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JMM 2020 Blog

MAA Panels

MAA-SIAM-AMS Hrabowski-Gates-Tapia-McBay Session, organized by Carrie Diaz Eaton, Bates College; Wednesday, 9:00–10:20 am. The Hrabowski-Gates-Tapia-McBay Session is named after four influential scientists of color: (1) Freeman Hrabowski, President of the University of Maryland at Baltimore County; (2) James S. Gates, University of Maryland, College Park; (3) Richard Tapia, Rice University; and (4) Shirley McBay, President of Quality Education for Minorities (QEM). Through multiple mechanisms, these Sessions expect to facilitate and accelerate the participation of scientists in the building of sustainable communities of mathematicians and mathematical scientists. In particular, the intention is to systematically recruit, welcome, encourage, mentor, and support individuals from underrepresented groups in the USA. This year the session will consist of a lecture from 9:00-9:50 am given by Belin Tsinnajinnie, Santa Fe Community College, Moving from changing the faces of mathematics to changing who mathematics serves, and a short panel discussion to follow from 9:50-10:20 am. Panelists will include Emille Davie Lawrence, University of San Fransisco; Belin Tsinnajinnie, Santa Fe Community College; and William Yslas Vélez, University of Arizona.

MAA Panel: Assessment for Accreditation: Lots of Little Fish Make a Large School, organized by Regina Aragon, Eastern New Mexico University, and Mariah Birgen, Wartburg College, Wednesday, 9:00–10:20 am. At a large university there may be a person hired for the department to manage all the work required for an accreditation agency. At a small college, the burden of accreditation is added on top of all other expectations of faculty. These faculty can sometimes feel as if they are swimming furiously, but not getting anywhere. The panel will address questions like the following: How can a faculty member gather evidence to improve student learning as well as fulfill other requirements? How does this work with General Education requirements? Can you streamline the process by creating a measurement instrument that can be used across multiple courses? How do you include all department members, including part time faculty to participate in the process? How can accrediting agencies and departments incentivize "closing the assessment loop?" How can we make this process meaningful yet manageable? Why can’t we just use grades? The goal of the panel is to help you consider these questions from the point of view of an instructor, a member of a department, and of the accrediting agency. We want all the fish to be able to pull together and work, not only to improve their own classes, but to craft an assurance argument that provides evidence of value for the whole school. Panelists are Curtis Bennett, California State University, Long Beach, Bonnie Gold, Monmouth University, Stephanie Kolitsch, The University of Tennessee at Martin, Josephine Rodriguez, Western New England University, and Murphy Waggoner, Simpson College. This event is sponsored by the MAA Assessment Committee.

MAA Panel: What Every Student Should Know about the JMM, organized by Peri Shereen, California State University, Monterey Bay, and Violeta Vasilevska, Utah Valley University; Wednesday, 9:00–10:20 am. Navigating a large conference can be overwhelming, even for those who have previously attended such an event. Panelists are Joyati Debnath, Winona State University; Matt DeLong, Marian University, and Stephanie Edwards, Hope College, will provide guidance for students attending the Joint Mathematics Meetings, including answers to some common questions: How do I get the most out of the program? What sessions are especially for students? What other events should I be on the lookout for? Will I understand any of the invited addresses or should I not bother attending them? If I am presenting a poster, where do I go to set it up? How can I get some cool, free math stuff? Students and their faculty mentors are encouraged to attend. Panelists are Joyati Debnath, Winona State University, Matt DeLong, Marian University, and Stephanie Edwards, Hope College. This panel is sponsored by the MAA Committee for Undergraduate Students.

MAA Panel: Leveraging Social Media for the Greater Good of Mathematics, organized by Quinn A. Morris, Appalachian State University; Wednesday, 2:15–3:35 pm. As social media increasingly becomes the platform of choice for public discourse, more and more mathematicians are choosing to engage with the public and the academy via social media. Reasons for utilizing social media vary, but not engaging is no longer a neutral choice. As the public and our students continue to engage in this media, we are missing opportunities to engage with them through abstinence from social media.Of course, social media is not without its well-documented pitfalls. From trolling to doxxing, creating a social media presence and engaging with users in that space also opens one up to potential harm, and few mathematicians are prepared for such occurrences. The academy and corporate world both have given us many examples of the murky legal and ethical areas with which one can become entangled should they choose to engage in social media use.In this panel, we will discuss how social media is being used within the mathematical community, best practices for engaging in social media use, and, perhaps most importantly, how social media can be leveraged for the greater good of the mathematical community.Panelists are Madeline Alvis, Mathematical Association of America,  Anna Haensch, Duquesne University, Piper H., University of Hawaii at Manoa and Dave Richeson, Dickinson College.

