Bemidji State University (or delivered personally at the section meeting!).  Nominations for the Meritorious Service award should be sent to Donna Flint at SDSU.

Secretary's Report

Treasurer's Report
Randy Westhoff
Bemidji State University


The North Central Section enters the new academic year in good financial shape.  Last year a total of thirty colleges and universities became institutional members of the NCS-MAA  raising a total of $750 which was used to support our section's Project NExT activities.   Institutional memberships are again only $25 a year and I will be sending out notices to our section's department heads in the near future.  I look forward to your continued support and hope to see all of you at the fall meeting at Bemidji State University.


Student Chapter Coordinator's Report

2007 NCS Team Competition

MAA-NCS Section NExT


Designed for new college and university faculty in the mathematical sciences, Section NExT (New Experiences in Teaching) is a professional development program that addresses the full range of faculty responsibilities including teaching, scholarly activities, and service.  Each year, applications will be solicited for new MAA-NCS Section NExT fellows to serve for a two year term. We will accept applications from faculty who are within the first four years of beginning full-time employment with teaching responsibilities at the college or university level.  The application consists of a short personal statement and a letter of support from the department chair, guaranteeing financial support for transportation, meals, and lodging at the fall and spring meetings of the North Central Section. 


The MAA-NCS Section NExT will meet on October 19, 2007 at Bemidji State University, immediately prior to the NCS Spring Meeting.  Details about the MAA-NCS Section NExT program and its spring meeting may be found at  Questions may be addressed to any of the program organizers:  Mike Hvidsten (, Shawn Chiappetta (, Donna Flint (Donna.Flint@SDSTATE.EDU), Randy Westhoff (

See You in Bemidji!

Bemidji State University will host the MAA-NCS Fall Meeting, October 19-20.  More information can be found by clicking here.  For more information on contributing a paper, click here.  The North Central Section NExT will meet at the same site immediately prior to the spring section meeting.  A program for the Fall 2007 meeting will be posted on this website prior to the meeting.

The MAA/NCS Spring 2008 Meeting will be held at College of Saint Benedict/St. John's University, April 25-26.

Campus News

Augsburg College, Minneapolis

Two faculty members joined Augsburg's Mathematics Department this fall.  Our newest tenure-track hire is John Zobitz who recently finished his Ph.D. on mathematical models in biology/environmental science at the University of Utah.  John is a national NExT fellow (Sun dot) and a native Minnesotan who graduated from Cretin-Derham Hall High School and St. John's University.  Serving in a one-year position this year is Molly Maxwell, an algebraic/topological combinatorialist who will soon defend her Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota under the direction of Vic Reiner.

Continuing in the Mathematics Department are professors Tracy Bibelnieks, Matt Haines, Jody Sorensen, Ken Kaminsky, Su Doree, and our adjunct faculty Anna, Alyssa, Debra, Fran, Mark, Rich, Tami, Todd, and Troy. (Submitted by Su Doree)


College of St. Catherine, St. Paul/Minneapolis

This past May we said goodbye to Rochelle Pereira who left academia to pursue a new career at Travelers and to John Wenzel who retired (for the second time!) along with his wife Vera who was director of Global Studies at CSC.  We will miss our colleagues and wish them the best.   We welcome Elliot Hoffenberg who will be with us this year.  Early June found Dan O’Loughlin and Adele Marie Rothan, CSJ in Louisville along with about 500 other college/university statistics teachers and AP Statistics teachers grading about 100,000 AP Stat Exams.

This fall Yvonne Ng will be primarily involved with the administration of the NSF-S-STEM Grant, Enhancing Recruitment and Retention for Women in Science and Engineering, getting a new Science Center off the ground (joining the Math and Writing Centers within the O’Neill Center for Academic Development).  Ann Sweeney is co-chairing the MN Council of Teachers of Mathematics Fall Conference that will be held on Friday, October 19, at Lakeville South High School. (submitted by Adele Marie Rothan)


Concordia College, Moorhead


Concordia students Alex Berg '09, Erik O'Leary '08, and Jeff Schmitz '08, under the guidance of faculty member Dan Thureen, designed a robot that won first place at the April 2007 Midwest Instruction and Computing Symposium Sumo Robot Competition, heavyweight division, hosted by the University of North Dakota. Zack Kenz '08 participated in the Director's Summer Program for undergraduates at NSA, and Grant Weller '08 had a summer REU at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where he helped model stock returns and optimize bond portfolios.

Dan Biebighauser was selected to be a member of Project NExT.

Doug Anderson took 18 Concordia students on the Math May Seminar “Mathematics in Another Light,” visiting the sites of the historical roots of mathematics, including in Egypt, Greece, Italy, Switzerland, Paris and London. Also, his paper with Irena Rachunková and Chris Tisdell, "Solvability of Discrete Neumann Boundary Value Problems", was published in the Journal of Mathematical Analysis and Applications. Appearing in the same journal was his paper with Zeqing Liu, Jeong Sheok Ume, and Shin Min Kang, "Twin Monotone Positive Solutions to a Singular Nonlinear Third-Order Differential Equation".

