AMS Council Meeting – Part 1

By Kareem Carr

Back in January, I had the opportunity to attend the AMS Council Meeting on behalf of the GradBlog, to update them on what we’re doing here and to raise awareness about the Blog. Minutes of the meeting can be found here, but I’d also like to share my observations about the meeting.

In particular, I was pleased to see that graduate students seem to rank high on the priority list for the Council members. There was quite a bit of discussion about increasing the involvement of graduate students in the mathematical community. Several of the council members came up to me after the meeting to discuss graduate student support and involvement issues.

Specific items of note for graduate students on the council agenda include:

  1. The Council voted to form a Joint Mathematics Meetings Travel Grants Committee to oversee the distribution of a generous, an anonymous, donation to the AMS for the support of up to 75 graduate students to attend the Joint Mathematics Meetings. This funding is expected to continue in future years, so readers may want to look into that for next year’s Joint Meetings.
  2. The Council debated the creation of an AMS Fellows Program to recognize excellence in Mathematics. This Program has been in development for a number of years, but remains quite controversial. The Council could not agree on a resolution, and a committee will continue developing the idea to be voted on again at next year’s meeting.
  3. A representative from the Canadian Mathematical Society voiced concerns that airport security and visa issues were making it more difficult for international students and mathematicians to attend conferences in the US and that many choose to attend Canadian-hosted conferences instead.

At the end of the evening, as we all sat down for a meal, a fresh debate emerged at the table about how to best find funding for students. Voices were raised, not in anger, but there was quite a bit of passion. Of all the things a group of mathematicians might have to fight over at dinner, the council members were concerned about funding more graduate students. I think this says a lot about the people there: Their commitment and their integrity. So, I’d like to thank the AMS Council for inviting me to speak with them about our blog, and for taking such a keen interest in graduate students. Keep up the good work!

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