Rocky Mountain Section Newsletter
Fall 1999

1999 - 2000 Section Officers


Bill Emerson, Metropolitan State College of Denver 303-556-3930


John Brown, Western State College 970-943-2170


Patrick Enright, Arapahoe Community College


Shahar Boneh, Metropolitan State College of Denver 303-556-2604

Newsletter Editor, Secretary/Treasurer

Janet Heine Barnett, University of Southern Colorado 719-549-2540

2000 Program Chair

Darel Hardy, Colorado State University 970-491-1037

Section Website Address

Website Editor

Bill Briggs, University of Colorado at Denver

Bill Briggs Named 1999 Distinguished Teacher

In 1991, the MAA Board of Governors established Section Awards for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics to recognize mathematics teachers who are extraordinarily successful at the post-secondary level. The Rocky Mountain Section Award is named in honor of Burton W. Jones, a lifelong advocate of excellence in teaching and a strong supporter of the members and programs of the MAA. In addition to being honored with a certificate and check, award recipients are invited to deliver the opening address at the following year's spring meeting.

Criteria for this award require more than merely effective teaching. Awardees are expected to be outstanding teachers who foster excitement about mathematics in their students, and who are widely recognized both within and beyond their own institution. This year's recipient clearly meets these criteria.

Professor Bill Briggs of the University of Colorado at Denver is recognized as one of the best teachers within the University of Colorado system, a distinction which was formally recognized in 1992 when he was named a President's Teaching Scholar. More importantly, Bill's teaching excellence is widely attested to by his students … whether they be freshmen liberal arts students, undergraduate mathematics or engineering majors, or graduate mathematics students. At all levels, Bill gives freely of his time and energy to help students achieve a high level of success, doing so in a manner which is both non-intimidating and inspiring.

Bill's outstanding ability in the classroom also translates into excellent expository writing. His A Multigrid Tutorial is a SIAM best-seller, and his The DFT (co-authored with V. Henson) is also highly regarded. Both books have received high praise from mathematicians such as Gilbert Strang for their clear, direct exposition of important mathematics. Bill's most recent book, Using and Understanding Mathematics (co-authored with J. Bennett), brings this same depth of effort and expertise to the critical issue of quantitative literacy for our citizenry.

Bill's work on the textbook Using and Understanding Mathematics is just one piece of evidence of his desire and ability to promote mathematics and an understanding of its role in today's world at all levels. He is the UCD Mathematics Department's liaison to area high schools, and meets regularly with teachers participating in the CU-Succeed Gold program. He coordinates teaching workshops for the department's graduate teaching assistants to ensure quality instruction in the courses they teach. In his non-existent free time, Bill also serves as editor of our section webpage.

Bill's dedication to his students and the promotion of mathematics, his talents as an expositer and a teacher, and his genuine modesty about his own contributions serve as an inspiration to us all. It is a great pleasure to see his excellence recognized with the Burton W. Jones Distinguished Teaching Award. We look forward with equal pleasure to Bill's Opening Address at the upcoming Spring meeting!

Faculty Updates

Colorado State University

ISETA (The International Society for Exploring Teaching Alternatives) recognized Gloria Balderrama for her contributions to the organization by awarding her an Arizona State University clock.

Professor Aubrey B. Poore was issued U.S. Patent Number 5,959,574 on September 28, 1999 for his Method and System for Tracking Multiple Regional Objects by Multidimensional Relaxation. Professor Poore has also been invited to contribute a chapter to an upcoming book on Nonlinear Assignment Problems.

Congratulations to our infamous soccer coach, Jim Thomas, who has led his U11 Gold Arsenal Soccer team to a State Cup Championship!

New Faces at CSU this year include two new regular faculty, Chris Peterson and Holger Kley, both of whom work in Algebraic Geometry, and postdoc Kendra Killpatrick, who works in Combinatorics. Laurie Brandvold is a returning Colorado State alum after a ten-year absence. She holds a temporary appointment serving in the capacity of Associate Director of the Individualized Mathematics Program.

Fort Lewis College

Pamela Smith completed her Ed.D. from Temple and is promoted to Assistant Professor.