MAA Panel: Strategies for Mid–Career Faculty, organized by Erin Martin, William Jewell College, and Azadeh Rafizadeh, William Jewell College, Wednesday, 2:15– 3:35 pm. Most graduate programs concentrate on training PhD students to do research successfully. For those interested, there are programs, workshops, and other resources such as MAA’s Project NExT to help recent PhDs transition to be new faculty members. Most non-tenured faculty begin their career being well-connected to active research, and they get eased into doing service both at their institution and in the discipline. Additionally, most colleges and universities have rigorous mechanisms in place to evaluate non-tenured faculty and provide them with meaningful feedback. However, once a faculty member is granted tenure (or its equivalent), there seems to be little or no support. Clearly the growth happens continuously, and this approach is not as effective as it could be. Many associate professors find themselves in a situation where they are disconnected from active research, or where they want to improve as teachers but have little support or resources, or they are overwhelmed by the service they are expected to provide to their institutions and possibly to the discipline. In this panel, we hope to explore some of these struggles in more detail and to have successful senior faculty on the panel share their strategies on how to navigate this stage. Also, we hope to raise awareness that there is a need for more support and opportunities for faculty as they make the transition past being a non-tenured junior faculty member to a full professor. Panelists are Erica Flapan, Pomona College/AMS, Michel Lapidus, University of California, Riverside/AMS, P. Gavin LaRose, University of Michigan, and T. Christine Stevens, St. Louis University/AMS.

MAA Panel: Students’ Perspectives on Undergraduate Research Experiences, organized by Allison Henrich, Seattle University, Maria Mercedes Franco, Queensborough Community College, CUNY, and Laramie Paxton, Marian University–Wisconsin; Wednesday, 6:00–7:00 pm. If you’re a faculty member with an interest in pursuing research with undergraduates, you may have a number of questions on your mind. For instance, what do students gain by doing an undergraduate research experience? What are some challenges they might encounter when doing research with a faculty member and, perhaps, a group of their peers? What are particular issues you should be aware of that students from underrepresented minority groups face? How might you, as a research mentor, make the experience a positive one for your students? On the other hand, if you’re a student considering doing research in mathematics, you might wonder what doing research for the first time is like. How can you prepare yourself for the experience? What tools might you use to overcome hurdles you encounter along the research path? How might doing research help you achieve your personal goals? One of the best ways to learn answers to these questions is by talking to people who have actually had research experiences as students. In this panel, current and former undergraduate researchers will reflect on their experiences, discuss what worked well, what didn’t, and how research experiences could be improved. Moderator for this panel will be Maria Mercedes Franco, Queensborough Community College, CUNY. Panelists will be Amelia Cantwell, University of Montana, Natasha Crepeau, Harvey Mudd, Esteban Escobar, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, Harold Jimenez Polo, University of Florida, and Vinny Jodoin, University of Tennessee. This panel is sponsored by the SIGMAA on Undergraduate Research.

MAA Panel: MAA Session for Chairs Topic: Equity, Diversity, Inclusion in the Mathematics Classroom, organized by Linda Braddy, Tarrant County College Northeast Campus, and Catherine Murphy, Purdue University Northwest; Thursday, 9:00–10:20 am. There are policy, practice and pedagogical issues which must be addressed in order to provide all students with pathways to academic success. The MAA's Instructional Practices Guide speaks to these issues within mathematics. Since mathematics is a subject which every student takes, mathematics faculty must be involved. Although solutions will be local an understanding of these issues from a national perspective will provide context for local discussions. Our panel will speak to this national perspective, thus guiding Department Chairs to start or continue discussions with their faculty. Panelists are Minerva Cordero, University of Texas at Arlington, Ricardo Cortez, Tulane University, Sandra Rucker, Clark Atlanta University, and Monica Y. Stephens, Spelman College.

