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Topic: What are we about?
Replies: 4   Last Post: Jan 25, 2012 7:41 PM

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Posts: 95
Registered: 12/6/04
What are we about?
Posted: Jan 25, 2012 9:57 AM
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Well, the list has been 'active' recently, with some nice posts and a bit of tension.

I have been asked to identify specific behaviors that are a problem. I am making a choice to not elaborate on the specifics; either (a) the people engaging in those behaviors are interested in helping the list, in which case they will apply their substantial problem solving skills without my assistance, or (b) the people engaging in those behaviors are not sufficiently interested in helping the list, in which case my comments are only going to prompt more posts without making any difference in behavior. I'd like to believe that our colleagues are at least as good problem solvers, and at least as well behaved, as my students. If you are suspecting that my comments apply to you, you might try this idea: Do not post anything on the list for a couple of weeks, and just observe other people's manners.

The last few weeks have added to the ranks of 'members' who no longer feel like this list (MATHEDCC) is worth their time. The issue is not whether AMATYC is sufficiently 'mathematical'; no, the issue is more personal - what are we about?

I believe we are about working together to improve the mathematics that students experience in the first two years of college. We are not about protecting personal turf; we are not about defending theories or beliefs against valid arguments. We are about discussions relevant to our work for the sake of our students; most discussions may be about matters small and perhaps trivial in the big picture . that's okay, and is part of community building. Some discussions will involve substantive issues and challenges. However, we are about working together for the benefits of our students.

For the majority of my colleagues who contribute positively to this list, I say "Thank You! Do not give up." For the minority who have been told that you are causing problems, even if you don't agree, I suggest that you follow my parent's advice: "If you can't say it with respect for the other person, it's usually better to keep your mouth shut."

Now, if you've read this . fantastic. However, don't feel obligated to respond. We all face an 'inbox' with a lot of messages. I am hoping that almost all of us agree with the statements about what we are about; after all, they are implied by the MATHEDCC 'Rules of Conduct" (

Jack Rotman

Department of Mathematics & Computer Science

Lansing Community College <> 517.483.1079

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