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The various documents available here indicate the range of activities pursued by MAA. 

More than static rules and regulations, however, we invite you to investigate the documents and consider how you can participate and support the mission of the MAA as we work to advance mathematics.

MAA Code of Conduct

For there was always light, if only we are brave enough to see it. If only we are brave enough to be it.                                                                                 — Amanda Gorman, January 2021


The Mathematical Association of America’s (MAA) mission, values, and vision call us to take a hard look at our policies and practices, and insist that we adopt new ways of viewing each other and living our professional lives. We welcome and celebrate progress while recognizing the historical legacy of prejudice and false ideas of who can succeed in mathematics. MAA is committed to addressing the entrenched inequalities that remain so that we can grow together to more effectively pursue our vision of a society that values the power and beauty of mathematics and fully realizes its potential to promote human flourishing.

The MAA was founded in 1915, five years before the ratification of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote, and fifty years before the Voting Rights Act established legal protections for Black citizens’ right to vote. It was only in 1987 that the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from their list of mental disorders, yet the rights of LGBTQ individuals still are not adequately protected by law. Further, in spite of the legal protections that do exist, new ways of rationalizing the marginalization of women and underrepresented people continue to undermine the intent of those legal protections that do exist.

The mathematical sciences do not exist outside of society, but are practiced by members of society, who have the same limitations as our fellow human beings. Historically, the norms of mathematics were set by and for a community of white males. While we acknowledge the progress made over the last half-century to bring more diverse voices into our profession, we must also acknowledge the toxic consequences of sexism, racism, homophobia, and other forms of discrimination that continue to disadvantage so many. That inequity is reflected in numbers of women and other historically marginalized groups in our professions.

It is not enough for us to simply modify our own behavior and “do our best” as individuals. Rather, if we are to live our values, we must pursue collective effort to speak against attitudes and behavior that continue to harm less-privileged members of our profession and our society. To do less is to diminish ourselves and our profession.

he MAA strives to integrate the Core Values of community, inclusivity, communication, and teaching & learning across all its work. The MAA is advancing the understanding of mathematics and its impact on our world, and strives to facilitate and support environments that foster this goal. As a professional society, the MAA is committed to providing an inclusive climate that encourages the open expression and exchange of ideas, that is free from all forms of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, and that is welcoming and comfortable to all members and to those who participate in its activities. In pursuit of that commitment, the MAA is dedicated to the practice of equal opportunity, treatment, participation, and outcomes for all regardless of gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion or religious belief, age, marital status, disabilities, veteran status, field of expertise, or any other reason not related to scientific merit. This philosophy applies to all MAA activities including conferences, publications, programs, and governing structures and bodies.

The MAA expects the standards set in this Code, as articulated below, to be upheld by its members; leaders; staff; awardees; and participants in meetings, conferences, events, or social media exchanges regardless of the capacity in which they are performing (be it as an individual,  organizer, delegate, speaker, sponsor, exhibitor, or in any other capacity). Many of the principles in the Code are designed to ensure that individuals feel safe, comfortable, and welcomed when engaging with the MAA community.

The code applies to the behavior of members of the MAA and individuals who interact with the MAA in their professional lives. These expectations apply to the teaching, research, service and other duties carried out by MAA members in their workplace and their behavior in the mathematical community. Violations of any part of this Code can be reported as detailed in Section VII and may result in consequences described therein.

We expect that the MAA staff, MAA members, and affiliated parties (non-members attending or supporting MAA events) will:

  • promote the study, application, teaching and understanding of mathematics;
  • act with integrity, and strive to be objective, unbiased, and truthful in all aspects of our work;
  • act to support MAA’s commitment to promoting diversity, equity and inclusion;
  • never intentionally discriminate against another person on the basis of gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion or religious belief, age, marital status, disabilities, veteran status, field of expertise, or any other reason not related to scientific merit;
  • avoid biased, demeaning, intimidating, coercive, or harassing/hostile conduct or commentary, whether seriously or in jest (e.g., based on power differential, gender [sex, identity, expression], sexual orientation, race, ethnicity or national origin, religion, marital status, veteran status, age, body size or other physical appearance, disability, or other identities);
  • never bully, abuse, victimize, or engage in harassment of any kind, including sexual harassment, whether via spoken or written words, emails, offensive images or graffiti, social media posts, or any other means;
  • avoid injuring others, their property, reputation, or employment by false or malicious action;
  • be respectful of the privacy of others and the protection of their personal information and data;
  • accept and offer honest criticism of technical work, acknowledge and correct errors, and credit properly the contributions of others;
  • do not claim authorship of something that is not yours and do not claim sole authorship of something created with another person or in a group setting;
  • demonstrate that differing perspectives are valued by critiquing only ideas (not people);
  • answer questions about conduct concerns in a forthright and complete manner;
  • assist colleagues and co-workers in their professional development and support them in following this code of conduct;
  • avoid real or perceived conflicts of interest whenever possible, and disclose them to affected parties when they do exist.

