VMATYC Visions
Fall 2007
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
Spring 2008 VMATYC conference - Ann Loving
VCCS course description review- Linda Taylor
VCCS placement test task force - Judy Williams
AMATYC 2008 in Washington, DC - Judy Williams
Volunteers needed for AMATYC 2008 - Susan Fleming
Glenn Fox scholarship awarded - Linda Taylor
VMATYC membership - Susan Fleming
Fall Regional meetings
Eastern - Mary Dobbs
Western - Harriette Roadman
Central - Nan Dupuy
Northern - Kevin Ratliff

President’s message 


The weekend of April 13 – 14, 2007, holds fond memories for those of us who attended the 21st  annual VMATYC conference at Thomas Nelson Community College.  The conference team did an excellent job in developing an interesting program and made each of us feel welcome and at home on their campus.   


As you look forward to the 2007-2008 academic year, I certainly hope you will remember to renew your VMATYC membership. You may have renewed for this year when you registered for the conference last spring — if so, many thanks!  But if you did not and forgot to do it with the rush at the beginning of the semester, send in your $10 for membership now. Membership applications along with lots of other information about VMATYC can be found on our website:  virginia.matyc.org.


Each of you should be receiving news about the upcoming fall conference for your region.  Details on the dates, agendas, and more are elsewhere in the newsletter. Let me encourage you to consider assisting your regional vice-president by volunteering to help with the program for your conference.


As you know, VMATYC is a state affiliate of AMATYC, American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges. The national conference for AMATYC will be held in Minneapolis, MN, November 1 – 4, 2007.  Registration can still be made if you act soon. I also encourage you to renew and/or join AMATYC. There are many benefits of being a member of a national organization in your professional field.  Check out the website at www.amatyc.org to learn more about this terrific organization.


Our 2008 Spring Conference team, headed by President-Elect Ann Loving and site coordinator Jon Hexter, is busy planning our 22nd annual conference to be held on April 4 – 5 at Piedmont Virginia Community College and the Comfort Inn Monticello. More information on this conference can be found elsewhere in the newsletter.  Make plans now to “meet us in the middle” next spring in Charlottesville.


Many thanks to those of you who volunteer to be campus contact persons for VMATYC. This allows VMATYC to distribute to and gather information from each of the twenty three VCCS colleges and in many cases, from 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.  Remember that a click of the “reply” button responds to the whole listserv, so you should be sure you have a public, instead of private, message.


I look forward to serving as your President for the next two years and certainly realize there are big shoes for me to fill from the excellent leadership of VMATYC over the past years. Please share with me or the Executive Board any concerns, questions, or ideas you have that will help us make VMATYC an even better organization.


Sarah Martin return to table of contents


Make Plans to Now Attend the Spring VMATYC Conference


Piedmont Virginia Community College will be hosting the Spring, 2008 VMATYC Conference on April 4 & 5 in Charlottesville.  The theme for the conference is “Meet You in the Middle” with a double meaning.  First, PVCC is located in our central region.  Second, a meeting of the minds in the classroom, in a theoretical middle, is crucial to student understanding and learning.


The host team at PVCC is working hard on arrangements and we can look forward to great sessions with inspiring speakers, and super food and fellowship.


Room accommodations will be at the Comfort Inn Monticello.  It is important to make room reservations as soon as possible since we are competing with soft ball tournament season. For reservation details, click here. The application for presentors is also on this linked page. Consider making a presentation.


Ann Loving

return to table of contents




VCCS Course Description Review


            Have you ever asked the question “Why do we HAVE to teach <math topic> in MTH <course number> ?”  or “Why doesn’t every community college teach <math topic> in MTH <course number> ?”  Perhaps the response you received was “Because it is (is not) in the VCCS Course Description.”

            These questions were raised in a roundtable discussion at the spring VMATYC conference and prompted the inquiry into the VCCS Course Review process.  The VCCS has certain guidelines under which each peer group is to review the course descriptions for that discipline and make recommendations for any changes.  It seems the math peer group is long overdue in performing such a review.  As the VMATYC conference is recognized by VCCS as the peer group meeting, the VMATYC Executive Board agreed we as an organization need to initiate such a review. 

            Therefore---- This fall at the VMATYC regional meetings, there will be discussion about this and an opportunity for any who are interested to volunteer to serve on the Course Review Steering Committee.  There is no limit on the number on this committee, so be willing to volunteer!!  This committee will then begin the process of reviewing each mathematics VCCS Course Description and making recommendations on which descriptions are OK and which descriptions need to be revised.  Hopefully this can be done electronically with a planned meeting at or during the time of spring conference in Charlottesville.

