VMATYC Visions

Fall 2008

The newsletter of the
the Virginia
Association of
Two Year Colleges

Table of contents
click to go to any article or just scroll down
President's message - Sarah Martin
Final Countdown to AMATYC - Sandie Dashiell
AMATYC breakfast volunteers needed - Susan Fleming
Spring 2009 VMATYC Conference - Ann Loving
VCCS course description review- Linda Taylor
VMATYC Nominating Committee - Linda Taylor
The Glenn Fox scholarship - Linda Taylor
VMATYC membership - Susan Fleming
Fall Regional meetings
Central - Nan Dupuy
Eastern - Mary Dobbs
Northern - Kevin Ratliff
Western - Harriette Roadman

President's Message

It was good to see many of you at the spring conference at Piedmont Virginia Community College in April. Thank you to Jon Hexter and the PVCC faculty for doing an excellent job and making us feel welcome on their campus. As you will read below, planning is already under way for our 2009 conference at New River Community College.

Each of you should be receiving news about the upcoming fall conference for your region. Details on the dates and agendas are found elsewhere in the newsletter. Consider assisting your regional vice-president by volunteering to help with the program for your conference. This newsletter also contains information about the upcoming AMATYC conference in Washington, D. C. There is still time to register if you act soon.

Many thanks to those of you who volunteer to be campus contact persons for VMATYC.

This allows VMATYC to communicate with each of the twenty three VCCS colleges and in many cases, with individual campuses of a college. Another way to share information is through the VMATYC listserv. If you are not receiving e-mails on various topics through the listserv, contact Jon Wilkin at jwilkin@nvcc.edu to have your name added to the list.

Happy autumn, and best wishes for a rewarding semester. I hope to see you in Washington in November!

Sarah Martin return to table of  contents

Final Countdown to the AMATYC Conference in Washington, D.C.!

The 34th annual conference of AMATYC is to be held November 20-23, 2008 at the Hilton Washington Hotel. “AMATYC 2008, Washington D.C. – A Monumental Place for Mathematics” is the slogan you will find on the conference brochure and on those fetching red and white buttons! The conference is hosted by VMATYC, MMATYC, and the Mid-Atlantic Region. Highlights of the conference will include the Thursday opening session speaker, Freeman Hrabowski, the Saturday Awards Breakfast Session presentation by our own David Wright (Physics professor from Tidewater Community College), plus a couple of featured speakers whose presentations we have enjoyed at VMATYC conferences, Abigail Norfleet James (Germanna Community College) and John Adam (Old Dominion University). Dr. Hrabowski will be discussing “the huge changes technology and demographics have brought as we strive to educate the next generations in mathematics of the 21stCentury”, while Dr. Wright will show us “how the mathematics behind physics is revealed with his eye-popping magical demonstrations”. Dr. James, an expert in gendered education, will discuss gender differences and how they relate to the teaching of mathematics and Dr. Adam will provide an entertaining presentation about “patterns that can be found everywhere from rainbows to butterfly wings, from cloud formations to spider webs.” Other featured speakers are George Boggs (currently president of the American Association of Community Colleges) and Larry Faulkner (from The National Mathematics Advisory Panel). Others from VMATYC who are among those presenting include George DeRise (TNCC)  “Euler at 301,” Judy Williams, Christy Hewett, and John Gallo (TCC)   “We’re Still GAISEing,” and Martha Goshaw  (formerly of PVCC!)  “Teaching the Millennial Generation – How Beyond Crossroads Can Help!”

New this year at the conference will be the exhibit product presentations in which selected AMATYC exhibitors will conduct 30-minute presentations to highlight their products and services during the day on Thursday. The MAA welcomes AMATYC to Washington by holding a reception and tour on Friday afternoon at their headquarters and Carriage House meeting center, a short walk from the hotel.

The AMATYC Forum (Thursday evening), which is open to all attendees, will provide the first input hearing on combining the AMATYC Constitution and Bylaws. A draft of the combined bylaws will be presented; substantive changes will be highlighted and discussed by a panel consisting of the CCBC committee members.

Judy Williams (TCC) is serving as the Local Events Coordinator, and many VMATYC members will be working at the conference and proudly wearing our fetching red vests! Hope to see you there!

It is not too late to register, although the deadline for discounted registration is September 30 (postmarked on or before) if by mail or October 7 if submitted via the web or fax. You can register online at www.amatyc.org.

Sandie Dashiell return to table of  contents

AMATYC Breakfast Volunteers Needed

Anyone who plans to attend the AMATYC annual meeting in Washington, DC, and would like to help decorate the tables for the Saturday morning breakfast (November 22), should contact Susan Fleming at sfleming@vhcc.edu.

Susan Fleming return to table of  contents

Make Plans Now to Attend the Spring VMATYC Conference

New River Community College will be hosting the Spring, 2009 VMATYC Conference on April 3 & 4 in Dublin. The theme for the conference is “Off to the Mountains: A Magical Tour of Mathematics”.