MAA Panel: So You Want to Start an Undergraduate Statistics or Data Science Program?, organized by Lisa Carnell, High Point University and Alana Unfried, California State University, Monterey Bay; Thursday, 9:00–10:20 am. The demand for statistical and data science skills in the workplace continues to grow. In response, the number of Bachelor’s Degrees granted in Statistics has skyrocketed since 2010 to over 3,000 students annually. In 2015, Data Science was the fastest growing undergraduate STEM degree, with the number of data science degrees granted nearly doubling in four years (American Statistical Association). However, universities have had varying success with starting programs and recruiting the necessary faculty. For example, many searches for Statistics and Data Science faculty are unsuccessful for multiple years in a row. The Panelists come from a range of universities (small liberal arts, regional comprehensive, etc) with varying degree programs (minors and/or majors in Statistics and/or Data Science). Panelists will discuss the logistics of starting such programs at their respective universities. Particular attention will be given to the design process and timeline for implementing these degree programs, how the type of university affects the ability to start such a program, and what the recruitment process looks like for both faculty and students. The Panelists will also discuss the Curriculum Guidelines for Undergraduate Programs in Data Science and Statistical Science. Panelists are Judith Canner, California State University, Monterey Bay, Albert Y. Kim, Smith College, Kimberly Roth, Juniata College, and Christopher Malone, Winona State University. This panel is sponsored by the SIGMAA on Statistics Education.

AMS-MAA Panel Discussion: Looking for teaching oriented positions: A panel for graduate students and postdocs, organized by John Boller, University of Chicago, Alissa Crans, Loyola Marymount, Solomon Friedberg, Boston College, Tom Roby, University of Connecticut, and Michael Weingart, Rutgers University; Thursday, 9:00–10:30 am. Many new PhDs in math will end up in teaching-oriented positions, but information about these positions, from their advantages, excitement and challenges to how to prepare for them, is not always available in research-oriented PhD programs. In this panel aimed at individuals considering a teaching-oriented position, we will discuss how to prepare for such positions, how to look for them, and how to make the most of them. Moderator for this panel will be Tom Roby, University of Connecticut. Panelists are Jennifer Beineke, Western New England University, Matthew DeLong, Marian University, Brendan Kelly, Harvard University, and Alicia Prieto Langarica, Youngstown State University. This panel is co-sponsored by the AMS-MAA Joint Committee on TAs and Part-time Instructors and by MAA Project NExT.

AMS-MAA Panel Discussion on Preparing your graduate students for teaching oriented positions: A panel for Ph.D. granting departments and faculty, organized by John Boller, University of Chicago, Alissa Crans, Loyola Marymount, Solomon Friedberg, Boston College, Tom Roby, University of Connecticut, and Michael Weingart, Rutgers University; Thursday, 10:30–12:00 pm. Many new PhDs in math will end up in teaching-oriented positions, but information about these positions, from their advantages, excitement and challenges to how to prepare for them, is not always available in research-oriented PhD programs. In this panel aimed at faculty at Ph.D. granting institutions, we will discuss how to prepare your doctoral students for such positions, and how doing so can be advantageous for your PhD program and for our profession. Moderator for this panel will be Solomon Friedberg, Boston College. Panelists are Jennifer Beineke, Western New England University, John Boller, University of Chicago, Alissa Crans, Loyola Marymount University, Matthew DeLong, Marian University, and Natasha Speer, University of Maine. This panel is co-sponsored by the AMS-MAA Joint Committee on TAs and Part-time Instructors and by MAA Project NExT.

