Spring 2009, Volume 12, Number 1

Upcoming Meeting

Hope to See You at Hamline University in St. Paul!

Hamline University will host the MAA-NCS Spring Meeting, April 24-25.

Our two invited speakers for the spring meeting are George Andrews (The Penn State University) and Jason Douma (University of Sioux Falls).

A program for the Spring 2009 meeting will be posted approximately one to two weeks on the MAA-NCS website prior to the meeting.

Invited Speakers and Biographies

Officer Reports

Govenor's Report

Jennifer Galovich, College of St. Benedict/St. John's University

The Board of Governors met as usual at the JMM in Washington. In addition to the usual items, we were all interested in hearing from the Treasurer, John Kennelly.

Bottom line: We have a bottom line! Like everyone else, we have lost money in our investment portfolio, but we have invested conservatively, so the loss is not devastating. In recent years, we had operating losses that we were able to cover with investment income, but that's a non-starter in the current environment. So the national office is examining programs and services to see what might be trimmed (not eliminated). We anticipate savings from a variety of strategic initiatives, e.g., moving to electronic membership, decreasing the number of issues of Focus, and a small increase in registration fees for Mathfest. We are also reviewing some longer term strategies, such as a simplification of the membership categories.

Membership dues did not increase from 2008 to 2009 and the increase from 2009 to 2010 will be no more than 2.5% over all categories.

On the strategic planning front, we move along: Cycles I and II (Professional Development, Revenue, American Mathematics Competition (AMC), Students, Membership and Governance) have been completed and III (STEM Issues, Sections, Meetings, and Publications) is well underway. After Cycle III is completed, there will be a general review to integrate these reports.

At the JMM we marked the end of Jim Tattersall's many years of service as Associate Secretary with a grand luncheon at which everyone wore red bowties. Gerard Venema is the new Associate Secretary. We also marked the end of Martha Siegel's term as Secretary of the Association. The newly elected Secretary is Barbara Faires. Dr. Faires will serve as Secretary-Elect from April 1, 2009 until the conclusion of the Joint Meetings in January 2010. At that time she will begin a five-year term as MAA Secretary.

President's Report

Su Dorée, Augsburg College

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank those members of our section who are completing terms of service: past-President Tom Sibley, secretary Co Livingston, at-large representative Kris Nairn, distinguished teaching award committee chair Keith Agre, and meritorious service award committee chair Steve Leonhardi. I want to particularly acknowledge the amazing behind-the-scenes work that Co, Randy, and Shawn have done (as secretary, treasurer, and information officer) to support our section. They have truly made my job a breeze. Special thanks also to Jennifer Galovich for organizing what looks like a fascinating Summer Seminar, with help from Jason Douma.

Treasurer's Report

Randy Westhoff, Bemidji State University

I would like to thank the following colleges and universities for becoming institutional members of the North Central Section. As in previous years all proceeds will be used to support our Section NExT program.

Augsburg College Concordia College North Dakota State University University of Manitoba
Anoka-Ramsey Community College Concordia University, St. Paul Northern State University University of Minnesota, Duluth
Bemidji State University Gustavus Adolphus College South Dakota State University University of Minnesota, Morris
Bethel University Macalester College Southwest Minnesota State University University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
Carleton College Minnesota State University, Mankato St. Cloud State University Williston State College
College of St. Benedict Normandale Community College St. Olaf College

If your institution is not listed and you would like to become an institutional member the cost is $25 and checks (made out to NCS-MAA) can be sent to me at the address below. If you would like an invoice, please let me know and I will send one out. Thanks again and I'll see you at the spring meeting.

Randy Westhoff, Treasurer

North Central Section - MAA

1500 Birchmont Drive NE, Box 23

Bemidji, MN 56601


Campus News

Augsburg College

Augsburg College was pleased to install the Minnesota Iota Chapter of Pi Mu Epsilon on February 27. We inducted sixteen junior and senior math majors as charter members with Professor Jody Sorensen as the chapter's advisor.

Prof. Tracy Bibelnieks, Augsburg College, will succeed Prof. Wayne Roberts, Macalester College, as Director of the Minnesota High School Mathematics League at the end of this academic year.

