North Central Mathematical Bulletin

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

Volume 8 Number 1 March 2005

Table of Contents

Governor's Report MAA-NCS Section NExT 
President's Report Spring Section Meeting
Secretary's Report Campus News
Treasurer's Report

Conferences and Courses

Student Chapter Coordinator's Report

Future Section Meetings

2005 Section Team Competition

Meetings of Other Sections

Report from 2004 Section Team Competition Information for Contributors
MAA-NCS Summer Seminar on Bioinformatics   

Governor's Report


Daniel Kemp
South Dakota State University

The MAA Board of Governors met prior to the Joint Mathematics Meetings in Atlanta, GA on January 4, 2005.  This time we had a 104 page agenda to work through, but President Ron Graham was up to the task and we finished ahead of schedule.

Highlights from the meeting:

            The North Central Section By-Laws were finally approved by the Board.  Many thanks go to the Committee on Sections (chair, Nancy Hagelgans) and our own Secretary for working out the final details.

            There is a new Guide for Section Officers available on line at  More good news for all Sections: starting with MathFest in August the travel expenses for one Section Officer to the National meetings have been increased to (up to) $600.  By the way, this year’s MathFest is August 4-5 in Albuquerque, MN.

            The MAA remains in sound financial shape.  We have over $7,000,000 in investments that are being managed by professionals within the Association.

            The Budget Committee is seeking guidance on the MAA dues structure.  Currently retired members and students are heavily subsidized by regular members.  Apparently regular members taking two or three journals are paying the average cost of membership.  If you have any comments on the MAA dues structure please send them to me at and I’ll pass them along to the Budget Committee.

            Your MAA membership can now be renewed on-line at MAA Online (  Renewing this way saves the MAA money.  Try it!

            The Board approved the formation of an MAA-NCTM Joint Committee on Mutual Concerns.  The initial issues to be discussed are (i) the teaching of calculus, (ii) teacher preparation/content issues, and (iii) curricular issues.

            The MAA now sponsors nine Special Interest Groups (acronym: SIGMAA).  The ninth, SIGMAA on Teaching Advanced High School Mathematics, was approved at the meeting.  You can join one or several SIGMAA’s when you renew your membership.  Old timers in the NCS may be interested to know that the Chair of the MAA Committee on SIGMAAs is former NCS member Steve Carlson who is serving as a Visiting Mathematician at the MAA Headquarters in Washington, DC until August, 2005.

            Interesting facts: In 2004, 40% of the MAA book sales were textbooks and $200,000 worth of MAA books were sold on Amazon.

            You are encouraged to spend time at the MAA web site.  Pay particular attention to the Math DL (digital library) as that will be undergoing major changes.

            The meeting closed with sustained, enthusiastic, standing applause for outgoing MAA President Ron Graham.  Your new President is Carl Cowen.

President's Report


Secretary's Report

Walter Sizer

Minnesota State University Moorhead

The Fall 2004 section meeting was held at North Dakota State University in Fargo, North Dakota.  Roughly sixty-five people attended.  Invited speakers were Jason Douma from the University of Sioux Falls and Marty Isaacs of University of Wisconsin Madison. 

The Spring 2005 meeting will be at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, April 22-23.  Preliminary details and a call for papers are elsewhere on the web page.  The Fall 2005 meeting will be at South Dakota State University in Brookings.

Treasurer's Report

Tom Sibley

Saint John's University

I have enjoyed the opportunity over the last six years to work with so many fine people in this section. And I'm pleased to say that the section's finances continue to be in good shape.

One reason for our financial health is the support of sixteen colleges and universities who are institutional members of the section for this academic year. They are Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Cloud State University, College of St. Benedict/St. John's University, Minot State University, Macalester College, Concordia College (Moorhead), University of Minnesota (Duluth), Carleton College, St. Olaf College, Southwest State University, Hamline University, University of Minnesota (Minneapolis), Bemidji State University, Minnesota State University Moorhead, Normandale Community College and Mankato State University. The section thanks these schools and the faculty there for their support.

