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AMS Committee on Meetings and Conferences (COMC) 2002 Annual Report

The Committee on Meetings and Conferences (CoMC) held its annual meeting in April at the O'Hare Hilton Hotel in Chicago. Highlights of that meeting are provided below.

By way of update to the information in the highlights, a new site for the 2003 and 2004 AMS-IMS-SIAM Summer Research Conferences has been confirmed, the Snowbird Resort located outside of Salt Lake City. Proposals for the conferences to be held in summer 2004 are due in Providence by February 15, 2003.

A number of enhancements to the meetings material on the AMS website have been implemented for the Baltimore meeting. Some of these enhancements were prompted by suggestions made during the CoMC focus group held during the San Diego meeting. As noted below, CoMC will host another focus group during the Baltimore meeting.

Highlights of CoMC meeting
April 6, 2002

Report of the Secretariat. AMS Secretary Robert Daverman gave a report of the Secretariat meeting. The Secretariat recommended to the Committee on Meetings and Conferences (CoMC), and after some discussion CoMC approved, the following motion:

The ten-year-rule for Invited Addresses at sectional and national meetings will be separated into two disjoint ten-year rules, one for sectional meetings and one for national meetings.

Report of the Subcommittee to Review Cosponsorship of Meetings and Conferences of Other Organizations and the Conference Program. This subcommittee was composed of Dominic Clemence (chair), Rick Miranda and Irene Fonseca. As part of the review on conferences, the committee collected materials from the Notices and final reports collected over the past five years. The subcommittee found that the AMS conference program is useful and should be continued and found that the SRC's have been quite successful in spite of the low number of proposals submitted. They noted that attendance at these conferences approximates the target of 40% young mathematicians, but that the definition of "young" is a stretch. They also noted that statistics on race and ethnic background of participants are not available, and recommended that such statistics be collected consistently. As to co-sponsored meetings and conferences, the subcommittee felt that such co-sponsorships are very valuable, allowing for interaction and dialogue across disciplines. They suggested that an explanation of co-sponsorship be put on the co-sponsored meetings web page.

In connection with these recommendations, CoMC took two actions:

  • The committee unanimously approved a motion to encourage the SRC committee to consider varying the format of the SRCs, for example, having a two-week institute followed by a related one-week conference. The SRC committee and its advisory committee are also encouraged to actively solicit proposals.
  • The committee recommended that while CoMC itself should not actively solicit co-sponsorships, it should encourage others to do so. Information on how to propose a co-sponsored meeting should be posted on the web, which should include a listing of AMS's expectations regarding cosponsored meetings.

Review of Selected Activities. The committee moved that a review of the Short Courses at National Meetings would be added to the 2004 review of Special Lectures Series and Special Projects, as requested by the chair of the Short Courses committee.

Report on the San Diego Focus Group. Hema Srinivasan moderated the CoMC Focus Group discussion, along with co-chair Karen Collins, in San Diego. The comments and suggestions from the Focus Group were discussed at the meeting during Hema's oral report, but no formal CoMC action was taken. It was reported that in response to the Focus Group question: "Do you view meetings as a valuable part of your AMS membership?", the answer was yes and the values mentioned fell into three main categories:

  • Research exposure and stimulation
  • Meeting new peopple and reunions with old friends
  • Employment Center activities (at the national meeting only).

Special Session on Current Events in Mathematics. CoMC discussed a new type of Special Session, proposed by David Eisenbud to be presented at the National meeting. This short Special Session will feature 3 to 4 prominent mathematicians talking about recent significant new work of others in their fields, as in the Bourbaki model. The committee agreed to approve the proposed special session as an experiment for the 2003 JMM only, including reimbursement for the speakers, with a review by CoMC at the next CoMC meeting. A subcommittee consisting of Bob Daverman, Hema Srinavasan , Karen Vogtmann and Carol Wood was formed to study the issue further.

Invited Addresses. There was concern expressed in a letter by an AMS member that the AMS did not have any female Invited speakers during the JMM in San Diego. The Secretary will research Invited address invitations and acceptances and this topic will be reintroduced at the next CoMC meeting.

Other Informational Items. CoMC's topic for annual review for 2003 is to be Sectional meetings. A subcommittee consisting of Irene Fonseca (chair) and Craig Huneke and Richard Randell will prepare a report on this topic for the next CoMC meeting.

CoMC will host a focus group at the Baltimore meeting scheduled tentatively for Thursday morning, January 16, 2003, 7-9 am. Colin Adams agreed to moderate the focus group.

The next meeting of the committee is scheduled for the O'Hare Hilton on March 29, 2003.

Prepared by Karen Vogtmann and Diane Saxe 4/17/2002