Tracy Bibelnieks and Matt Haines, along with their Education Department colleague Linda Stevens, are lead instructors for a Math and Science Teachers Academy grant working with middle school teachers on Connecting Algebra to Number Sense. They also continue their year-long work with elementary and middle school teachers at charter schools in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area funded by a Mathematics and Science Partnership grant. (submitted by Matt Haines)

Bemidji State University, Bemidji

Jim Richards of our Computer Science Program is retiring at the end of spring semester after 33 years of service to BSU. Jim was the chairman of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science from 1997 to 2006.

Derek Webb and Glen Richgels received a large grant from the Blandin Foundation to create the Northern Minnesota College Readiness Partnership. They are working with eight area high schools and six community, technical or tribal colleges to develop curriculum that uses technology to introduce students to mathematics, statistics and computer science concepts. They are targeting students who would otherwise stop taking mathematics courses before completing high school. (submitted by Randy Westhoff)

College of St. Benedict/St. John's University

The St. John's and St. Ben's Math Department congratulates Kris Nairn on receiving tenure and promotion to Associate Professor. Kris and Gary Brown will have sabbaticals next year. Mike Gass is on sabbatical this year.

Jennifer Galovich has been selected, together with Biology colleague Barbara May, to participate in the Undergraduate Research Program in Microbial Genome Annotation sponsored by the US Department of Energy's Joint Genomics Institute. Biology colleagues will adopt an as yet unannotated "orphan" microbial genome which CSB/SJU students in biology and bioinformatics will annotate. (submitted by Tom Sibley and Jennifer Galovich)

Minnesota State University, Moorhead

We are sorry to report the death of a colleague, Professor Jim Drouilhet. Jim came to Moorhead State University in 1981 following instructorships at the University of Texas Austin, the University of Utah, and Yankton College. He got bachelor's, master's and doctor's degrees from Rice University. He worked for several summers at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, where his work included tracking space debris. Other interests included the history and culture of St. Lucia, where earlier generations of his family lived for a while, and the performing arts.

We look forward to the return in the fall of Professor Sayel Ali, who has been on for leave three years teaching in the United Arab Emirates. (submitted by Wally Sizer)

Normandale Community College

The Math/CSci department welcomed three unlimited full-time faculty members at the start of fall '08 semester: James Carr, Xiaosheng Li, and Ghidei Zedingle. This spring, the department is hiring two tenure-track positions in mathematics.

In July, 2008, NCC received an NSF / S-STEM scholarship grant of approximately $600,000 to support students over the next four years in science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs. This continues and expands the CSEMS grant which is now in its last year.

The Math Science Academy began its second full year at Normandale in fall semester, 2008. This student development program is supported by the Normandale Foundation and seeks to increase the number, persistence, and diversity of STEM majors by mentoring, financial aid and personal/professional development.

Normandale is participating in two Math and Science Teacher Academies, developed by the MN Department of Education, to improve middle school mathematics instruction in preparation for statewide implementation of algebra for all 8th graders. Ed Donahue (Director of Teacher Education at NCC), Peggy Rejto and Judy Stucki (math faculty at NCC) have participated at Minnesota State University, Mankato in training sessions for Region 9 and at metro area sites throughout the year. (submitted by Peggy Rejto)

University of St. Thomas, St. Paul

The University of St. Thomas is in the first year of a project funded by the NSF program on Computational Science Training for Undergraduates in the Mathematical Sciences (CSUMS). The three-year award is for $549,000 with an opportunity for two additional years. Project Director Patrick Van Fleet and a group of faculty colleagues have developed courses and student research projects that emphasize computational mathematics and statistics along with applications in a number of areas. The projects underway for this year's cohort of students focus on problems in the areas of tornadogenesis, cell motility and thermal treatments for cancer. The project will sponsor a CSUMS national student research conference in early August.

Prof. Eric Rawdon received an NSF RUI grant of $150,000. The grant supports undergraduate research and a computer cluster to model knots in the physical sciences.

After serving as associate director for Institute for Mathematics and Its Applications at the University of Minnesota (IMA), Cheri Shakiban has returned to St. Thomas as a full time mathematics professor. However, she has been appointed as the associate director for diversity at IMA on a part-time bases and has been serving in that capacity since September 2008. Currently Shakiban is organizing a workshop at IMA on Career Options for Women in Mathematical Sciences, to take place April 2-4, 2009 at the IMA. This workshop aims to familiarize women in the mathematical sciences with professional opportunities in industry and government labs and to help them thrive in these fields. There are over 100 women who have registered to participate in this workshop. Please see http://www.ima.umn.edu/2008-2009/SW4.2-4.09/ for details.