Bill Tomhave gave three presentations in the spring of 2007, “Preparation for Proof – The Puzzles of Raymond Smullyan” to the Minnesota Council of Teachers of Mathematics in Duluth,  “Impacting Middle School Classrooms Through Partnerships” with co-presenters Jeanette Polzine, Randy Berndt, Lisa Petznick, Linda Zsedeny, and Stan Goldade to the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics in Atlanta, Georgia, and “Mathematics Institute for Middle School Teachers: A Partnership Model to Support Rural Minnesota Schools” with co-presenters Jeanette Polzine, Linda Zsedeny,  and Stan Goldade to the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics. (submitted by Douglas Anderson)


Concordia University, St. Paul


We have a few items we would like to share.  Robert Krueger, Chair of the Department of Mathematics, was tenured last fall and promoted to full professor last spring.  In 2007, we had our third class of math majors graduate from the institution.  We were please that two chose to study mathematics in graduate school and another one is pursuing a statistics graduate degree.  Finally, we will open a search for a one-year renewal term faculty member (with tenure-trach possibilities) in mathematics to start in the fall of 2008.  (submitted by Robert Krueger)


Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter


Gustavus math majors Dan Johnson and Tyler Kramer won first prize in last spring's Undergraduate Statistics Project Competition with a report on steroid use and home-run hitting in major league basesball.

Professor Carolyn Dobler, their proud mentor, is now the chair of Gustavus's department of Mathematics and Computer Science,  and she also serves as one of the ASA's members of the ASA/MAA Joint Committee on Undergraduate Statistics.

Senior math major Alex Zupan, whose other honors were reported in the fall newsletter, has won an Honorable Mention from the NSF's Graduate Fellowship Program; he will be entering graduate school in mathematics at the University of Iowa.

Those who attended the spring meeting of the NCS-MAA at St. Catherine already know this:  The Section awarded Professor Mike Hvidsten its Meritorious Achievement Award.  His achievements include service to the section as secretary-treasurer, webmaster, student chapter coordinator, and governor.

In May, Professor Jeff Rosoff won the 2007 Senson and Bunn Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence, an award selected and presented exclusively by the studeny body.

New people in the department include Aaron Nienow, Instructor of  Statistics and Departmental Technology Coordinator, and Dr. Andry Glubokov, visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics.  (submitted by John Holte).


Minnesota State University, Mankato


Minnesota State University, Mankato, has four new faculty this year.  Dr. Jonathan Harper from Montana State University joins us to handle the developmental mathematics program.  Dr. Yea-Ling (Jennifer) Tsao from Twaiwan National University joins us in mathematics education.  Dr. Hongxia (Laura) Yin from the  Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing joins us in applied mathematics and constrained optimization for both linear and nonlinear convex systems.  Ms. Eryn Stehr completed her master's degree here last year and will be teaching college algebra for us this year as a fixed-term appointment.

Dr. Bruce Mericle and Ms. Gael Mericle retired last spring.  Drs. Namyong Lee and Chia-Chi Tung are taking full year sabbatical this year.  Dr. Larry Pearson will take sabbatical for spring semester.  Dr. Ernest Boyd is the new chairperson for our department.

Last spring and summer were most successful with special seminars in bioinformatics, algebraic graph theory and mathematics education plus an outside grant in conjunction with the College of Education and the St. Paul School District for improving teacher quality.  We hope to continue these initiatives this year.

Enrollment at Minnesota State Mankato is up by 500 students this year.  Luckily we were able to recruit more graduate teaching assistants to help with the extra sections of intermediate algebra and college algebra.  Enrollments in these classes are our biggest loads and are increasing.  Hopefully these students will tell their younger siblings to take it in high school and not wait to take it in college where it will be too crowded. (submitted by Ernest Boyd)


Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, Minneapolis


Saint Mary’s welcomed Dr. Milan Lukic to its math department replacing Mr. Martin Stensing, who left to teach at Northwest College in Wyoming.  The department had a student attend a REU for the fourth year in a row during the summer.  This year, the department continues its Women in Mathematics colloquium featuring Dr. Tanya Leise from Amherst College on Oct. 8th and Dr. Suzanne Lenhart from the University of Tennessee – Knoxville on March 31st. (submitted by Kevin Dennis)


University of North Dakota, Grand Forks


The University of North Dakota welcomes two new faculty to the Mathematics Department this year.

Doojin Hong is a new assistant professor.  He received his PhD at the University of Iowa in 2004 and comes to UND after a postdoc at Seoul National University of South Korea.  Dr. Hong's research interests are in differential geometry and mathematical physics.

