The MAA continues to be in a solid financial situation. Of continuing concern is the small decline in membership over the past 18 months. Because of a corresponding drop in journal subscriptions, it may be related to the dues structures. An analysis by Robert Anastasio, Director of Marketing & Membership, suggests that this is true because more members are beginning to hit the psychological barrier of fees over $200. He also suggests that it may also be a result of losing those members who joined just a few years ago as part of an aggressive recruitment campaign.
On a much more positive note, the Halmos Endowment matching funds campaign was very successful; so much so that its target was raised, and the campaign period extended. There is still time for you to participate in this opportunity to raise endowment dollars for Carriage House activities!
The publication side of the MAA continues to grow and thrive. The subdivision of publications into two parts, books and journals/communications seems to be working well. Book acquisitions and sales continue to grow steadily and are increasingly diverse. While subscriptions to the MAA journals is down somewhat, they are actually available to a wider audience since they are now online through Ingenta. The MAA website has seen significantly more traffic in the past six months, although traffic to particular columns is still small. You should visit the MAA website regularly! There are lots of good things there.
The Board heard final reports from the Cycle 2 Strategic Planning Committees on Governance and Student Members; the final report from the Strategic Planning Committee on Membership deferred its report until Mathfest, 2008. A significant portion of the Governor's meeting was given to reviewing and acting on the governance report; this is natural since the Board of Governors is the Association's governance body. The report contained many recommendations for action, ranging from items that could be easily acted on, items needing a motion by the Board, and items that need bylaw changes. In brief, the intent of most of these recommendations is to strengthen the Council system: the many committees of the Association would be re-organized into a group of 7-9 council (similar to the way that they currently are); the councils and their chairs will have more influence on the work of its committees and their membership; and the Council Chairs will become governors. This last item, which requires bylaws changes, will not increase the size of the board since other current governor positions (such as the individual journal editors) will be removed. The general idea is that there will be a balance on the Board between the sections and the extensive committee structure of the Association.
Initial work on the Cycle 3 groups for Meetings, Sections, and STEM issues has been started. The work of the first two of these is very significant for the sections and we are encouraged to cooperate with them as best we can. The working group on Sections should be of particular interest, since it is investigating the relationship between the general Association and the sections (which are semi-autonomous organizations.) At this spring section meeting, there will be several opportunities to provide feedback to this group.
Two new strategic planning groups were approved for Cycle 4: Publications and Communications, and Overview. The former has an obvious purpose; the latter has been formed to assist the Association in reviewing and coordinating the activity generated by the work of all of the working groups from cycles 1-3.
The Board also approved the creation of a new committee: the Committee on Assessment. This committee will assume the responsibilities previous carried on by SAUM: gathering and disseminating information on assessment methods in undergraduate mathematics. Bonnie Gold has agreed to be the initial chair of the new committee.
Submitted by Rick Gillman,
Governor of the Indiana Section of the MAA