The Department of Mathematics welcomed Dr. Inna Baygusheva a visitor from Russia. Her host was Prof. Arkady Shemyakin. She observed courses in Actuarial Science and discussed the Actuarial program at St. Thomas with St. Thomas faculty. She and her colleagues in Russia are creating an Actuarial Science program at her home institution. (submitted by Doug Dokken)

University of Sioux Falls

Joy Lind presented "Mathematical Modeling with Graphs" at the annual Women in Science Career Day at Southeast Technical Institute in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on March 12. Over 400 eighth grade girls from middle schools in and around Sioux Falls attended this event. (submitted by Shawn Chiappetta)

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 April 24, 2009 at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota immediately prior to the NCS Spring Meeting. Details about the MAA-NCS Section NExT program and its spring meeting may be found at http://pages.usiouxfalls.edu/maa/next/index.html.

Conferences and Activities

30th Annual Pi Mu Epsilon Conference

Come and bring your students to the

30th Annual Pi Mu Epsilon Conference

April 17 and 18, 2009 at St. John's University

featuring the inimitable Joe Gallian and many student speakers.

Contact Kris Nairn (knairn@csbsju.edu) for more information.

North Central Section Workshop on Program Review

Friday, April 24, 2009

3:30 to 5:30 pm

at Hamiline University

Robbins Science Center - 5

Program review can be a valuable way to renew a department, but it can also be intimidating. This workshop will provide a useful introduction to both the self study and outside consultant parts of program review. Matt Richie (St. Olaf), who serves on the national MAA Committee of Program Review, will give an overview of the process, the MAA committee's insights and a discussion of brand new MAA materials for program review. (These materials will be available for the first time at the book sale.) Participants will then split into two parallel sessions. One session, led by Jennifer Galovich (St. John's) and Jeff Anderson (Winona State), will discuss the internal self study. The second, led by Matt Richie and Deanna Haunsperger (Carleton), will discuss outside consultants - both what to look for in a consultant and how to become one yourself.

CAM Colloquium Series (University of St. Thomas)

All presentations will be held in the 3M Auditorium in the Owens Science Hall, starting at 3:00 PM.

MAA-North Central Section 2009 Summer Seminar


A Hands-On Approach to Computational Combinatorial Geometry

Principal Lecturer: Professor Jesús De Loera, University of California, Davis

Location: St. John's University, Collegeville, MN

Dates: July 19-24, 2009

Contact: Jennifer Galovich jgalovich@csbsju.edu

The Program: It is undeniable that computers have changed the way we create and teach mathematics. Even classical old subjects such as geometry have not been immune to this influence. Among the most beautiful parts of geometry is combinatorial geometry, which deals with questions of geometric structures composed of finitely many elements. Examples of key structures include convex polytopes, hyperplane arrangements and point configurations. In this short course we introduce the audience to some fascinating computational problems that are at the same time profoundly deep and important but are beautiful and simple to understand. We will include daily hands-on laboratories using POLYMAKE and TOPCOM. Each day will be divided into theory and practice/exercise sessions. Topics of study include:

The Lecturer: Jesús De Loera is a member of the Mathematics faculty University of California, Davis, where his interests in discrete and computational geometry have afforded him regular crossover contacts as a member of the graduate groups in Applied Mathematics and Computer Science programs. Dr. De Loera received his B.S. in Mathematics from the National University in Mexico, and his Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from Cornell University. Prior to his current role at UC Davis, Professor De Loera has held positions at the Geometry Center at the University of Minnesota, the Swiss Federal Technology Institute, the Mathematical Sciences Institute at Berkeley (where he organized a special semester on Discrete and Computational Geometry), and the Universität Magdeburg in Germany. Dr. De Loera's research has been recognized through an Alexander von Humboldt Award. His teaching and service to students has been widely recognized; among the honors he has received at UC Davis are 2003 Chancellor's Fellow, 2006 Diversity Award, and 2007 Award for Excellence in Service to Graduate Students.

Future Section Meetings

Fall 2009 University of North Dakota October 23-24
Spring 2010 University of St. Thomas April 23-24
Fall 2010 University of Sioux Falls TBA

Information for Contributors

Submissions should be sent electronically (preferred method) to the shawn.chiappetta@usiouxfalls.edu or mailed to:

Shawn Chiappetta

Natural Sciences Area

University of Sioux Falls

1101 W. 22nd Street

Sioux Falls, South Dakota 57105

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