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AMS Council Debates Issues

The AMS Council, the policy-making body for the Society, met on Tuesday,January 6th, to discuss a wide variety of issues. The outgoing chair of the Committee on Education (COE), Roger Howe of Yale University, presented a compelling picture of the poor state of mathematics education in the United States and described the pressing need for the involvement of mathematicians. The COE is set up to be a policy committee, not an action committee; nevertheless, the COE has in recent years become increasingly action-oriented, particularly in providing advice to various groups working on mathematics education projects for which the input of mathematicians is important. Howe believes that the AMS needs to create better ways of facilitating such input.

Another issue before the Council was a proposal to create a new award called the Prize for an Exemplary Program or Achievement by a Mathematical Sciences Department. The idea is to recognize departments that have developed an extraordinarily successful program in some area, for example, involving undergraduates in mathematics research or outreach to underrepresented groups. The Council voted to establish the prize, which will provide a modest monetary award, enough to provide coffee and cookies for a year's worth of departmental teatimes.

In another action, the Council approved a revised copyright policy for Society journals. The main difference over the previous policy is that the AMS will permit authors to dedicate their articles to the public domain 28 years after the date of publication. The motivation behind this change is to ease thorny copyright questions that have arisen in recent efforts to digitize the mathematical literature. For more information, consult the Council Agenda posted on the AMS Secretary's Page.

--- Allyn Jackson, Deputy Editor of The Notices

More highlights of the 2004 Joint Mathematics Meetings