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AMS Committee on Meetings and Conferences (COMC) 2005 Annual Report

Highlights of 2005 meeting (April 30, 2005)

Report of the Secretariat

AMS Secretary Robert Daverman gave a report on the April 29 Secretariat meeting.

  • The Secretariat reviewed International Meetings through 2008 with Taiwan at the end of 2005. Other meetings being looked at are Poland in the summer of 2007, New Zealand at the end of 2007 and Brazil in the summer of 2008.
  • The new Special Public Lecture that will be delivered at a sectional meeting once a year will be held on a trial basis at the fall 2005 sectional meeting in Nebraska with Michael Atiyah as the speaker and at the western sectional in spring 2006 with Benoit Mandelbrot as the speaker. The (working) name of the lecture will be the Einstein Public Lecture on Mathematics (in celebration of the Einstein Centennial).
  • At the request of CoMC, the Secretariat is now sending a letter to the Colloquium Lecturer with a note that CoMC encourages the Colloquium Lecturer to help organize a special session related to the Colloquium.

Report on the Subcommittee to Review the Scientific Program at National Meetings. This subcommittee was composed of Paul Zorn, Susan Friedlander and Irena Peeva. The subcommittee reported that overall they found that meetings ran well.

The subcommittee reported on the following:

  • The scientific content of the meetings definitely meet the needs of the membership.
  • The Special Session on Current Events, organized by David Eisenbud, was well received and should continue.
  • The Colloquium Lecturer in Atlanta was well attended, especially in comparison to some other recent Colloquium Lectures. It was felt that attendance might be improved even more with catchier titles. CoMC endorsed having the Secretary talk to the Lecturer about the value of choosing titles that pique the interest of general meeting attendees.
  • There needs to be a way to streamline the Prize Reception to make it shorter. CoMC endorsed in principal keeping the Prize Session joint and shortening the length of the prize recipients' acceptance speech. CoMC suggested that the Secretary and President talk to the leaders of the other Societies about keeping the acceptance speeches shorter.

Report on Focus Planning. There was discussion on the recommendation from the Focus Planning Report that the AMS create a new type of conference program. CoMC passed a motion to endorse exploring new types of conference on a trial basis. A subcommittee of CoMC will work to identify topics for the conference and report their recommendations to the Secretariat for final review and approval. Associate Secretaries Leslie Sibner and Matt Miller volunteered to work with the new conferences.

Special Session on Current Events. CoMC endorsed continuing the Special Session on Current Events at the Joint Meeting as long as possible.

Report on the Atlanta Focus Group. Jean Taylor moderated the CoMC Focus Group discussion in Atlanta. The comments and suggestions from the Focus Group were discussed during Taylor's oral report. Overall focus group members were very satisfied with the Annual meeting. They also felt that they did not want programming during the lunch hour and wanted to keep it open. They also were happy with the type of Invited Addresses (IA's) offered and had no suggestions for different types of A's. No formal action was taken by CoMC.

Other informational items. CoMC's topic for annual review for 2006 is to be the Review of the National Meeting (overall program including governance meetings). A subcommittee consisting of Gregory Smith, Chair, Gail Ratcliff and Joel Hass will prepare a report on this topic for the next meeting.

CoMC will host a focus group at the San Antonio meeting on Friday, January 13, at 7 am. Joel Hass will chair the focus group.

Jim Maxwell, Associate Exec. Director
Diane Saxe, Director of Meetings
May 2, 2005