The host team at NRCC is working hard on arrangements and we can look forward to great sessions with inspiring speakers, and super food and fellowship. Please mark the dates and consider making a presentation!  Presenter applications will be available on the web site about December 1.

Room accommodations will be at the Hampton Inn and Holiday Inn Express just down the road from the beautiful NRCC campus in Dublin.

 The 2009 VMATYC Conference is being run immediately following New Horizons this year.  New Horizons will be in Roanoke and VMATYC will be in Dublin, just a short one-hour drive down Interstate 81S from Roanoke.

Ann Loving

return to table of  contents

VCCS Course Review Progress

At the spring VMATYC Conference/VCCS Peer Group Meeting, the members heard Bill Hightower, Director of Educational Programs for VCCS, speak on outlining the process for reviewing and revising the VCCS Master Course File . He also shared with us the tools which are available online to help determine where/when a course is offered. Very helpful information was presented. There was time for questions and some discussion at the end of his session.

One of the subsequent sessions was to begin the process of reviewing the VCCS Course Descriptions. There were over 25 members present for that session, representing all regions and about half of the 23 community colleges in the system.

We tried to categorize the courses into general groups: Developmental, Technical, Precalculus/Geometry/Trig, Liberal Arts/Finite, Business MTH/Statistics, Calculus/Analytic Geometry, Upper Level, Specialty, and Teacher Education. Each participant selected at least one of the areas to review as well as discuss with their colleagues.

There will be a session at each of the regional meetings for these participants and others who are interested to discuss the draft suggestions on changes, deletions, etc. to courses in their respective category. These suggestions will then be collected, combined, and hopefully prepared to be shared with the entire peer group prior to the spring conference which is also the peer group meeting for mathematics and computer science. At that time there will an opportunity for further discussion so that we can move closer to a proposal which can be submitted to VCCS.

We realize there are many different opinions about the course goals, requirements, and content. We also need to realize that this will be a result that all of us will use to develop our courses over possibly the next decade. We want to meet the needs of our students, but not tie the hands of individual schools and faculty members.

I encourage each of you to look at the VCCS Master Course File at http://courses.vccs.edu/courses/MTH-Mathematics. Review the description for courses which you teach and/or are involved with at your college. Look at the table at http://system.vccs.edu/vccsasr/IPS600_Y2007.pdf to determine which other schools also offer a particular course and when it was last offered. Then come to the session at your regional fall meeting prepared to offer suggestions of change if you believe change is needed.

I believe we all agree there is change that needs to be made to some of the courses. As has been emphasized previously, every faculty within the mathematics peer group will have an opportunity to have input into these decisions. This can be done through each VMATYC member communicating with your colleagues and being willing to present your ideas, concerns, suggestions. With this type of consorted effort, our results should be something in which each of us can take pride.

Linda Taylor return to table of  contents
Nominating Committee

VMATYC has been a strong organization ever since its beginning in 1986. The large part of this success has been due to the many volunteers in many capacities for the organization through the years. Because of this strength, it is the only professional organization which has been recognized by VCCS as a Peer Group.

According to the VMATYC Constitution, the Nominating Committee is responsible for submitting to the membership a slate officers for the Executive Board in time for election to be completed prior to the general business meeting which is held at the spring conference. As VMATYC Past-President, one of my duties is to chair the Nominating Committee. There is also a Nominating Committee member representing each of the four regions.

Thus, I am asking each of you to consider what it is that you appreciate about VMATYC’s strengths, what you think could be done to make it an even better organization, and how you can be a part of seeing this growth occur. Then consider which office you would be interested in serving in. I will say there is a commitment of some work in each of the positions. However, the gain (both for you personally and your colleagues) far out-weighs the work.

You can read about the full responsibilities of each office by going to VMATYC’s Constitution at www.virginia.matyc.org, selecting VMATYC Information, and then selecting VMATYC Constitution. The President-Elect will automatically become the President after two years, and the President will become the Past-President at that time. Thus, there is no election for these two offices. All other offices are open for candidacy.

The major responsibility of each office is:

President-Elect chairs the annual Conference Planning Committee.
Each of the four Regional Vice-Presidents schedules and plans a Fall regional meeting.
Membership Secretary keeps record of current and past memberships.
Recording Secretary is responsible for keeping the minutes of the meetings.
Treasurer keeps track of our finances.
Affiliate Delegate keeps us aware of our relationship with our national organization.

    In a democratic society and for the health of the organization, it is always good to have a choice and thus at least two names are placed on the ballot for each position. The current officers will be encouraged to consider placing their name on the ballot as well, either in the same position or another position. Please seriously consider where you see yourself or a colleague serving YOUR organization. Submit your name and position interested in serving to me at ltaylor@nvcc.edu so the Nominating Committee can begin comprising the ballot that will be presented to the membership in February. There will also be an opportunity at each of the fall regional meetings for names to be submitted for nomination. A brief biological sketch of yourself will also need to be submitted which will be shared with the membership at the time of the election.