We are hiring three new faculty for the coming year due to the retirements or resignations of Gary Grefsrud, Ray Williams, and Tom Schaffter. Dick Gibbs and Cliff Capp are currently on transitional contracts which expire in the spring of 2001. Harry Rosenberg retired two years ago. Hence, there will be many new faces in the future.

This year Lenny Wolff is visiting FLC, on a sabbatical leave to study CSIS and math. He is also helping us by teaching a few courses.

Annette Cooper and Dick Gibbs continue with the American Mathematics Competitions. Each Sunday for the past 14 years the Durango Herald prints another of Dick Gibbs' Puzzle Corners. The one last week was number 735.

University of Colorado, Boulder

Professors Albert Lundell, Robert MacRae and Rebekka Struik retired last year (1998-99).

Professor Bin Wang, who works in algebraic geometry, has been hired and will begin his tenure in Boulder in the fall of 2000.

University of Northern Colorado

Professor Robert Mayes was promoted to Full Professor.

Professor Guershon Harel spent two weeks teaching in our Education Mathematics PhD program during Summer 1999. Dr. Konstantine Zelator of Pittsburgh, PA was hired for a one year term appointment. Professors Helen Gerretson and Jennifer Luebeck, two mathematics educators, have just completed their first year .

The RMTEC grant spearheaded reform in core math courses for preservice teachers. We are diligent in employing cooperative groups, appropriate use of technology, writing, and alternative assessments in discrete, linear, abstract and geometry as a continuation of reform efforts in calculus. Professors Jeff Farmer and Helen Gerretson acquired a $50,000 Eisenhower grant to work with elementary teachers; Professors Bill Blubaugh and Jennifer Luebeck secured a $50,000 Eisenhower grant working with Secondary teachers.

Professor Bob Mayes is assistant director of the Center for Pre-collegiate Studies and Outreach. CPSO is also interested in developing grant opportunities with other universities.

Our calculus lab has been upgraded - all sections use Mathematica. We are also close to a $26 million building renovatation which will build a new addition to house Biology and Chemistry, and renovate old Ross Hall for Mathematics and others.

University of Southern Colorado

John Gill is in his third and final year of partial retirement, although no one expects him to ever fully retire from mathematics (or climbing). We hope to be able to fill the position he vacates, even though we will be unable to truly replace him.

Jim Derr returned this fall after a year-long faculty exchange at Clark University in Worcester, MA. Janet Barnett also returned from a year-long sabbatical spent in various locations, including mathematics history research tour of Paris.

Bruce Lundberg is currently on sabbatical leave, returning Fall 2000.

Hortensia Soto-Johnson and Paul Chacon organized the first USC Math Camp for Young Women during Summer 1999. Sixteen high school girls were provided with an introduction to probability and statistics, experiences with Euclidean and non-Euclidean geometry, a sense of college life, and an opportunity to interact with women who have careers in math related fields during the week long camp.

Tammy Watkins is now in her second year as Coordinator of the USC Mathematics Learning Center, where she is doing wonderful things with both the Tutorial Center and our Group Learning Program in College Algebra.

Plans are stepping up for our upcoming building remodel. We look forward to showing it off as hosts of a section meeting once it's done!

Western State College

Mr. Glen Calkins will retire this spring. He started teaching in Leadville in 1965, and came to Western in 1973 as an adjunct professor. He was promoted to full-time in 1978.

Other Section News

Nominations Requested

Nominees are now being sought for the position of 2001 - 2003 Section Chair. This individual will serve a one-year term as Chair Elect beginning April 2000, as well as a one-year term as Past Chair ending April 2004. The election will take place at the 2000 Spring Section Meeting in Fort Collins. If you would like more information about the position and its responsibilities, please contact the Section Secretary. To make a nomination, please contact the Nomination Committee Chair (Hortensia Soto-Johnson, University of Southern Colorado,, 719-549-2733).

