Governor's Report

By Luise-Charlotte Kappe, Fall 2003

The MAA Board of Governors met on July 30 in Boulder, CO, in conjunction with MathFest 2003. The meeting was well- attended, over a thousand registered participants. The Seaway Section was very visible, not only in numbers. You could not fail to notice that half of the six minicourses were organized by members from our section.

Further, I was pleased to learn that Olympia Nicodemi of SUNY Geneseo had been nominated for one of the three Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Teaching Awards for the year 2004. The Board approved Olympia and the other nominees and it was with enthusiasm that I could cast one of my first votes as governor for her. Olympia will receive her award in January at the Joint Meetings in Phoenix, AZ, and she will speak there, as well.

I can't help to add some statistics here. This is the second Haimo award for the Seaway Section, for SUNY Geneseo and for the family (Olympia's husband Gary Towsley received the award in 2000). This is definitely a first for the Haimo awards, having two of them in the same family, and Dr. Nicodemi was the first female winner of the teaching award of the section. Olympia, you can be proud of this and should feel second to none in your achievements. I always appreciated working with you in the section, in particular your tireless work on behalf of our Seaway NExT-PFF program. I am looking forward to the years to come. Congratulations Dr. Nicodemi!

The meeting was held at the University of Colorado with headquarters at the Millennium Harvest Hotel. The distance between the two venues made it sometimes difficult to attend all the events one would have liked to, in particular someone like me who had to attend a lot of meetings. But I managed to steal away for one afternoon to visit NCAR (National Center for Atmospheric Research) with its beautiful campus, an early I.M. Pei design, blended well into the majestic landscape with the Flat Irons as a backdrop.

As a new governor, I participated in an orientation session the night prior to the Governors Meeting, as well as the eight hour meeting the next day. We moved quickly through the agenda of over 100 pages and the day was not the ordeal I had anticipated. Ron Graham reflected on his first six months as President. He discussed the gift of Paul and Virginia Halmos that will allow the Carriage House at MAA Headquarters in DC to be converted into a conference center.

Financially, the MAA is in good shape, as John Kenelly, the new treasurer pointed out. That could not have been said for the past few years. Kenelly said that the finance team is like a duck - it looks smooth and graceful on the surface, but it is paddling like crazy underneath!

Martha Siegel said that the electronic voting for MAA officers went very well, and electronic voting will continue in national elections. Tina Straley gave a report on the first MAA Inter- national Study Tour to Greece. Grace Orzech, the governor-at- large for Canadian members, and I regretted that we could not have joined them. We hope for an encore in the future. The second such tour will go to England in spring 2004.

There is a change in deadline for the Haimo award. It is now March 1 instead of February 1. A new teaching award for young faculty, the Henry Alder prize, was announced. The deadline for nominations is December 15, 2003. For further details go to the MAA website. So far this is only a national award. But some sections are thinking about establishing such a prize in their section as a stepping stone for national nominations. I think this is a good idea and perhaps we should look into this.

At the luncheon for governors there is always a suggested topic for the conversation. This year it was about how to increase involvement of graduate students in the MAA, a topic I had suggested, doing double duty as governor and representative of the MAA Committee on Graduate Students. A few good ideas emerged, in particular on how to provide better membership services to graduate students. But there is actually very little done on all levels of the organization to make the MAA more attractive and affordable for graduate students.

We at the Seaway Section seem to be the only section to address graduate students' needs in our programming, in particular with our Section NExT/PFF. My presentation before the Section Officers Meeting about activities for graduate students in the sections was well received, as far as I can tell. The Committee on Graduate Students is off to a good start, but there is still a long way to go.