Michael Minnotte has joined our faculty as an associate professor.  He received his PhD at Rice University in 1993.  Dr. Minnotte is a statistician and comes to us from Utah State University, where he was on the faculty from 1992 until last year. (Submitted by Richard Millspaugh)

University of St. Thomas, St. Paul

Patrick Van Fleet, Director of the Center for Applied Mathematics, has authored a book entitled “Discrete Wavelet Transformations: An Elementary Approach with Applications”.  The book is published by John J Wiley & Sons, Inc., and will be available in late December, 2007. For more information about the book, please visit the website

Van Fleet, along with co-PIs Catherine Beneteau (University of South Florida),  Caroline Haddad (SUNY Geneseo), and David Ruch (Metropolitan State College of Denver), has obtained funding from the National Science Foundation for the CCLI Phase II proposal “Collaborative Research: A Phase II Expansion of the Development of a Multidisciplinary Course on Wavelets and Applications”.  The 2.5 year proposal builds upon Van Fleet’s successful pilot project entitled

“Wavelets and Applications: A Multi-Disciplinary Undergraduate Course with an Emphasis on Scientific Computing”

(DUE-0442684). This pilot project enabled the development of an innovative course, together with a text, software, and related materials at the University of St. Thomas. The current collaborative proposal focuses on refining, expanding, and testing these educational innovations on a wider audience of faculty and students across the United States, implementing the new materials, and in the process, creating diverse and portable "modules" for student projects and undergraduate research.  For more information on the project, please contact Patrick Van Fleet at (submitted by Douglas Dokken)

Conferences and Courses

Annual Pi Mu Epsilon Student Conference

April 11-12, 2008
College of St. Benedict
St. John's University
Collegeville, MN

The Thirtieth Annual CSB/SJU Pi Mu Epsilon undergraduate mathematics research conference will be held on Friday, April 11 and Saturday, April 12.  The invited speaker is Joe Gallian

All interested faculty and students in the upper Midwest are invited to attend this conference, held in P. Engel Hall on the campus of St. John's University.  The conference will feature papers presented by undergraduate mathematics students.

Additional information is available on our web site (

To submit a talk, or for further information, contact

Kris Nairn

Phone: 320-363-308


University of St. Thomas
Center for Applied Mathematics
2007 Fall Colloquium Series


October 3, 2007  “Gauss Lemniscate Functions”, Edward Neuman, Southern Illinois Carbondale.


Gauss' arc lemniscate sine, denoted by arcsl, is defned as follows:     


It is well-known that the arc length s measured from the origin to a point with plane polar coordinates (r,θ) on the Bernoulli lemniscate r2 = cos 2θ, is s = arcsl r. The integral on the right side of (*) is a special case of the symmetric elliptic integral. Sharp bounds and inequalities involving the function arcsl and other lemniscate functions will be presented.


October 24, 2007  Who Count? Why Count?, How Do We Count?”, Lynne Billard, University of Georgia.


The decennial Census in the United States is mandated by the U.S. Constitution. Ever since the first census in 1790, questions have been raised about various aspects of its conduct and results. Indeed, the American Statistical Association was founded in 1839 over the very issue of concerns about the conduct of the then- upcoming 1840 census. Statisticians have played key roles ever since. The Census 2000 received more than its share of public attention having been enveloped in politically inspired debate. We will look at some of the attendant issues, especially as they pertain to the role that statistics and statisticians can play scientifically and professionally.


November 14, 2007 “Mathematical Aspects of Software Engineering”, Pat Moberg, BAE Systems.


Although some software engineers may not use higher level mathematics on an everyday basis, the foundation of many software principles is based on mathematics. On the other hand, many of the most computationally intensive implementations of software require a great deal of mathematics and theory, specifically the modeling and simulation applications and encryption-related software. This presentation will focus on a few examples that are heavily linked to mathematics. These instances include proving sorting algorithmic worst-case efficiency by induction, searching algorithm results-driven performance based on real-time requirements, grouping sets of data to gain optimal performance in database selections, and defining a forecasting equation based on numerical analysis.


December 5, 2007 “Modeling the Mechanics of Living Organism”, Magda Stolarska, University of St. Thomas. 


Living organisms are amazing in their complexity and function. However, the complexity makes their function extremely difficult to understand. Experiments can only address small components of a living organism's internal machinery, and as a result mathematical modeling is necessary to put the disparate experimental data together so that one can understand the big picture of how the organism works. In this talk I will discuss how mathematical modeling is used to understand living organisms. In particular, I will focus on modeling the growth and movement of single cells, vertebrate limb buds, and cancerous tumors.

For further information: (651) 962-5524,

Future Section Meetings

Fall 2007

Bemidji State University (Oct. 19-20)

Spring 2008

College of St. Benedict/St. John's University (April 25-26)

Fall 2008

(location and dates TBD)


Meetings of Other Sections

Wisconsin Section

April 25-26


Madison Area Technical College

Iowa Section


Nebraska / SE South Dakota





Information for Contributors

Submissions should be sent via mail to:

Shawn Chiappetta
Natural Sciences Area
University of Sioux Falls

1101 W. 22nd St.
Sioux Falls, SD  57105

Or (and preferably) by electronic mail to:

This newsletter was last updated September 19, 2007.