New Higher Ed Representative on CCTM Governing Board

Kelly Chappell, assistant professor of Mathematics Education at Colorado State University, was recently appointed to a two-year term as Higher Education Representative on the Colorado Council of Teachers of Mathematics Governing Board. In addition to her primary responsibility of serving the CCTM in support of their mission to improve K-12 mathematics education in our state, Kelly will serve as a liaison between the CCTM and the Rocky Mountain MAA on issues and projects of mutual interest. Thanks for you willingness to serve, Kelly, and congratulations!

Upcoming Conference

The Rocky Mountain Teacher Education Collaborative and the University of Southern Colorado will sponsor the Third Annual RMTEC Winter Conference to be held Saturday February 5, 2000. Last year's very successful conference was held at the University of Northern Colorado and focused on geometry. This year we will focus on high school and college algebra issues, as well as differential equations. The keynote speaker will be Robert Devaney from Boston University. The author of several textbooks in dynamical systems theory, Devaney has also written "Chaos, Fractals, and Dynamics: Computer Experiments in Modern Mathematics" and "A Tool Kit of Dynamics Acitivities," both targeted at high school students and teachers. Sessions will be held for both high school and college teachers. For information about the conference, contact Hortensia Soto-Johnson at 719-549-2733 or

Colorado Students Recognized for Mathematics Excellence

On May 20, 1999, the Fourth Annual Colorado Mathematics Awards Ceremony was held at the Governor's Executive Residence in Denver. Organized by Dick Gibbs of Fort Lewis College, this event recognized 51 Colorado students for their outstanding performances on five national mathematics competitions: the American Junior High School Mathematics Examination (AJHSME), MATHCOUNTS, the American High School Mathematics Examination (AHSME), the William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition and the Mathematical Contest in Modeling. The AJHSME, AHSME and Putnam Competitions are sponsored programs of the national MAA, which also provides support for the other two competitions.

On the Putnam exam, the top individual finishers were Tao He (University of Colorado, Boulder; Coach Gordon Brown); Fritz Obermeyer, Jonathan Cross and Matthew Kahle (Colorado State University; Coach Dick Osborne). The top Putnam team was also from Colorado State University: Fritz Obermeyer, Paul Orr and Matthew Kahle, again coached by Dick Osborne.

Two Colorado Teams were also recognized for Meritorious Rankings on the Mathematical contest in Modeling: Lachlan Belcher, Erik Johnson and Steve Ramsey II (USAFA, Coach Major Dawn Stewart) and Meredith Elrod, Shane Holloway and Nicholaus Sanford (UCCS, Coach Holly Zullo).

Congratulations, students and coaches! Special thanks are also due to Dick Gibbs for all his hard work, both as organizer of this event, and for his many years of service on the National MAA Committee on the American Mathematics Competitions.

Department Liaison Network

As of press time, Departmental Liaisons have been appointed in 43 of the 47 schools in the Rocky Mountain Section. As part of a national network, your liaison serves as a vital link between the national MAA, the section executive committee and your institution. For more information about the program, please contact your liaison or any of the section officers. A complete list of departmental liaisons in our section can be found on the section webpage.

News from the National

MAA's CUPM Launches Curriculum Initiative

The Committee on the Undergraduate Program in Mathematics (CUPM) kicked off a major curriculum initiative during the recent Mathfest in Providence. CUPM has determined that their curriculum initiative will focus on what students should know and experience as they complete their mathematics requirements, including the types of problems students should be able to solve, the technology students should be able to utilize, and the mathematical and process skills that students should have. CUPM invites all MAA Members and Mathematical Sciences Departments to become involved in discussions by forming focus groups and forwarding your conclusions, along with information about your programs and students, to CUPM. To contribute to the curriculum discussion, send email to CUPM at or hard copy to Tom Berger, Chair of CUPM, Department of Mathematics, Colby College, Waterville, ME 04901. Email contributions are preferred. For more information about the CUPM initiative, visit

