I attended the Board of Governors' Meeting on January 4, 2007 in New Orleans, LA. Much of the business conducted during the actual full meeting of the board was somewhat minimal with very few action items on which to vote and those are more of an internal nature. The various committees spent much of time listening to reports with the opportunity for reaction. A number of these items can be found on the MAA website. Of particular interest to our section is that the Committee on Sections has its template for bylaws that we followed in updating our own section bylaws.
By far the most interesting discussions occur during the focus group sessions where we break off into smaller groups to discuss various topics put forth by the executive committee. The first issue that came up in there was that of trying to bring more graduate students into the MAA. The perception is that the MAA does a good job of recruiting undergraduates, but typically is in the background for graduate students as they focus more on the AMS at this point in their careers since the AMS is more specific research oriented. The MAA seems to come back on graduate students' radarscope when they start looking for jobs. It was brought out that this is not really a competition between the MAA and AMS, but we need to be able to fill the needs of graduate students that the AMS cannot fill as well. Endeavors such as Project NExT and PFF have done a good job of this for graduate students who will be entering academia. There is an idea that the needs of graduate students entering industry are not being met as well. One of the suggestions was that the MAA would put together an MAA industry speakers list and would fund a speaker for each section, though no details for this have been discussed yet.
In other news, the MAA Carriage House is scheduled to open this April. It is still not clear to me how the general membership is going to utilize this facility, as I was not a governor during the planning stages of this. I plan on finding this out at Mathfest this summer if I can.