Student Chapter Coordinator's

2005 NCS Team Competition

The ninth annual NCS Team Contest will be held on Saturday, November 12, 2005.  An announcement and invitation to participate will be sent by email in September to at least one member of the Mathematics Department of each college and university in the Section.  If you are unsure whether anyone from your department is receiving these announcements, contact Jerry Heuer at

Report on the 2004 NCS Team Competition

Jerry Heuer
Concordia College

The eighth annual NCS/MAA Team Contest was held on Saturday, November 13, with 66 teams from 26 universities and colleges participating.  The number of participating institutions broke last year's record of 24. Complete problems, solutions, and top team results have been posted on the NCS Team Competition page.

The expenses of the competition are covered by a fee of $15 per team.  Teams of up to three undergraduate students work collaboratively at their home campuses on the ten problems, under the supervision of  local faculty members.  The problems count 10 points each, and scores this year ranged from 12 to 92, with a median of 30.  The winning Macalester team "MAC1"  was the only team scoring in the 90s; however, 10 teams scored 60 points or higher, an impressive result relative to prior years.  A listing of the top 23 teams and their scores is now available.  Complete information, including a set of 2004 problems and solutions, will be posted soon.  The contest is intended to reach a somewhat wider pool of students than the Putnam.


MAA-NCS Summer Seminar

Bioinformatics: Where Mathematics Meets Molecules

The 2005 MAA/NCS Summer Seminar, titled "Bioinformatics: Where Mathematics Meets Molecules," will be led by Dr. Laurie Heyer of Davidson College.  The seminar will take place on the campus of the University of Minnesota-Duluth, July 18-22, 2005.

Conference details and registration is now available at



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 April 22, 2005 at St. Olaf College, 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 (


Spring Meeting to be held at St. Olaf College!

St. Olaf College will host the MAA/NCS Spring Meeting, April 22-23.  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 Spring 2005 meeting will be posted on this website prior to the meeting.

The MAA/NCS Fall 2005 Meeting will be held at South Dakota State University, October 14-15.

Campus News


Concordia College, Moorhead

Doug Anderson and seniors Nick Myran and Dusty White had their joint paper, Basins of attraction in a Cournot duopoly model of Kopel, accepted for publication by the Journal of Difference Equations and Applications. This paper is the result of a Concordia College Centennial Scholars' Research Grant over the summer of 2004.  (Submitted by Doug Anderson)


Concordia University, St. Paul

Dr. Robert Krueger was named chair of the newly formed Department of Mathematics. 

The Tri-Pi math club has grown to over fifty members and will be hosting the second annual game night on campus in April.  (Submitted by Robert J. Krueger.)


Dakota Wesleyan University

Dr. Michael Farney spent the fall semester on sabbatical, and is now back with us full time.  During the fall, Dr. Farney worked on upgrading his general education astronomy course, designing and creating an inexpensive tripod mount for binoculars, and moving the college’s small observatory to an area with less light pollution (about 7 miles as the crow flies southwest of town).

We have a new faculty member in the department.  Diane Sundstrom, who served as sabbatical replacement faculty while Dr. Mike Catalano was on leave during the 2003-2004 academic year, is staying on with us.  Ms. Sundstrom has a background in engineering, as well as expertise in French and Music.  Diane is teaching ¾-time in the math department and ¼-time in the language department.  Her musical talents will be on display this May when she performs a solo piano concert for the Mitchell Area Concert Series.

Dr. Mike Catalano is in his second semester of teaching a reformed version of college algebra, utilizing a text that he began work on during his recent sabbatical at Hope College in Holland Michigan.  The text is based on a book by Janet Andersen and Todd Swanson of Hope, used there for a 2 credit general education course within their integrated GEMS program (General Education in Mathematics and Sciences).  The new text incorporates real-world data related to social issues, particularly hunger, poverty, energy, and the environment, and supports the mission of the new McGovern Center for Public Service at Dakota Wesleyan University.  Mike is anxiously awaiting final word on an NSF grant proposal to support further work on the project.  In addition, Mike has been appointed as chair of the Self-study Committee for DWU’s upcoming decennial NCA accreditation process.

Dr. Rocky VonEye is currently teaching half-time in the department, and is administering two grants for DWU. The first is a grant from the Bush Foundation for faculty development, particularly focused on assessment. The second is a Title III grant from the Department of Education. This grant is for administrative and instructional technology.