MAA Panel: International Engagement in Research and Education in Mathematical Sciences in Africa, organized by Overtoun Jenda, Auburn University; Thursday, 1:00–2:20 pm. Panelists will present their involvement in mathematical sciences research and STEM education activities extending to the international mathematics community, with a special focus on US-Africa collaborations. Projects discussed will include the Masamu Advanced Study Institute (MASI) and the Nelson Mandela STEM Festival. The Masamu program, established in 2010, has established a Collaborative Research Network of over 60 senior research faculty from Africa, Asia, Canada, Europe, and US forming three research groups in pure mathematics and four research groups in applied mathematics. Research groups work on problems year-round and meet together with early career faculty, postdocs, and undergraduate and graduate students to immerse in intense group research activities for 10 days each year and attend the Southern Africa Mathematical Sciences Association (SAMSA) conference. The Nelson Mandela STEM Festival was created in 2015 by the Nelson Mandela African Institute for Science and Technology (NM-AIST) in Arusha, Tanzania. The event is intended to excite the next generation about STEM. The panel will discuss findings from implementing such programs internationally as well as challenges, strategies, and future goals and work. Panelists are Peter Johnson, Auburn University, Suzanne Lenhart, University of Tennessee, and Padmanabhan Seshaiyer, George Mason University.

MAA Panel: So You're (Going to Be) a Postdoc: Now What? A Panel Discussion on a Fulfilling Postdoc Experience, organized by Francesca Bernardi, Florida State University, Harrison Bray, University of Michigan, and Patricia Klein, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities; Thursday, 1:00–2:20 pm. The postdoc years are crucial to set the path of mathematicians’ future careers. Although the importance of this transitional time is widely recognized, a lack of resources and community can make this period feel isolating, particularly for people from underrepresented groups in mathematics. The structural support available to graduate students (whether it comes from their own department, institution, advisor, professional organization, student groups, etc.) is often not available to postdocs who suddenly find themselves at a new institution without the support systems they had built during graduate school. Moreover, most institutions employ only a few postdocs at a time leaving people in this role with a smaller natural peer group than graduate students and faculty.Our panel is meant to highlight diverse postdoctoral experiences from the point of view of mathematicians who have recently gone through this stage in their career. Faculty, professionals, and current postdocs in mathematics will share their story and expertise when it comes to handling this difficult transitional time. Panelists will discuss their personal approaches and strategies for cultivating a successful postdoc experience. Panelists are Tarik Aougab, Haverford College, Hunter Brooks, Moat Analytics, Pamela Harris, Williams College, Yulan Qing, University of Toronto, and Nancy Rodriguez, University of Colorado, Boulder.

MAA Panel: How to Write Op-eds for Newspapers: Shaping Public Thinking on Math, organized by Kira Hamman, Pennsylvania State Mont Alto, and Francis Su, Harvey Mudd College; Thursday, 2:35 –3:55 pm. Mathematicians can and should shape public opinion about mathematics on issues that affect people's daily lives. Writing op-eds for newspapers brings opportunities for influence and is a skill that can be developed. In this session, we will share tips about writing compelling op-ed pieces for newspapers, and we will hear from a panel of mathematicians who, after learning about op-ed writing, have successfully placed mathematical articles in newspapers. Panelists are Rafe Jones, Carleton College, Audrey Malagon, Virginia Wesleyan University, and Aaron Montgomery, Baldwin-Wallace University. This panel is sponsored by the MAA Science Policy Committee.

MAA Panel: Strengthening Undergraduate Research Through Community Building, organized by Vicky Klima, Appalachian State University and Thomas Wakefield, Youngstown State University; Thursday, 2:35–3:55 pm. In the last decade, undergraduate mathematics research has gained immense popularity and support from faculty and administrators. Engaging in mentored mathematics research provides undergraduates with a sense of community by strengthening their connections with each other and their mentors, exposing them to the profession beyond their institution, and preparing them for the types of shared problem-solving experiences that they will encounter as they transition into graduate research or careers in industry and government. Faculty mentors also benefit from the encouragement and guidance provided by a strong community support network of their own. Panelists will share their successes with building vigorous undergraduate research programs through community support. Panelists include both directors of programs designed to nurture faculty as they begin their roles as undergraduate research mentors and faculty participants in such programs who have used this support to build their own vibrant communities of undergraduate researchers. Members of the panel will describe their experiences, offer feedback, and provide insight as to how faculty mentors can support their students and extend their own support networks. Finding funding to support these efforts will also be discussed. Panelists are Michael Dorff, Brigham Young University, Tamás Forgács, Fresno State University, Kathryn Leonard, Occidental College, Charles Toll, U.S. Department of Defense, and Ulrica Wilson, Morehouse College. This panel is sponsored by the MAA Subcommittee on Research by Undergraduates.