Proposed Bylaw Changes

The Board of Governors has approved changes in the Bylaws of the Association. Members will be asked to approve those changes at the Business Meeting of the MAA to be held on January 22, 2000 in Washington, DC. The primary effect of the recommended changes is to combine the Executive and Finance Committees into one committee to be known as the Executive Committee. The Audit Committee would be elected by the Board, as is our current practice and its two members are members of the Board. Over the years, the Executive and Finance Committees sometimes have met together and at other times met separately, usually at the discretion of the President of the Association. Many topics are discussed in one of the committees and then the discussion has been repeated in the combined meeting of the two committees. This seemed to be redundant and wasteful since almost every decision is made jointly. For a complete text of the proposed bylaws, visit


The Ad Hoc Committee to Study the MONTHLY is soliciting reactions to and suggestions for the MONTHLY. This committee serves under the MAA Committee on Publications. It continues a series of studies of MAA journals conducted prior to the search leading to the appointment of a new editor. The committee's report is due by the end of December, 1999, and so we urge MAA members and other readers to respond promptly with their comments. For more information, including addresses of committee members, visit

Searchable Databases Expanded

The searchable database of articles published in Mathematics Magazine has been expanded to include articles from the College Mathematics Journal. One hundred years of the American Mathematical Monthly are also now available for searching and browsing on JSTOR. For more information, visit

CSU to Host 2000 Section Meeting

Plans are now under way for the 2000 Spring Section Meeting, to be held at Colorado State University, April 7 - 8!

The meeting will be opened with an address by our 1999 Burton W. Jones Distinguished Teaching Award Recipient, Professor Bill Briggs of CU-Denver.

We are also fortunate to have two excellent national speakers scheduled for the meeting. Our Keynote Speaker will be Professor Jim Tattersall, Associate Secretary of the MAA. A historian of mathematics, Professor Tattersall will speak on `Mathematics at Cambridge University in the Nineteenth Century'. To quote our program chair, "What could be more appropriate than a look at history in the year 2000?"

Professor Joseph Gallian will also deliver a Polya Lecture entitled "Breaking Drivers' License Codes" on Friday afternoon. The Polya Lecturer Program is supported by the National MAA to promote excellence in Mathematics Exposition. Professor Gallian is one of two current Polya Lecturers. He holds many teaching and exposition awards, including the MAA Trevor Evans Award for Exposition, the MAA Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching, and the MAA Allendoerfer Award for Exposition. He has authored several textbooks and numerous papers, and served as supervisor for over 70 student papers which have been accepted for publication in mainstream journals. In his talk, Professor Gallian will discuss how he was able to break codes used for assigning drivers' license numbers in several different states. This talk illustrates an important problem-solving technique that is not emphasized in mathematics classes, while teaching the lesson that things done just for the sake of curiosity can have applications.

Rounding out the scientifc program will be talks contributed by intelligent, involved and inspirational people like you! Student presentations are especially encouraged --- registration for students is free, and all student speakers receive a complimentary one-year membership in the MAA as well.

A Speaker Response Form can be found on page 9 of this newsletter. Registration and hotel information will be mailed early in the Spring semester.

For more information about the meeting, or to make suggestions concerning the program, please contact Program Chair Darel Hardy ( .

First Call for Papers

2000 Annual Meeting

The deadline for submission of abstracts for the 2000 Spring Section Meeting is February 29, 2000.

Proposals received from students and MAA members after this date will be scheduled on a first-come, first-scheduled, space-available basis.

Proposals from non-members who are sponsored by MAA members must reach the program organizers by the deadline to be included in the program.

Please indicate whether you are member of the MAA, along with any preference for scheduled time (Friday afternoon or Saturday morning) and requested length of talk when submitting your abstract. In past years, most talks have been 15 - 20 minutes in length.

Every reasonable effort will be made to accommodate individual preferences within the constraints of the schedule.

Please make sure your title and abstract provide as accurate a description of your talk as possible within the word limit.

Suggestions for special topic sessions, workshops and panel discussions are also being sought at this time.

If you have are interested in organizing a special topic session, a panel discussion, or a workshop ----- or if you know of a topic which would be of particular interest for the meeting ---- please contact the Program Chair Darel Hardy ( now!

Speaker Response Form - Due 29 February 2000

Speaker Name .

Institution .

Mailing Address .

Email Address Phone Number .

Faculty Sponsor* .

MAA Member Sponsor** .

