It does not seem like it is possible! AMTE is entering its 26th year of existence, with its members working and collaborating to meet our mission—to promote the improvement of mathematics teacher education at all levels.
At the 21st Annual AMTE Conference, we celebrated the organization’s 25th Anniversary. Many thanks to the AMTE Celebrations Task Force, who found unique and fun ways for us to celebrate together and think about the future of AMTE. There is a Connections newsletter article describing some of the activities related to our 25th Anniversary, but attendees—did you see all of the little splashes of silver throughout the conference? We especially thank Conference Director Susan Gay and Assistant Conference Director Carol Lucas for their attention to detail and for sponsoring many of those splashes of silver that might have caught your eye! In her article in this issue, Susan Gay highlights many of the activities of the conference, including our plenary sessions and our sponsors & exhibitors.
I would like to also express AMTE’s appreciation for all who volunteered their time to make our 21st Annual AMTE Conference a success. Many people work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that AMTE’s annual conference is both meaningful and an enjoyable experience. One of the organization’s strengths is that we have been able to hold such high-quality annual conferences consistently over the years. Often, we do not describe many of the responsibilities of conference preparation, but I would like to take a moment to do so this year:
- Conference Director Susan Gay, who works year-round coordinating all of the details of the conference. She works with the AMTE Board and leadership, with the Program Committee, with various other committees that contribute to the conference, with the conference hotel staff, and the local arrangements committee. No detail is left unattended! Thank you Susan, for all that you do for AMTE!
- Assistant Conference Director Carol Lucas, who takes the lead responsibility for working with our exhibitors. She coordinates details with the exhibitors, helps them set up their space, and ensures that they have a positive experience at our conference. In addition, this year Carol assumed responsibility for gathering all of the information that goes into our program books, which helped us coordinate its production smoothly.
- Program Chair Holt Wilson, along with the Program Committee and his leadership team of the Immediate Past Program Chair (Shannon Dingman) and the Chair Elect (Farshid Safi), who work tirelessly to extend a meaningful call for proposals, manage the All-Academic submission site, support colleagues who needed assistance with the proposal system, review hundreds of proposals, invite sessions and speakers, build a schedule that maximized participation by all, and support presenters in preparing for the conference. The success of any academic conference is built on the quality of the program. Holt Wilson Congratulations and much appreciation to Holt and the Program Committee!
- Website Director Joe Champion and Graphics Designer/Webmaster Tony Nguyen, who work behind the scenes to build the conference website, post information about the conference throughout the year, build and monitor the conference registration website, and build the conference mobile app. Tony Nguyen designs all graphic elements of the conference, from signs to name tags to the new Standards Poster participants received. Joe and Tony work with the program chair and others to produce our conference program, which is professionally done. At the last minute, Joe even supplied the fireworks effect when we announced the release of the Standards!
- The Local Arrangements Committee (Erhan Selcuk Haciomeroglu and Megan Nickels, Co-chairs), who managed the registration desk area and supported all of our non-plenary sessions with audio-visual technology. It is impossible to deliver a conference without a great number of such dedicated local arrangements folks—thank you!
- Conference Photographer Margaret Mohr-Schroeder, who always had her camera with her! Taking photographs to commemorate the special moments of the conference and to capture the heart of the conference as members attend sessions, network, and socialize is a gift to the organization. Look for a link to the photos from the conference coming soon, where you can view and download photos!
- AMTE Sponsorship Director Kathleen Lynch-Davis, for seeking out sponsors and exhibitors for our conference. Each year, the Sponsorship Director helps build relationships with sponsors and invites potential and interested sponsors to consider ways to be a part of our conference. Kathleen has passed the mantle, completing a four-year term as Sponsorship Director, and we look forward to Damon Bahr as he begins in this important role for our organization.
There are also several committees and groups within AMTE that contribute to the success of the conference:
- The Emerging Issues Committee, which organizes the annual Advocacy Breakfast;
- The Technology Committee, which reviews the NTLI Fellowship proposals;
- The AMTE Board of Directors, who are go-to volunteers on the spot—did you ever notice that it is always Board members who take your meal tickets at meal time!?
- The Research Committee, who coordinated volunteers to give requested feedback to presenters in the Poster Session;
- The STaR Committees, who provide professional development for the current cohort of STaR Fellows before the conference, and who worked to carry out this year’s raffle to raise money for STaR (By the way, if you did not hear, the raffle was a success and raised $1628!!).
I know that there are many others who work hard and contribute to the success of our conference, I hope that I have not made any glaring omissions, and that each and every such person knows and feels the appreciation the organization has for their contributions.
Board of Directors Meeting and Annual Business Meeting:
Each year, on the day prior to the Annual Conference, the Board of Directors meets as one of our two face-to-face meetings for the year. This year, as you can imagine, the Board’s work during that meeting focused heavily on our strategic priorities for the upcoming year. With the imminent release of the Standards at the conference, the Board turned to discussion of the dissemination of the Standards and ways in which AMTE can build on and support the work of the Standards in the coming year.
The Board also spent a great deal of time looking at how the organization might best operate on a day-to-day and month-to-month basis in the new restructure. In our subsequent Annual Business Meeting, the members in attendance addressed the by-law changes necessary to complete the organizational restructure, and the Board wanted to be ready in advent of that decision, to begin the new organizational year in good footing. In his article in this issue, President Randy Philipp addresses these strategic priorities and lays a foundation for our work in the coming year.
As we move forward, please look for changes in the AMTE Website to reflect the restructured organization. We will update the leadership of AMTE on the website, including the committees, Associate Vice-Presidents, and Vice-Presidents of each of the five divisions. We will also post publicly the dates of the 2017 meetings for the full Board of Directors and for the Vice-Presidents’ Council.
Indeed, the first 25 years for AMTE have been a period of steady growth, and discovering ways in which we can impact mathematics teacher education. As our Immediate Past President Christine Thomas has said, “AMTE is the lead organization for mathematics teacher education” and our first Executive Director Judith Jacobs has challenged us for years to “Lead the way!” Annually, our conference is a highlight of professional development for its members and a place where we can network and collaborate in our work. The organization is involved in a myriad of initiatives to support the work of MTE’s and to be a strong voice in the mathematics higher education landscape. We have recently published the first volume in the AMTE Professional Book Series and Volumes 2 and 3 will be published in 2017. AMTE has released the Standards for Preparing Teachers of Mathematics, which we believe will have a lasting impact on the field of mathematics teacher education, and help shape the work we do both as members and as an organization.
Thus, there is excitement and energy about what the next 25 years can hold for AMTE, and we are starting to make the organizational changes to support our infrastructure and build our capacity to maintain and increase the voice of AMTE as the lead organization for mathematics teacher education. We hope you will join us in this adventure together!