May 7, 2010 - Mark Bollman Re-elected Secretary/Treasurer of MAA's Michigan Section
At the annual meeting of the Michigan Section of the Mathematical Association of America, held at Eastern Michigan University, Mark Bollman was re-elected to a second three-year term as secretary/treasurer. The MAA is the largest professional organization focused on mathematics accessible to undergraduate students. Mark has been a member of the MAA and the Michigan Section since 1989.
May 11, 2010 - Mark Bollman's Research Published
Mark Bollman's paper, "Numerical approximation to pi using parabolic segments", was published in the Journal of Concrete and Applicable Mathematics. This paper represents joint work with George Grossman of Central Michigan University and is an extension of the work of Archimedes (c. 287 BCE- c. 212 BCE), who used inscribed and circumscribed polygons to approximate pi. The official citation is J. Conc. Appl. Math., 10 (2), p. 236--245, 2010.
May 17, 2010 - Board of Trustees Eliminates Albion's Computer Science Major
In similar letters from Paul Tobias (Chairman, Albion College Board of Trustees) sent to the Albion faculty and the Albion family, the Board of Trustees reported that they have eliminated computer science as a major at Albion College and that Albion College may continue to offer a computer science minor. In the process, an untenured Assistant Professor has been notified his position will be discontinued after the 2010-2011 academic year. The letter to students also indicated "Students who are currently enrolled in the affected programs will receive personalized advising to enable them to accomplish their academic goals and fulfill their graduation requirements for their major in a timely manner."
Albion College has offered a major in computer science since 1998. Prior to 1998, the department offered a major called computational mathematics, which included a significant number of computer science courses. The department has offered coursework in computer science since the 1970s.
The computer science position cut is one of 15 full-time equivalent positions that have been eliminated from the current level of 162 full and part-time faculty. Tobias indicated "this reduction is absolutely necessary to maintain the educational and fiscal integrity of Albion College". While Tobias stated "These reductions reflect recommendations from the administration as well as the faculty Curriculum and Resources Committee," the decision came despite a significant disagreement with the faculty about the process of identifying faculty and program cuts as reported in a recent article from Inside Higher Ed. When questioned about providing additional rationale of the decision, President Randall responded "The Board did make a decision in a thoughtful and deliberate way. No further explanation of the program and position eliminations will be forthcoming."
The letters from Tobias indicate this decision was in response to broad questions such as "how do we best prepare our students for meaningful ... work in the 21st century?" The views of the department and the Board of Trustees differ in the role Albion College can play in this endeavor. There has long been a demand in both industry and government for people with training in mathematics, statistics, and computer science. Even in a weak economy, the job market remains strong for mathematics and computer science majors. "Computer and mathematical science occupations are projected to add almost 785,700 new jobs from 2008 to 2018. As a group, these occupations are expected to grow more than twice as fast as the average for all occupations in the economy. Demand for workers in computer and mathematical occupations will be driven by the continuing need for businesses, government agencies, and other organizations to adopt and utilize the latest technologies. " (Tomorrow's Jobs, U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics). The department will continue to offer excellent preparation for students interested in rigorous study of mathematical and computational concepts and remains committed to fulfilling its mission.
Alumni and students concerned about this decision are encouraged to contact the department at and the board of trustees at .
May 27, 2010 - Students Participate In Education Department's Maymester Showcase
Two mathematics students presented the results of their experience in the Albion Public Schools during the Education Department's Maymester Showcase on Thursday, May 27. The theme of the showcase was "Understanding and Building Community Empowerment through Education".
- Matt Callow, a history major and mathematics minor, presented a project called "Albion High School 2010 Census". In his work with algebra students at AHS, students worked to create a School Improvement Census that attempted to identify important problems at the school and then suggested possible solutions. The results of the census were presented to community and school board members.
- Rachel Kamischke, a mathematics major and French minor, presented a project called "Building for a Stronger Community". Rachel's AHS students worked in groups to design a community center to meet the needs of their community. Students used their knowledge and understanding of area to create a budget and scale drawing for their proposed center, and so to engage in some practical applications of mathematics outside the classroom.
The Maymester Boundary Crossings Experience allows Albion College teacher education students to have three weeks of intensive practical and integrated experience in the Albion Public Schools. The program begins with a weekly seminar during the spring semester, includes a weekly experience in the Maymester field placement classroom, and culminates in a three-week in-class component in May.