MAA Panel: Persistence, Relocation, and Loss in Undergraduate STEM Education, organized by Carrie Diaz-Eaton, Bates College and Semra Kilic-Bahi, Colby-Sawyer College; Friday, 9:00–10:20 am. This panel will focus on exploring factors that play a role in students’ decision to choose or switch out of STEM majors. The panelists will discuss which students are attracted to STEM areas and which students leave. The panelists will answer questions such as: Among those we attract, which ones persist? What enables students to persist in their STEM major? Where do students go once they leave STEM majors? What consequences occur when students leave STEM majors?

Panelists will share the findings from a recent study, Talking About Leaving Revisited. They will also compare and contrast the findings from a similar study presented in 1997, Talking about Leaving: Why Undergraduates Leave the Sciences (Seymour & Hewitt, 1997) to understand how the STEM education landscape is shifting. The facilitator for this panel is Jenna Carpenter, Campbell University. Panelists are Anne-Barrie Hunter, Tim Weston, and Dana Holland, University of Colorado, Boulder. This panel is sponsored by the Committee on the Participation of Women in Mathematics and the Committee on Minority Participation, and Joint Committee on Women in Mathematical Sciences.

MAA-AMS Panel: Living Proof: Stories of Resilience Along the Mathematical Journey, organized by Allison Henrich, Seattle University, Emille Lawrence, University of San Francisco, Matthew Pons, North Central College, and David Taylor, Roanoke College; Friday, 1:00–2:20 pm. As mathematicians we know that struggle finds us all. There are the usual difficulties with content, but many of colleagues face more subversive trials. Struggling with mathematics is part of the journey, but it should not be soul-crushing, nor should it involve gender, race, sexuality, upbringing, culture, socio-economic status, educational background, or any other attribute. Over the past year, the panelists have collected short stories from all corners of the mathematical community. These stories are written to inspire current students across the country as they face individual struggles and will be published as a joint project by the MAA and AMS. This session will provide a chance for the panelists to discuss how the project started and evolved, the process of soliciting pieces, how to get copies of the collection, and then open it up to a Question & Answer session on struggle and resilience in our discipline.Panelists are Allison Henrich, Seattle University, Emille Lawrence, University of San Francisco, Matthew Pons, North Central College, Candice Price, California State University, Chico, Alicia Prieto-Langarica, Youngstown State University, and Robin Wilson, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. This panel is co-sponsored by the AMS and MAA.

MAA Panel: 2020 Vision for Actuarial Science Education, organized by Kevin Charlwood, Washburn University, Michelle Guan, Indiana University Northwest, Steve Paris, Florida State University, Barry Smith, Lebanon Valley College, and Sue Staples, Texas Christian University; Friday, 5:00–7:00 pm. With the ever-changing landscape in actuarial education, this panel presentation aims to keep actuarial faculty members up to date with changes in the actuarial world. Representatives from the SOA and CAS will convey information about new developments in the exam curriculum and new initiatives within the actuarial societies. The International Association of Black Actuaries will discuss the challenges of increasing participation of underrepresented minorities in actuarial programs. The panel will also include a local actuary from the Denver area who will provide insights from a business perspective. The Organizers encourage presenters to bring take-home materials for participants. Panelists are Stuart Klugman, Society of Actuaries and Ken Williams, Casualty Actuary Society. This panel is sponsored by the MAA Actuarial Science Education Committee.

MAA Panel: Supporting Transgender and Non-binary Students, organized by Juliette Bruce, University of Wisconsin, Christopher Goff, University of the Pacific, and Greg McCarthy, Hampshire College; Saturday, 9:00–10:20 am. Transgender, non-binary, and gender nonconforming students often feel isolated and unsupported in their mathematics education. Panelists will share their experiences and suggest ways that universities (faculty, staff, and administration) can be more supportive of transgender and non-binary students. In addition, this panel hopes to spark frank conversations amongst university faculty, staff, and administration about structural changes that can be made that will increase the gender diversity of mathematics departments. This panel will explore these issues and examine some of the options. Panelists are Juliette Bruce, University of Wisconsin, Madison; Randy Dominick, University of Massachusetts, Amherst; Maxie Lahn, University of Michigan; and Terry Mullen, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Sponsored by Spectra, the association of LGBTQ+ mathematicians.