Monday, December 3, 2012

Not Looking Forward to Freezing

Dear MAA,
I see on the upcoming meeting schedule that the Joint Mathematics Meetings in 2013 will be in San Diego, and in 2014 will be in Baltimore. What is the MAA thinking? Why would you follow a lovely venue like San Diego, where the weather is always perfect, with Baltimore, which is going to be cold, snowy, and miserable? Why can’t all the meetings be in warm places?!
-Not Looking Forward to Freezing

Dear Freezing,
Many factors affect the location of the JMM. Weather is not in the top ten, actually, although we all look forward togoing to the warm locales. The organizers look for venues large enough (and reasonably priced) to comfortably accommodate approximately 7,000 mathematicians, with enough meeting rooms for all of the participating organizations to hold events, and enough hotels and restaurants to feed everyone. Usually this is most easily done in large cities or places with large convention centers. That’s why sometimes we get to go to moderate climates (San Diego and Phoenix, for example) and sometimes we get to enjoy the winter atmosphere. Remember: Not all northern meetings end up being cold and snowy. Notice that Boston was lovely—and we had all kinds of travel issues getting out of New Orleans.

This question was answered in the October/November issue of MAA FOCUS.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Ready to Take the Next Step

Dear MAA,
I have been an active member of committees in my department, but would be interested in serving on an MAA committee. How can I get on one?
-Ready to Take the Next Step

Dear Ready,
Here's a list of MAA committees, organized by council. Appointments to committees are made by the MAA president based on recommendations from the Committee on Committees and Councils. This committee consists of the chairs of the eight MAA councils plus the president-elect (or past president), the secretary, and the executive director. Current members of this and all MAA committees, as well as committee charges, are on the MAA website. You can suggest yourself or others for committees using the suggestion form available from the website. The best way to get involved with and learn more about MAA is through your section, so please consider starting there.

Throw your hat in the ring and see what happens!

This question was answered in the October/November issue of MAA FOCUS.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Annoyed at My Colleague

Dear MAA, 
I just started a position at a new college. When I was teaching as a graduate student, it was expected that you would leave the remnants of your lecture on the blackboard at the conclusion of class. Last week I had a colleague yell at me, in front of students, that I was rude for not erasing the blackboard. Who is correct?
Annoyed at My Colleague

Dear Annoyed, 
There are many correct answers to this question. Blackboard etiquette and etiquette about how to leave the classroom at the conclusion of a lecture varies from school to school. While at your graduate school it was normal to leave your lecture on the board, at many places it is typical to erase the board at the conclusion of your lecture.

It was definitely inappropriate for your colleague to yell at you, especially if you are new to the campus and especially in front of students. It would have been much more appropriate for your colleague to mention to you that things are different in your new department and explain the expectations there.

However, you should try to pay attention to what others do at the conclusion of their classes and leave the classroom in a state like you found it at the beginning of your class.

This question was answered in the August/September issue of MAA FOCUS.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Dear MAA

“Dear MAA” is an ad hoc column that will appear occasionally in MAA FOCUS and online to offer advice and information. We encourage you to send in questions on anything connected with the MAA or the mathematics education community.

For example: How are locations picked for national meetings (Boston in January!)? How can you suggest an idea for an MAA T-shirt? What do MAA second vice presidents do? How do you tell a colleague to stop running a class over into your time?

Email all questions c/o