Gustavus Adolphus College

Mike Hvidsten's new geometry text and the software he wrote have just been published.  Geometry with Geometry Explorer, the text and CD, are available from McGraw-Hill Higher Education.  The department of Mathematics and Computer Science hosted a party for Mike to celebrate the book launching.  (Submitted by John Holte)


South Dakota State University

Dr Ken Yocom stepped down as Head of the SDSU Department of Mathematics and Statistics in June 2004 after a remarkable twenty four years.  He led the department through a period of tremendous growth and change.  He has not retired, having returned to the full time teaching that he loves.

The SDSU Department of Mathematics and Statistics, the USD Department of Mathematics, and the USD Department of Computer Science have been approved by the Board of Regents to jointly offer a new PhD program in Computational Science and Statistics starting with the ’05-’06 academic year.  The program will focus on the related areas of Computational Biology, Biostatistics, and Bioinformatics.  For more information, please see  or contact Kurt Cogswell at 605-688-6196 or  (Submitted by Kurt Cogswell)



University of Minnesota Duluth

UMD will host the NCS Summer Seminar July 18-22. The topic is Bioinfromatics.  Laurie Heyer of Davidson College is the principal lecturer. 

Sabra Anderson, past president of the NCS has retired after 35 years and teaching and administrator duties.  Sylvan Burgstahler, past President of the NCS was inducted into the UMD College of Science and Engineering Academy. The academy was established to recognize those who have brought distinction themselves and provided leadership in their profession.

Carman Latterell published the book Math Wars about the debate over NCTM standards.

UMD has begun a math student exchange program with Loughborough University in the UK.

Joseph Gallian has published the sixth edition of his book Contemporary Abstract Algebra.  (Submitted by Joe Gallian)


Conferences and Courses


Annual Pi Mu Epsilon Student Conference

April 15-16, 2005
College of St. Benedict
St. John's University
Collegeville, MN

Our Pi Mu Epsilon undergraduate mathematics research conference will be held at St. John's University on Friday, April 15 and Saturday, April 16  The invited speaker is Jennifer Quinn from Occidental College.  As always, undergraduate speakers will be featured; now is the time to start setting your students' sights on presenting a talk in April.

To submit a talk, or for further information, contact

Marc Brodie
Phone: 320-363-5867

or visit



Seventh Annual

Mathematics on the Northern Plains Undergraduate Conference


April 9, 2005

South Dakota State University

Brookings, SD

The Seventh Annual Mathematics on the Northern Plains Undergraduate Conference is to be held at South Dakota State University in Brookings, South Dakota on April 9, 2005.  Invited speakers will be Dr. Jason Douma from the University of Sioux Falls and Dr. Isaac Kornfeld from North Dakota State University.

Wanted: undergraduate students to give 15-minute talks involving all areas of mathematics and mathematics education.  These talks do not need to involve original research.  To give a talk, please submit a title and short abstract by April 4, 2005.

For more information visit, or contact Donna Flint by email (



North Dakota State University Mathematics Consortium


April 1-2, 2005

North Dakota State University

Fargo, ND

North Dakota State University will host a two-day gathering of mathematics students and faculty from the upper plains region.  Keynote speakers include Jack Maney from the University of South Dakota, Harry Coonce from North Dakota State University, and Daniel Schaal from South Dakota State University.  The event will also include panel discussions on choosing a graduate school, and on navigating the graduate study and job search processes.

More information is available at, or by contacting Jim Coykendall (



MinnMATYC Spring 2005 Conference

April 29 - 30, 2005
Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (DECC)

For more information, go to



MCTM 2005 Spring Conference

April 28 - 30, 2005
Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (DECC)

For more information, go to



MAA PREP Workshops

Summer 2005

The MAA's Professional Enhancement Program (PREP) will offer a wide variety of workshops during Summer 2005. PREP workshops offer you the chance to spend a few days exploring topics of mutual interest with colleagues from other institutions, with experienced leaders to guide the group towards a deeper understanding and broader perspective. Most of the cost of attending a PREP workshop is covered by the program, so what are you waiting for? Visit the PREP web site, to see this year's schedule and to obtain registration materials.

Future Section Meetings

Spring 2005 St. Olaf College (April 22-23)
Fall 2005 South Dakota State University (Oct. 14-15)


Meetings of Other Sections

Wisconsin Section April 15-16   University of Wisconsin - Washington County
Iowa Section April 1-2   Central College, Pella
Nebraska / SE South Dakota April 1-2   University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Information for Contributors

Submissions should be sent via mail to:

Jason Douma
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 March 28, 2005.