Title of Talk: .


Abstract (100 words or less): .







Check here if your talk is appropriate for students: .

Requested talk length: .

Special Equipment Needs: .

Schedule Preference: .


(Note: e-mail submissions are preferred)

Professor Darel Hardy


Department of Mathematics

121 Engineering

Colorado State University

Fort Collins, CO 80523-0001

* For student speakers only ** For non-MAA members/non-students only

Math of Ages - 99*


- Niccolo Fontana is born in Brescia, the son of a humble mail rider. When the French capture Brescia in 1512, he is dealt horrific sabre wounds that cut his palate. In later life, he can only speak with difficulty --- hence his nickname Tartaglia, or stammerer. Tartaglia is remembered for his discovery of the solution to cubics of the form x3+px=q, a solution known today as Cardano's Formula for the gambler and mathematician who first published it in his book Ars Magna.


- Tycho Brahe is appointed Imperial Mathematician to the Holy Roman Emperor, Rudolph II, in Prague. Kepler joins him there later as an assistant, to help with mathematical calculations. Tycho intends this work to prove that the Earth was at rest in the center of the Universe, with the Sun in orbit round it.


- Sharp uses a result by Gregory to get 71 correct digits of p,

- Malebrache, known for his research infinitesimal calculcus, is elected to the Académie des Sciences. His treatise on the nature of light and color is published the same year.


- Gaëtana Agnesi, author of an early mathematics textbook who is remembered today for the curve known as "The Witch of Agnesi, dies on 9 January 1799 in Milan.

- Lacroix has two major textbooks appear during this period: Traité Calcul Differéntiel et Intégral (3 volumes) and Cours de Mathématique (10 volumes).

- Monge returns to Paris on 16 October 1799 (following Napoleon's Egyptian debacle) to resume the directorship of the Ecole Polytechnique. He learns that his Géométrie Descriptive was published earlier that year. Later that year, Napoleon seizes power in a coup and names Monge a senator for life in his new Consulate

- The first two (of five) volumes of Laplaces's Traité Mécanique Céleste appear.

- Gauss submits a doctoral dissertation to the University of Helmstedt in which the first proof of the fundamental theorem of algebra appears.


- Hilbert's Grundlagen der Geometrie is published, putting geometry in the formal axiomatic setting which remains influential throughout the 20th century.

- Cantor is granted a leave from teaching for the winter semester, during which time his youngest son died. As a result, Cantor suffers his first bout of the depression which was to plague him throughout the rest of his life.

- Marcus Sophus Lie dies in Kristiania (now Oslo) Norway on 18 February 1899.

- Borel develops a systematic theory for divergent series.

- Baire publishes his doctoral thesis on limit function of continuous functions under Volterra and Darboux.

* Historical details courtesy of St. Andrew's History website,

More Math in 99 - Adams State College Meeting Report

The 1999 Annual Spring Section Meeting was hosted by Adams State College the weekend of April 30 - May 1. Approximately 100 participants attended, including 22 student registrants. The meeting was opened by our 1998 Burton W. Jones Distinguished Teacher Award Recipient, Professor Monte Zerger of Adams State College, with a talk entitled A Visit with the Number Six. Friday evening's banquet talk, Calculus Books, was delivered by Professor Underwood Dudley, editor of College Mathematics Journal and author of numerous popular expository books. Professor Dudley also delivered Saturday morning's Keynote Address, Formulas for Primes. A second invited address delivered by Professor John Fauvel of The Open University, UK, provided yet another treat for meeting attendees. Internationally recognized for his work in the History of Mathematics and its use in teaching, Professor Fauvel spoke on Florian Cajori: History and the teaching of mathematics in the Rocky Mountains, a topic with both global and local interest.

In addition to the four invited addresses, a total of thirty contributed paper talks were given, including ten by students. Kudos to Professor Ed Adams, Adams State College, for organizing a superb program. A special feature of Saturday's program was a set of fourteen workshops for K-12 teachers which formed the core of the CCTM Miniconference held jointly with our meeting. Thanks to UCAN for co-sponsoring the CCTM Miniconference, and to organizer Nancy Budner, Adams State College. Presentation titles for all talks presented at the meeting appear below.