The MAA is committed to, and benefits from, the full and equitable participation of a diverse community in its membership, in its activities, and in the audiences that it serves. Hence, the MAA wants to maintain a welcoming environment for all its meetings.

The MAA expects that all communication should be appropriate for a professional audience including people of many different backgrounds. The MAA will make every effort to maintain, at all its meetings, a respectful environment that is free of harassment, bullying, retaliation, and discrimination of any kind for all attendees.

The MAA considers that harassment, intimidation, or discrimination includes offensive comments and actions related to age, gender, gender identity and gender expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, religion, ethnicity, marital status, nationality, political affiliation, educational background, or any other characteristic protected by law; sexual images in public spaces; deliberate intimidation, stalking, or following; harassing photography or recording; sustained disruption of talks or other events; inappropriate physical contact; and unwelcome sexual attention.

The MAA expects that attendees to its meetings who either witness or are made aware of discrimination, harassment, or bullying by others should actively seek to prevent, report, and/or otherwise mitigate the offensive behavior. Violations may be reported confidentially and anonymously as described in Section VII. The reporting mechanism ensures the respect of privacy while alerting the MAA to the situation.

For MAA events and meetings, organizers are encouraged to review the policies of the meeting site to ensure that there are no conflicts with this Code of Conduct.

The MAA strives to use social media as a mechanism for learning from one another. Therefore, anyone sharing social media content or engaging in conversations on behalf of MAA or within MAA’s social media communities is asked to adhere to the following Social Media Use expectations. Here “social media” refers to websites and applications that are designed to allow people to share content quickly, efficiently, and in real-time. This ability to share photos, videos, opinions, events, and other content empowers individuals to connect with each other in new and exciting ways. With this ability comes great responsibility; this policy describes expectations for all who participate in social media on behalf of or within MAA.

To support the MAA’s goal of advancing excellence by enabling equitable and full engagement and contributions by all, conduct on social media must meet III. Expectations for Participation in MAA Communities and the following requirements specific to social media:

  • Be collaborative. Be mindful not to exert dominance over others. Consider the effect of relationship, position, experience, privilege, and power differentials.
  • Be careful not to share content that is not your own without permission or appropriate attribution.
  • Consider accessibility issues for your posts, including captions for videos and alt text for images and other visual elements.
  • Where possible, respectfully seek input from individuals of varied identities and roles.
  • Remember that local posts can have global significance. Once a post has been published, it can be referenced and shared with others outside of the initial network where it was posted, whether by word of mouth or reposting.
  • If in doubt about whether a particular post is appropriate, it may be better not to post. Use sound judgment, common sense, and consider having trusted colleagues review the post prior to making it public.
  • Be respectful in online interactions, especially when encountering criticism and disagreement, and even—where possible—when encountering rude or offensive language. It may be helpful to step away from an interaction that is causing distress or frustration and return to it later, or to disengage from the source.

Note About Differences of Opinion and Offense. It is not a violation of MAA’s Social Media Conduct Policy to express an opinion, point to research, or describe an experience (“articulation”) that is at odds with the opinions of or is offensive to others, provided the articulation is part of an on-point discussion and is offered in a manner that does not interfere with others’ reasonable ability to participate fully. That means expressing differing positions with respect and consideration for all, in a manner that reflects intellectual rigor and is demonstrably mindful of minimizing, as much as possible, any potential adverse effect on others’ ability to participate. (Offering an advance warning of the potential for impact on others is one way to demonstrate such respect and consideration for all.) It also means not making an articulation that is reasonably expected to cause offense gratuitously (i.e., unrelated or unnecessary for the discussion at hand). It means not directing the articulation as a personal attack or put-down of an individual and not dominating the discussion. It further means demonstrating consideration for anyone who appears to be in distress by promptly stopping the cause and demonstrating caring, while still pursuing a way to share pertinent information, with assistance from community members as appropriate.

The MAA selects individuals for leadership positions, and confers honors and awards for exemplary writing, teaching, and service, and such decisions are determined in the Association’s judgment and discretion. When the MAA selects leaders and awardees, the decision reflects the Association’s judgment that an individual’s contributions to, and effect on, the field are exemplary. The MAA considers the effect on the field of the totality of the individual’s work, professional and ethical conduct, and reputation. It expects those who hold leadership positions or receive awards to demonstrate that participation in and recognition by the field are privileges; and that the field’s leaders, and others it celebrates, embody highly professional and ethical conduct in their work. Unethical conduct perpetuates long standing structural and systemic barriers to full participation of all talent in the field, which have an immediate adverse impact on individuals and undermine excellence in the field.

