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AMS Committee on Meetings and Conferences (COMC) 2004 Annual Report

Highlights of 2004 meeting (April 24, 2004)

Report of the Secretariat

AMS Secretary Robert Daverman gave a report on the April 23 Secretariat meeting.

  • The Secretariat is holding active discussion with the London Mathematical Society for an International meeting in 2007 in Ireland or England and with IMPA to hold an International meeting in 2008 in Brazil.
  • The Secretary and the Meetings Department will prepare summary reports on the Sectional meetings and maintain an archive of these reports, per the recommendation of the 2003 CoMC Review subcommittee.
  • CoMC approved the recommendation of the Secretariat to continue with the Special Special Session on Mathematical Current Events at the JMM meeting in Atlanta and the following year. This will be put on the CoMC agenda for review in 2006 for the 2007 JMM meeting.
  • The Secretary will continue to send out to the Program Committees per the recommendation of the 2003 CoMC committee the letter written by President David Eisenbud, reminding the committees that their goal is to select speakers who will deliver high quality talks with a commitment to gender diversity.

Report on the Subcommittee to Review Special Lectures Series, Special Projects and Short Course. This subcommittee was composed of Colin Adams (Chair), Tepper Gill and Lesley Sibner. As part of the review, the committee surveyed members from the past few years who attended the Gibbs, the Colloquium and the Short Course and reviewed the past Lectures for the Arnold Ross Lecture Series and the Erdos Lecture.

The subcommittee reported on the following:

Gibbs Lecture

The subcommittee reported that those surveyed felt that the Gibbs Lecture was successful and the most popular lecture at the meeting.

Colloquium Lecture

The subcommittee reported on those surveyed who had attended the Colloquium Lecture the past few years. The Secretary had reported that the Council felt that the 3rd Lecture should be kept but asked CoMC for recommendations on how to approach the third Lecture. CoMC made several suggestions to the Secretariat on ideas for the 3rd Lecture, such as:

  • Making the 3rd Lecture part of a Special Session
  • Putting the 3rd lecture in a smaller room
  • Holding a Special Session on the topic after the 3rd Lecture in the Ballroom

CoMC approved the following proposal from the Secretary

    • The Secretary should encourage the Colloquium Lecturer to hold a Special Session in conjunction with the 3rd Lecture.
    • The Secretary should send a letter to the Lecturer with various ideas and options for the 3rd Lecture.

Arnold Ross Lecture

The subcommittee discussed the Arnold Ross Lectures of the past few years and reported on the success of the ARL. There were some suggestions by CoMC on holding the Lectures in high schools and universities. CoMC also suggested looking for AMS members who may have contacts in the local high schools to encourage the local high school students to attend. No formal action was taken.

Short Course

The subcommittee reported on the overall value of the short course to the participants and recommended that the short course should be continued.

CoMC accepted the subcommittee report on the Short Course, noted the financial deficit and made it known that if management felt that there was a need to lower the number of speakers from six to five, that CoMC in general approved this philosophy.

Report on the Phoenix Focus Group. Paul Zorn moderated the CoMC Focus Group discussion. The comments and suggestions from the Focus Group were discussed at the meeting during Zorn's oral report. No formal CoMC action was taken.

Discussion on the interim report on Focused Planning for Meetings and Conferences

The CoMC discussion centered on three important questions raised in the interim report on focused planning on meetings.

  1. Should there be more sectional meetings?
    CoMC supported the concept of having more sectional meetings and supported continuing to discuss the best way to achieve this including having a 5th Associate Secretary who would be "At Large" without a specific defined geographic area and could also hold sectionals with other societies.

  2. In what form should the AMS seek to continue its research conference program?
    CoMC approved the following resolution:

    "CoMC recommends the submission of a renewal proposal to the NSF that makes refinements to the way the SRC's are currently working."

    CoMC also supported the continued collaboration with both SIAM and IMS in the conduct of the SRC's.

    CoMC recommended that the current spirit of flexibility in accommodating various conference formats be maintained in the renewal proposal.

  3. What role should the meetings activities play in the overall finances of the Society?

    CoMC discussed the role meetings currently played in the finances of the Society
    and felt that they were appropriate and did not raise any additional questions.

    CoMC also raised additional questions to review as follow up to the planning.

Other Informational Items. CoMC's topic for annual review for 2005 is to be the Review of National Meetings (Scientific program). A subcommittee consisting of Paul Zorn, (Chair), Irena Peeva and Susan Friedlander will prepare a report on this topic for the next CoMC meeting.

CoMC will host a focus group at the Atlanta meeting scheduled tentatively for Thursday morning, January 6, 2005, 7-9 am. Jean Taylor agreed to moderate the focus group.

The next meeting of the committee is scheduled for O'Hare Hilton in Chicago on April 30, 2005.

Jim Maxwell
Associate Executive Director
May 3, 2004