            Dr. Bill Hightower, VCCS Director of Educational Programs, has agreed to be a part of the program for the spring VMATYC conference at PVCC to help VMATYC members understand the process and answer any questions.  He has already offered the suggestion that “your steering committee work on dividing the MTH courses into logical groupings of courses that each sub-committee will review.  For instance, one group should review all calculus (and pre-calculus?) classes so that there is a systematic sequence of courses which have a logical relationship to each other.  Same for technical math, statistics, finite math, etc.” We will proceed from there and hopefully have a final recommendation of change to submit to VCCS by summer or at the latest this time next fall.  There is further administrative review required at the VCCS level before any changes become official. 

            We will certainly want every mathematics faculty member, full or part-time, VMATYC member or not, to have opportunity to share concerns, ideas, and input with the committee.  This will be a PEER GROUP recommendation, not a steering committee recommendation. 

            I strongly encourage you to volunteer to be a part of the steering committee.  Plan now to attend the 2008 spring conference April 4-5 at Piedmont Virginia Community College so you can learn more about the process and be ready to share your concerns, ideas, etc. throughout this process. 

Linda Taylor return to table of contents

VCCS Placement Test Task Force


     In late July the task force was formed by Dr. Monty Sullivan, Vice Chancellor for Academic Services and Research. The diverse group represents those involved with administering the test, counseling students about their test results, teaching the students placed by the test, and collecting, entering, and interpreting the test data and follow-up data. Members come from our largest and smallest institutions, from urban and rural areas. A list of members is at the end of this article.

     The charge to the task force from Dr. Sullivan is to “review and provide specifications for the needs of Virginia’s community colleges in a placement testing tool.”

      August 15 we met via conference call, selected co-chairs, and identified many issues that need addressing. Through BlackBoard Discussion Board forums we have been sharing thoughts about the following six topics.

1.      Consistency across VCCS ( Test administration, cut scores, developmental course offerings & number of credits) (Let me insert here that I also have insisted that we need uniform and consistent enforcement of prerequisites.)

2.       Placement proxies used in VCCS (SOL, SAT, etc.)

3.       Testing Management (Auto loading of scores,  immediate results and course placement, off campus testing issues,  Testing and placement of out of state Distance Learning students)

4.       ESL Testing and placement

5.      Course Placement v. College Readiness, especially regarding dual enrollment and workforce development

6.       Educating VCCS constituents about placement purposes and policies

     September 26 we met in South Boston at the Achieving the Dream Best Practices Summit. Following a lively face to face discussion of these issues, and a reminder by Dr. Sullivan that our charge was to focus on the needs of our colleges in a placement tool, we agreed that the first need was for consistency across the system. Dr. Sullivan will speak to the Advisory Council of Presidents on the importance of a common procedure for evaluation and placement of students. After that meeting, the task force will again convene. The scope of our charge may expand at that time.  

        This is where the work of the task force stands today. Be assured that any concerns you have expressed to me have been entered into the discussion. Look for more details in the Winter newsletter and at the Spring Conference. Contact me with other comments at jwilliams@tcc.edu  

Placement Test Task Force Members


Judy Williams return to table of contents





     Save the date! November 20-23, 2008, you need to be at the Hilton Washington,  1919 Connecticut Ave, NW, for the 34th annual AMATYC Conference to celebrate “Washington, DC – A Monumental Place for Mathematics.” Keynote speaker is Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, President of the University of MD, Baltimore County, noted for his interest in math and science education with emphasis on minority participation and performance. The highlight of Saturday’s breakfast is Dr. D, aka David Wright, Professor of Physics at Tidewater CC, making Physics come alive with wacky props and gripping experiments used in his Busch Gardens Physics F/X show.

VMATYC and MMATYC are hosting this meeting in the Mid-Atlantic Region. Our Local Events Committee is planning a scavenger hunt around the city, negotiating for a White House tour and discounted theater tickets, and offering a networking session for spouses and other guests taking advantage of this great location. There’s still time to register for this years conference, November 1-4 in Minneapolis, so you can see us promoting the Washington experience while wearing our red fleece vests and logo buttons.
       Please consider submitting a proposal for the 2008 conference. You can do it online at www.amatyc.org after November 4, but before the deadline of February 1, 2008. Our sessions at VMATYC conferences are worthy of this national meeting. This is our chance to show off our work in VA for our colleagues from around the country. Chris Allgyer is serving on the Program Committee. He knows that presentations are sought from the region hosting the conference. There is a desire for talks emphasizing calculus and above, statistics, geometry, and teacher preparation as well as mathematical topics for our own enrichment; many proposals focus on developmental topics and/or technology, but I know we can offer excellent presentations in these areas, too.

       I look forward to seeing you in Minneapolis and in Washington.

