National Policy Statement Summary

The American Mathematical Society
Founded in 1888 to further mathematical research and scholarship, the 30,000-member American Mathematical Society (AMS) fulfills its aims through programs and services that promote mathematical research and its uses, strengthen mathematical education, and foster awareness and appreciation of mathematics and its connections to other disciplines and everyday life. This policy statement affirms that research within mathematics, the application of mathematics in other disciplines, and the teaching of mathematics are interdependent -- nourishing each other with ideas, methods and inspiration. None of these components of the system -- research, application, education -- can be neglected without weakening the others.

Purposes of the National Policy Statement.

  1. To articulate public policy issues of significance for the mathematical sciences.
  2. To inform public policy makers and the public about these issues.
  3. To help formulate goals at the national level and set priorities for their accomplishment.

Goals and Recommendations


I. Maintain the Highest Level of Excellence in Mathematical Sciences Research.

  • Promote a federal science policy in which maintenance of research strength across the breadth of the mathematical sciences, with the support necessary for clear world leadership, is an integral component.
  • Urge Congress and federal agencies to nurture the fundamental enabling role of the mathematical sciences by strong support of basic investigator-driven research.
  • Advocate that stable, reliable funding be provided for outstanding mathematical sciences research.

National Science Foundation (NSF)

  • Urge the federal government to preserve as the central missions of the NSF the support of basic research and the education of future scientists and engineers.
  • Promote a science policy that allows the NSF to determine the optimal allocation of its budgeted funds.

Mission Agencies

  • Encourage dialog with mission agencies on broader participation by mathematical scientists in agency projects.
  • Enlist the mission agencies in supporting the recruitment and training of young people in the mathematical sciences.

Human Resources

  • Urge federal agencies to expand postdoctoral programs in the mathematical sciences in order to provide continuing professional development in research, education, and application of mathematics.
  • Seek and support mechanisms to increase the representation and advancement of women and underrepresented minorities in the mathematical sciences.
  • Seek innovative and productive ways to use the talent of young mathematicians, which is a vital national resource.

Communication Networks

  • Support federal programs and policies that will enhance development of communications networks and technologies.
  • Facilitate access to electronic communication for mathematics researchers, educators and students.


II. Connect the Power of Mathematics and Mathematical Thinking to Problems in Science, Technology, Technology and Society.

Federal Science Initiatives.

  • Urge federal agencies to ensure that active research mathematicians are included in the creation and planning of federal science initiatives.
  • Seek to facilitate the engagement of mathematical scientists in federal science and technology initiatives.

Connections with Other Disciplines.

  • Enlarge the scope and extent of interdisciplinary research connecting mathematics with other fields.
  • Emphasize the value of such connections during the mathematical training of both undergraduate and graduate students.

Industrial Mathematics.


Support the creation of formal liaisons between industry and academic mathematical scientists, including industrial internships and postdocs.


III. Strengthen all Levels of Mathematics Education


Encourage greater participation by research mathematicians in the reform of mathematics education at all levels, with particular attention to the professional development of teachers.

Graduate Education.

  • Promote the enrichment of graduate programs in mathematics to provide students with a more versatile range of mathematically based professional skills.
  • Encourage development of diverse Masters Degree programs, based on sound training in the core mathematical disciplines, to offer a wider choice of professional careers, including teaching.

Undergraduate Education.

  • Support efforts to review and reform the undergraduate mathematics curriculum, in response to changing student and national needs.
  • Foster wider understanding and appreciation of mathematics as a creative discipline, in particular through its presentation in undergraduate mathematics instruction.
  • Encourage increased attention to and professional development of pedagogical performance of both faculty and graduate students.

K-12 Education.

  • Encourage greater participation by researchers in standards-based reform of K-12 mathematics education, particularly by strengthening the disciplinary foundations of the standards.
  • Promote more active participation by mathematicians in programs for the professional development of teachers.

Valuing Education in the Mathematical Culture.

Stimulate discussion and experimentation in the mathematics community leading towards appropriate forms of professional assessment of educational performance.


IV. Communicate the Nature of the Mathematical Sciences and How Mathematics Contributed to Society.

Promote understanding of mathematics by encouraging the output of high-quality expositions for students at all levels, the general public, policy makers, and other scientists and engineers.
Stimulate the production of expository articles on the fundamental ideas of mathematics and their pervasiveness in modern life.
Convey to the public -- and especially to children and to the teachers of children -- that mathematics is a creative discipline involving discovery in which they can participate.
Foster public understanding of the beauty and power of mathematics and its role as a fundamental mode of human thought.

Adopted by the Council in May 1994 so as to speak in the name of the Society