The weekend meeting schedule also included the usual Saturday Early A.M Business Meeting; see page 13 for the meeting minutes.

Of course, no Rocky Mountain Section meeting is truly complete without a traditional spring snow storm, and the indoor oppportunties it provides for informal exchanges with distant colleagues. Adams State's beautiful new facilities, with a Foucault's Pendulum as a centerpiece, was an ideal spot to catch up with old and new acquaintices. Many thanks to the Adams State College Mathematics and Computer Science Deparment for your hospitaltiy!


Chaos in the Solar System, Paul Anderson, Metropolitan State College of Denver

Chaos Theory in the Social Sciences: Simple Theories in a Messy World,

Amelia Canavan, Metropolitan State College of Denver

Expected Number of Jobs in a Queuing System, Jared Enriquez & Jon Wright, Regis University

The Magical World of M. C. Escher, Megan Hamliton & Anessa Pobrick, Regis University

Approximate Distributions of Chaotic Orbits, Mark H. Jones, US Air Force Academy

Fractal Data Compression, Andrew Levad, Metropolitan State College of Denver

Love and the Area of a Rose, Sean McDonald & Aaron Mattley, Regis University

Shift Maps and the Sequence of Fibonacci, Steve A. Ramsey II, US Air Force Academy

Modeling the Capacity of a Room, Jennifer Stapleton & Stephen Heck, Regis University

Evidence for Chaos in the Locomotion of Some Birds and Perhaps Fish,

Tessa Weinstien, Amelia Canavan & Andrew Levad, Metropolitan State College of Denver


The Amazing Sophie Germain, Katie Baumhover, Adams State College

Collge Algebra Reform: Documenting Student Attitudes and Performance,

Kelly Chappell & Darel Hardy, Colorado State University

Geometry and the Infinite, Cathleen Craviotto & Jeff Farmer, University of Northern Colorado

Geometry of the Quarternions, Harold Davenport, Mesa State College

Mathematics Animations for Partial Differential Equations,

Bill Emerson, Metropolitan State College of Denver

Predicting Student Success in College Algebra, Patrick Enright, Arapahoe Community College

Probabilities of Consecutive Integers in Lotto, Jim Hagler & Stan Gudder

Mathematics and Multimedia, Larry Johnson & Peggy O'Neill-Jones, Metropolitan State College of Denver

Resources for Exploring Zipf's Law,

Roger Johnson, Linda Alexander & John Wiess, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

Why do Physics in Calculus?, Sara Jones, University of Southerm Colorado

Going to Great Lengths: Observing the Transit of Venus in 1761 and 1769,

Thomas Kelley, Metropolitan State College of Denver

Symmetry in Imagination, Real Life, and Mathematics, Brigitte Lahme, Colorado State University

Complex Numbers and Trigonometry: A geometric approach to the addition formulas for sine and cosine,

and Euler's formula ei q=cosq + i sinq, Alexander Lemberg

Problem Solving, Modeling and Data Analysis Assignments in College Algebra and Trigonometry,

LuAnn Malik, Arapahoe Community College

History of the Rocky Mountain Section of the MAA, William C. Ramaley, Fort Lewis College

Statistical Condition Estimation, Michael Reese, Adams State College

Advanced modeling: Can it be done on a PC with "Mathematica"?,

Igor Szczyrba, University of Northern Colorado

Critiques of Impure Reform, Louis A. Talman, Metropolitan State College of Denver

Determinants and Inverses of Some Structures Matrices, William Trench, Divide CO

Writing in Mathematics, Dick Walker, Fort Lewis College

Research at the Lower Undergraduate Level, Gregg Waterman, Mesa State College


Mathematics and Baseball: Teammates All the Way, Cindy Bervig, Adams State College

Writing In Math: Six Traits of Writing in Mathematics, Debra Binnian, Sierra Grande School

Two of Everything: Assessment in Primary Grades, Nancy Budner, Adams State College