The best way to help your organization, and get to know your VCCS colleagues, is to serve on the Executive Board. Regardless who is elected, VMATYC gains!!!

Linda Taylor return to table of  contents

Glenn Fox VMATYC Mathematics and Computer Science Scholarship

It has often been said that one student’s behavior and response can “make or break” an entire class. Unfortunately, this is often referring to the unmotivated, low performing student. But the same can certainly be true because of a motivated, high performing student. Hopefully each of us have at least one of these latter type of students this semester so that we really look forward to the class and feel motivated ourselves to “go the extra mile” because of that student.

I encourage each of you to get to know that student—find out his/her goals in education, determine the planned major of study. And if that major or interest is in math education, mathmetics, or computer science, let the student know about the possibility of being an applicant this spring for the 2009-2010 Glenn Fox VMATYC Mathematics and Computer Science Scholarship for $800.

We will begin accepting applications for the 2009-2010 scholarship in April. But now is the time to observe students with the scholarship in mind. I believe sometimes that we only think of our current spring students when considering applicants. Of course, the outstanding student you have this fall will be SOMEONE’s student this spring—perhaps yours!! But if the faculty member for the spring is not a member of VMATYC, and has not been informed about the scholarship, then that deserving student could be overlooked. What an unfortunate occurrence. Two things needs to happen: (1) We need to make sure ALL faculty--full time and adjunct, member and non-member—are made aware of the scholarship this spring, and (2) We need to remember the outstanding student we had in the fall and contact that student and the faculty member to ensure an application is processed.

If that student is currently not a math education, mathematics, or comptuer science major, then you need to encourage him/her to consider it based on the abilities you are observing. I personally am thankful for such an instructor in my freshman year of college when I took my first “mandatory” math class—otherwise, I would not in the classroom I am in today. He simply asked me what my major was, and when I responded with my plans, he said, “Why are you not majoring in math?” and walked away. But the seed was planted and I am glad it grew and a change was made.

The qualifications for the scholarship can be found on the VMATYC website: www.virginia.matyc.org and selecting Glenn Fox Scholarship. Notice carefully, that qualifying student could be in your MTH 4 or MTH 60 class this fall, take Precalculus this spring and meet the criteria. So consider ALL of your classes, not just the transferable ones.

The Scholarship Committee looks forward to receiving a number of applications this spring. Please make sure your outstanding student is among them.

Linda Taylor return to table of  contents


VMATYC’s membership year runs from September to August. That means many memberships expired on September 1. Please remember to renew at your fall conference or by going to http://www.virginia.matyc.org/ to print the membership form. Also reach out to new math and computer science faculty on your campus and encourage them to join VMATYC. At just $10 membership dues are a real bargain.

Susan Fleming return to table of  contents

Fall Regional Conferences


The Central Region will hold its fall conference on Friday 17 October at Central Virginia Community College in Lynchburg, VA from 1:45 to 5:00 pm. If you would consider giving a presentation or conducting a roundtable discussion, please contact Nan Dupuy (dupuyn@cvcc.vccs.edu) no later than October 10. Spread the word to the entire math and computer science faculty at your school. We would like to build our membership so please encourage them to attend our meeting and join VMATYC.

Nan Dupuy return to table of  contents


The    Eastern Region Fall Conference will be held at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, Parham Road Campus on October 24, 2008.

Tentative Schedule
1:45 – 2:15 Registration and refreshments
2:15 – 3:00 Session I
3:15 – 4:00 Session II
4:15 – 5:00 Session III
5:00 – 6:00 Dinner (grab and go will be available)

Those wishing to make a presentation, please be in touch with Mary Dobbs (mdobbs@reynolds.edu) no later than October 15.

Hopefully it will not rain this year! We moved everything up in an effort to get everyone home a little earlier.
Mary Dobbs return to table of  contents


The Northern Region will hold its fall conference on Saturday, November 1, 2008 at Northern Virginia Community College (Annandale campus) from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.   Please consider giving a presentation or conducting a roundtable discussion!  Contact ratliffk@brcc.edu. For conference details, click here.
Kevin Ratliff return to table of  contents


The Western Region will meet Friday, October 24, 2008 at Virginia Highlands CC in Abingdon, VA.  Check in at 1:00 pm.  Lunch will be provided, followed by a general meeting;  several of the members have offered to make presentations about research they are doing and data they have collected.  I am working on getting a representative from the Math department at VT to attend and discuss the course transfer changes.  Any one wishing to attend should contact Harriette directly at hroadman@nr.edu.  We need a head count so we know how many lunches to provide.  If you don't confirm your attendance, you may not get a lunch!  Anyone with additional suggestions for presentations should also contact Harriette.

Harriette Roadman return to table of  contents