Judy Williams return to table of contents

Volunteers Needed for AMATYC 2008


If you are an early riser and plan to attend the AMATYC annual meeting in Washington, DC, I need your help.  My committee will be choosing the breakfast freebies, decorating the breakfast tables (the early rising part), and checking tickets to get into the breakfast.  If you would like to help with any or all of these activities, please contact me at sfleming@vhcc.edu

Susan Fleming return to table of contents


VMATYC Glenn Fox Scholarship


            Congratulations to Ms. Beihua (Endy) Yan, the 2007-2008 VMATYC Glenn Fox Scholarship recipient.  Ms. Yan is a Science/Mathematics major at Northern Virginia Community College, Manassas campus, and was sponsored by Associate Professor Ed Anderson.    Endy lists among her future plans “to apply to graduate school for Master’s and Doctorate Degrees for a further study in the mathematical field…….stay at a university to be a professor and to do some research in the mathematical field.”   She currently works in the campus Math Center as a math tutor, and is a student tutor in the campus Counseling Center, as well as tutors math at the middle school level.  She is also serving as Vice-President of her campus’s chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, Two-Year College Honor Society.

            Beihua (Endy) Yan will be formally recognized at the spring 2008 VMATYC conference as well as the fall Northern region VMATYC meeting.  The VMATYC Glenn Fox Scholarship plaque is currently being proudly displayed at her home campus. 

            At the spring 2007 conference, VMATYC members voted to change the criteria for the scholarship to allow students majoring in math or computer science but not planning to teach to be eligible for application.  However, it was agreed that preference would be given to students who intended to teach.  

            There were two very strong applicants this year and both applicants had teaching or tutoring experience and wanted to pursue a career involving mathematics education.  It is always a tough decision for the committee when very worthy students are nominated.  The scholarship committee is grateful for the efforts of each of the sponsors in encouraging his/her student to apply for the scholarship.  Hopefully we will soon see the scholarship fund reach a level of value to award two scholarships each year. 

            Thanks those who served on the scholarship committee:   Chair Judy Williams (immediate Past-President),  Joan Tarpley-Robinson (Central region), Jim Newsom (Eastern region), N.V. Fitton (Northern region) and Joseph Steever (Western region).       

Linda Taylor return to table of contents


Encourage Colleagues to Join


As the VCCS reaches middle age we are seeing many faculty retire and many new faces replacing them.  Please 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.  The membership application can be printed from the website, http://www.virginia.matyc.org/.


Susan Fleming return to table of contents


Fall 2007 regional meetings



The VMATYC Eastern Region Fall Conference will be held at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, Parham Road Campus on October 26, 2007. 


3:45-4:15 Registration & refreshments
4:15-5:00 Session I
5:15-6:00 Session II
6:15-7:00 Session III
7:00-8:00 Dinner (reservations required)

Those wishing to make a presentation, please be in touch with Mary Dobbs (mdobbs@reynolds.edu) by October 5.


Multiple presentations will be available during each session.  Several will be roundtables, one will be on a modular approach to developmental math, and George DeRise will be talking about “Monsters and Moonshine.”  The balance of the presentations will be sharing information from the NCTM Regional Meeting to be held in Richmond in early October. 


We look forward to your presence!

Mary Dobbs return to table of contents



The fall meeting for the VMATYC Western Region will be held on Friday, November 9, 2007 at the New River Community College Mall Site in Christiansburg, VA. Please plan to arrive and check in between 12:00 noon, and 12:30 pm. We will have a brief meet-and-greet session with members of our campus administration, followed by lunch and a tour of the new facility. Afterwards we will have a general session, topics to include the AMATYC and VMATYC annual conferences, as well as the current VCCS course review process. The meeting will conclude with a hands-on presentation by Sylvia Brown on the new TI N-spire calculator. Please contact Harriette Roadman at nrroadh@nr.edu with a confirmation of your intention to attend.

To get to the NRCC Mall site: from Interstate 81, take exit 118B in Christiansburg. Follow the signs to the 460-Bypass (West towards Blacksburg), and continue for about 3 miles. Take the Pepper's Ferry Rd. exit, and after merging on Pepper's Ferry Rd., proceed through two stoplights. The New River Vall (NRV) Mall will be located on your right side, just across N. Franklin Rd. (460 Business). Enter the mall parking lot and proceed to the right around to the back side of the mall, where the NRCC site entrance is located.

Harriette Roadman return to table of contents



The fall 2007 Central Region meeting will be held on Friday, November 9 at Central Virginia Community College in Lynchburg, VA.  Registration will begin at 3 p.m.  We are planning break-out sessions on several math software packages.  We are asking for volunteers to make a presentation on a software package that they are currently using (MyMathLab, Eduspace, WebAssign, Hawkes Learning Systems, etc.).   Please 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.

Email me me at dupuyn@cvcc.vccs.edu

Nan Dupuy return to table of contents


The northern region will hold its fall conference on November 3, 2007 at Rappahannock Community College (Glenns campus) from 9:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.   Please consider giving a presentation or conducting a roundtable discussion!  Contact ratliffk@brcc.edu.  

Kevin Ratliff return to table of contents