Welcome to the Titanic, Nancy Budner, Adams State College

`Area Under the Curve' Does Have Meaning, Dolores Dean, Holy Family High School

Making Secondary Math More Visual by Using Algebra Tiles,

Dolores Dean, Holy Family High School

Stick Figures _ Toothpick Geometry, Norma Eldredge, Monte Vista Middle School

Mayan Mathematics, Lloyd Garcia

Developing K-8 Teachers Geometric Perspective,

Jennifer Luebeck & Helen Gerretson, University of Northern Colorado

Moving Beyond the Mundane: Using Multiple Models to Motivate Proportional Reasoning

Jennifer Luebeck & Helen Gerretson, University of Northern Colorado

Internet for Teachers, Antoinette Martinez, Antonito Jr.-Sr. High School

What? Robots in the Classroom? (And a Little Bit of Algebra), Steve Roach, Adams State College

Modeling Motion, Erwin Romero, Centauri High School

Micro Worlds — The New and Improved LOGO, George Sellman, Adams State College

Using Alternative Assessment Practices in the 3 - 8th Grade Classroom,

Lynn Sutphen, Centauri Middle School

Using Alternative Assessment Practices in the 9 - 12th Grade Classroom,

Lynn Sutphen, Centauri Middle School

1999 Business Meeting Report

The meeting was called to order by the Chair, Shahar Boneh, at 8am, May 1, 1998. The minutes of the meeting for the preceding year were approved, as was the financial report. In summary, we had $6719.54 on April 12, 1998 and $7796.39 on April 30, 1999 Of this amount, $2945.61 is encumbered in some form.

Patrick Enright of Arapahoe Community College was elected Vice-Chair. He will serve a two-year term. Janet Barnett of University of Southern Colorado was elected Secretary/Treasurer. This is a three-year term (and she is eligible for re-election!). Our new Section Governor is Bill Emerson of Metropolitan State College of Denver.

The Section Activities Grants program was discussed. In order to create a process for reviewing grants, it was decided that the Chair of the Section would appoint the review committee. Several questioners from the floor asked if we truly had funds available for such grants? Boneh answered that there was no current fund available, but that there did not have a be a special fund. Al Skillman pointed out the Executive Committee always had veto power and the lack of available funds would be one reason for not approving a grant. Bill Emerson suggested that no grants be provided until we did have designated monies.

The following motion had been circulated to all the members of the Section in the fall of 1998. There was no discussion concerning it and it was approved unanimously:

Motion on Guidelines for Presentations at Rocky Mountain Section Meetings

MAA members will be scheduled if their titles are received by the program deadline. The deadline is established by the host institution, but is usually 4 to 6 weeks prior to the meeting. If a title is received late, MAA members will be accommodated on a space-available basis. Presenters who are not members of the MAA must be sponsored by a member of the MAA. If a meeting is a joint meeting with another organization, such as the CCTM, the above guidelines only apply to sessions identified as being MAA.

Because of a change in our officer structure, the Distinguished Teaching Award Committee will have as a member, either the Past Chair, or the Chair Elect, whichever is currently in office.

The Section moved to thank Adams State College and all of the math/cs faculty and students who had worked to make this such a successful meeting. The meeting ended during a snowstorm, as it had begun.

The Section meeting will be held at Colorado State University in 2000 and at Western State University in 2001

Respectively submitted, William C. Ramaley, Secretary Treasurer

Governor's Report

The Board of Governors held their semi-annual meeting at the Math Fest in Providence, Rhode Islance last August. As with all large committees, much of the business was routine. However, there were a few items that I thought the section might like to know about.

The General Fund had a surplus of $374,455 in 1998 restoring a positive balance to the fund which had been depleted due to the1995-96 reorganization. The surplus was achieved, despite a drop in income due to a decrease in membership, through containing costs and by cutting back funds spent on programs and member services.

There has been a decrease in membership which should be of concern to all members of the Association. While memberships by senior faculty appear to be holding steady, the major decline is in memberships by junior faculty. The reasons for this reduction in members is not totally clear; there is speculation that junior faculty do not realize the benefits of membership or that they do not believe the benefits are worth the cost of membership. I'd be interested in any thoughts that members of the section have about this situation. Are we witnessing this trend locally?

