The Annual Meeting of the Texas Section
of the
Mathematical Association of America
Huntsville, Texas
April 3, 4 and 5, 2003

The Texas Section of the MAA held its 2003 annual meeting in Huntsville, Texas on April 3, 4 and 5th on the campus of Sam Houston State University.

Thursday Evening

The short course consisted of two independent sessions and was presented by Greg Miller and James Stamey from Stephen F. Austin State University.

Greg Miller has degrees from Baylor University and Southern Methodist University. He is the current director of the Statistical Consulting Center at SFA and the author of various papers in the areas of applied probability and statistical inference for stochastic processes. He is the author or co-author of three books which range in topics from a professional development for middle and high school teachers to a graduate level stochastic processes to senior-level undergraduate probability.

James Stamey is a graduate of Northwestern State University in Louisiana with a bachelor’s in mathematics. He also has a master’s in business and PhD in statistics from Baylor University. His research interests include Bayesian methods and quantitative business analysis.

On Thursday, April 3, 2003 at 7:00 p.m. in the Lee Drain Building, Room 203, they presented How ‘BIG’ Does N Really Have to be for the Central Limit Theorem to Apply? A simulation based approach.

The Central Limit Theorem (CLT) is almost universally discussed in introductory statistics courses. Students often ask about the sample size required to invoke the CLT. A common rule of thumb is a sample size of 25 to 30. In this simulation based talk, we show that at times this rule of thumb is quite conservative.

We lobby that instructors curtail the constant citation of this rule of thumb due to evidence presented. Implications and power of the CLT are discussed throughout.

Friday Morning

On Friday morning, April 4, 2003 at 8:30 a.m. in LSC Theatre, Greg and James presented “Why Your Students Should Take Statistics Courses.”

The main sectors of statistical science were outlined for the non-statistician. Areas of mathematics which play a key role in these branches were discussed. A set of core problems and data sets provide the framework for a comprehensive survey of the most popular sub-genres of statistics. Our goal is to familiarize the non-statistician with the main areas that probabilists and statisticians concern themselves with and the associated mathematics background necessary for study in these areas.

Friday Afternoon

Dr. Underwood Dudley gave the MAA address on Friday, April 4, 2003 at 1:10 p.m. in the LSC Theatre. He has degrees from Carnegie Institute of Technology and the University of Michigan. He is professor of mathematics at DePauw University and a noted author. In addition to several popular MAA books, he has published a book on number theory with W. H. Freeman and Company, and “A Budget of Trisections” with Springer-Verlag.

He has served in various editorial capacities for Mathematics Magazine, the American Mathematical Monthly, Pi Mu Epsilon Journal and Math Horizons. He is currently Editor of the College Mathematics Journal. He has been the recipient of the Trevor Evans Award (for expository writing) Mathematical Association of America, 1996.

Following Dr. Dudley's talk, 107 papers were presented on Friday afternoon by faculty and students from all over the state. There were 6 Project NExt talks, 45 faculty talks and 56 student talks. Here are three examples of faculty talks:

This is Italo Simonelli from Texas A&M University-Commerce who gave a talk entitled Characteriza- tion of Probability Distributions via Property of Products of Random Variables

In this talk we describe how properties of products of random variables can be used to characterize probability distributions, and show that in general such characterizations cannot be deduced from those for sums. This presentation is based on a recent joint work with Professor Janos Galambos.

This is Warren Koepp from Sul Ross State University who gave two talks. The first was entitled Early Classroom Experience Through Service Learning--The Alpine Mathematics Partnership.

Introducing service learning requirements into mathematics courses presents special challenges. Through partnership with local schools, these challenges can be met while simultaneously introducing students to the field of teaching through hands-on experience. A case study of the Alpine Mathematics Partnership, including student participants, was presented in this session.

Dr. Koepp's second talk was entitled A Discrete Approach to College Algebra. The traditional layout of a course in college algebra is firmly entrenched in modern textbooks. Opening the table of contents of virtually any current text on the subject reveals little variability in the order in which the material is presented. The aim of this talk was to propose a substantially different organizational scheme, beginning with topics in sequences, that more closely matches the knowledge, background, needs, and tendencies of the typical student entering the course.

Friday Evening

On Friday evening, around 100 of us gathered for our annual awards presentation banquet in the LSC Ballroom on the Sam Houston State University campus.

A reception started at 6:00 p.m. and dinner was served at 7:00 p.m. After dinner, Stanley Wayment from Southwest Texas State University introduced the Distinguished College or University Teacher of Mathematics award recipient.

Section chair, Elizabeth Bator, from the University of North Texas, presented the award to this year's recipient, Gregory Passty, from Southwest Texas State University.

Following the presentation, we were treated to an enthusiastic talk by T. Christine Stevens on "Project NExt."

Saturday Morning

Dr. T. Christine Stevens also gave the keynote address entitled The History of Lie Groups on Saturday, April 5, 2003 at 9:10 a.m. in the LSC Theatre.

Dr. Stevens is Professor of Mathematics and Mathematical Computer Science at St. Louis University. A graduate of Smith College, she earned her Ph.D. in mathematics at Harvard University.

Her research interests are in topological groups, especially Lie groups, and in the history of mathematics. She has also published papers on issues in mathematics education, and she is the director of the MAA's Project NExT (New Experiences in Teaching), a professional development program for new and recent Ph.D.s in the mathematical sciences. In 1984-85, Dr. Stevens was the AMS/MAA/SIAM Congressional Science Fellow. In this capacity, she worked as a legislative assistant to Congressman Ted Weiss of New York on issues involving defense, arms control, education, and science and technology. This experience convinced her of the utility of mathematical skills in discussions of public policy, and it also gained her an invitation to speak at the Texas MAA Section meeting in 1987. She is happy to be returning in 2003 to Texas, the birthplace of Section NExTs.

Dr. W. J. (Jim) Lewis gave the keynote Address on Saturday, April 5, 2003 at 10:30 a.m. in the LSC Theatre.

Dr. Lewis is professor and chair of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Under his leadership the department won the University of Nebraska's 1998 University-wide Department Teaching Award as the outstanding teaching department in the four-campus university system.

He was a principal investigator for the Nebraska Math and Science Initiative, Nebraska's NSF-funded SSI. Dr. Lewis is a past chair of the American Mathematical Society's Committee on Science Policy, a former member of the AMS Committee on Education, a member of the National Research Council’s Mathematical Sciences Education Board (MSEB), a member of the National Science Foundation’s Advisory Committee to the Directorate for Education and Human Resources, and chair of the Mathematical Association of America’s Coordinating Council on Education.

Dr. Lewis was a member of the AMS Task Force on Excellence that produced Towards Excellence: Leading a Doctoral Mathematics Department in the 21st Century. He was co-chair of the National Research Council committee that produced the report, Educating Teachers of Science, Mathematics, and Technology: New Practices for the New Millennium.

He was chair of the Steering Committee for the U. S. Department of Education funded CBMS project that produced the report, The Mathematical Education of Teachers and he was co-chair of the National Summit on the Mathematical Education of Teachers held in November 2001. Dr. Lewis received his Ph.D. in mathematics from Louisiana State University.

Here are some more pictures of the festivities to enjoy:

See you next year on April 1, 2 and 3 at

This web page designed by and photos taken by

Dr. John F. Lamb, Jr.

Official Texas Section Photograoher

Professor Emeritus of Mathematics
Texas A&M University at Commerce
Commerce, Texas

Please send questions, comments, corrections, additions and deletions to me by e-mail.

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