Finally, Marcia Sward is resigning as Executive Director of the MAA after long years of exceptional service. The Board of Governors voted to offer the position to Dr. Tina H. Straley from Kennesaw State University in Georgia. She was a Program Officer at the National Science Foundation from 1993-95 and has been an active MAA member both on the sectional and national levels.

Executive Committee Seeks Input

Recent discussions of the Executive Committee have focused on the following two initiatives sponsored by the section.

Section Activity Grants. Established by the section membership in April 1995, the purpose of this program fund is to provide support to individual section members for activities which promote the section mission statement. When first established, the section membership approved the expenditure of $1000 from the General Fund to finance an initial round of grants. The Executive Committee was instructed at that time to seek other additional funds to continue the program. To date, however, only one funding request has been received (and later withdrawn), so that the original funds set aside for the program have yet to be expended. Before pursuing additional funding sources to increase that amount, it seems worth asking why so few proposals have been forthcoming to date. Has there been too little promotion of the program? Is the grant amount ($500) simply too small to be use? Are member activities which support the section mission being funded through other sources, making the program unnecessary? Are the goals of the program insufficiently clear?

Professional Linkage Committee. First established by the section membership in April 1994, this initiative was re-affirmed by the membership on two additional occasions (April 1997 and April 1998). The stated purpose of the committee is to address issues of collaboration and coordination with other professional organizations in our region. The motion approved at the Spring 1998 Meeting further limits committee membership to six individuals: the section chair (or his/her designee) as a representative of 4-year colleges, the section vice-chair (or his/her designee) as a representative of 2-year colleges, and the NCTM Representative of the four NCTM affiliates in the geographical region constituting our Section. Currently, only the CCTM has responded to our invitation to appoint their NCTM Representative to the Committee. Before pursuing additional contact with the other three NCTM Affiliates, it seems worth asking whether more specificity should be added to the charge of the committee. If so, what might the direction of that charge be? Would it be better to allow the Committee to develop a direction of its own, pursuing projects that arise in the natural course of events? In this latter regard, it would be interesting to know what sorts of collaborative projects already exist at the membership level between the MAA Section, COLOMATYC, CCTM and the other NCTM affiliates. To what extent and in what way could a formal committee be of assistance in further promoting such projects?

What direction would you like to see the Rocky Mountain Section take in the coming year relative to these initiatives? What other initiatives would you like to see the section pursue? Please send your input to any section officer (contact information on inside cover). See also Governor Bill Emerson's request for input on yet another issue of relevance to our section.

Another Query

Ron Loser, Adams State College, asks:

How are mathematics departments around the state of Colorado responding to SB 99-229 (that bases at 75% of funding increases on meeting CCHE performance indicators)? The proposed standards of CCHE for meeting the institutional actions have implications for mathematics curriculum at all public colleges and universities.

Send your comments to either Ron Loser (reloser@ or Janet Barnett ( A summary of comments will be forwarded to all respondents, and posted electronically to all Department Liaisons for distribution to faculty in their departments.

From the Editor

What would you like to see in the newsletter? Your suggestions for regular columns and features are needed now! Volunteers to write regular features are also most welcome. In particular, anyone serving on a national committee for the MAA is invited to submit a report for the newsletter. Most of all, wouldn't a new cover logo be nice? Please send your suggestions and art renderings to Janet Barnett (



To promote excellence in mathematics education,

especially at the collegiate level.


1. To foster scholarship, professional development, and professional cooperation among the various constituencies of the mathematical community within the region.

2. To foster the implementation and study of recent research recommendations for the teaching, learning and assessment of collegiate mathematics.

3. To support the implementation of effective mathematics preparation programs of prospective teachers at all levels.

4. To enhance the interests, talents and achievements of all individuals in mathematics, especially of members of underrepresented groups.

5. To provide recognition of the importance of mathematics, mathematical research and quality mathematics teaching, and promote public understanding of the same.

6. To provide regional leadership in the promotion of systemic change in mathematics education, and in the enhancement of public understanding about the needs and importance of mathematical research and education.