In particular, the MAA strives through the selection of leaders and awardees to both honor specific kinds of professional accomplishments, and to collectively represent a vision of our profession that is inclusive, and to inspire current and future members of the mathematics community towards a future that embraces our vision of a society that values the power and beauty of mathematics and fully realizes its potential to promote human flourishing.

The MAA retains the right to grant, defer, or decline to grant an Honor to any person. The MAA also retains the right to revoke or suspend an Honor already granted if, in its judgment and discretion, the MAA determines that it is in the best interests of the field to do so. Suspension means the Honor (and the ability of the recipient to exercise any associated privileges and rights) are held in abeyance until notice by the MAA that the Honor is reinstated or revoked.

The MAA finds, in its discretion, that determined unethical conduct of a current or prospective holder of an Honor—as well as credible, but undetermined, questions about the ethical conduct of such an individual—can contribute to longstanding structural and systemic barriers in the field. Consequently, for the purpose of placing heavier weight on what is best for excellence in the field than what is best for any individual when the two must be balanced, the MAA will not confer any leadership position, prize, or award, on any individual whose conduct has been determined to be unethical. That determination will be based on the MAAs own review or investigation and, if useful in the MAA’s discretion, the MAA’s consideration of any others’ determinations (with supporting information) made available to the Association.

The MAA may choose not to confer any leadership position, award, or honor on an individual whose ethical conduct is the subject of a credible question known to the Association, as long as the question has not been finally and favorably determined to the MAA’s satisfaction, in its discretion.  Determined unethical conduct may also justify suspension or revocation of any leadership roles or awards; and a credible but undetermined question of ethical conduct may justify suspension.  When applying this policy in situations of credible but undetermined questions, the MAA is withholding judgment and is not making a statement or determination regarding any individual.  Rather, the Association is implementing a prophylactic measure to support the field’s priority efforts to break down long standing barriers to excellence.

The MAA’s conferral of an honor is an exercise of its discretion, not an obligation. The MAA, in its discretion, may suspend or revoke an honor if its assessment of the recipient’s actual or potential impact on the field changes for any mission-driven reason.

New procedures for reporting violations, how these reports will be investigated, and the consequences for violations are being developed. The intent is to create a sustainable compliance committee, trained in handling complaints, particularly in the area of sensitivity to those who have reported violations. Until the details of a new procedures have been implemented, MAA will follow the current process:

Violations may be reported directly to the Executive Director or the Compliance Officer (Vice President). For immediate concerns at a meeting, proceed to the registration area or hotel/convention center security office.

Whistle Blower Protection Policy


The MAA will not tolerate intimidation, coercion, or discrimination of any kind against employees or other individuals who file complaints or who testify, assist, or participate in any manner in an investigation or hearing. All such acts against complainants or other participants should be reported immediately to the Executive Director or Compliance Officer (Vice President).

Reporting Responsibility

It is the responsibility of all Directors, Officers, members and employees to comply with the Code of Ethics and to report violations or suspected violations in accordance with this Whistleblower Policy.

No Retaliation

No Director, Officer, member, or employee who in good faith reports a violation of the Code of Ethics shall suffer harassment, retaliation or adverse employment consequences. An employee who retaliates against someone who has reported a violation in good faith is subject to discipline up to and including termination of employment. A volunteer may be removed from an appointment or elected position.

This Whistleblower Policy is intended to encourage and enable employees and others to raise serious concerns within the MAA prior to seeking resolution outside the Association.

Reporting Violations

The Code establishes the MAA’s open door policy and suggests that employees and members share their questions, concerns, suggestions or complaints with someone who can address them properly. In most cases, an employee’s supervisor is in the best position to address an area of concern. However, if the employee is not comfortable speaking with his or her supervisor or the employee is not satisfied with their supervisor’s response, the employee is encouraged to speak to anyone in management, including the Executive Director, whom they are comfortable in approaching. Supervisors and managers are required to report suspected violations of the Code of Ethics to the Executive Director, who has specific and exclusive responsibility to investigate all reported violations. In the case of a suspected violation of the Code of Ethics by the Executive Director, a report should be filed with the Compliance Officer. For suspected fraud, or when the employee is not satisfied or is uncomfortable with reporting to the MAA management, an individual should contact the MAA’s Compliance Officer (Vice President).

Members should report suspected violations either to the Executive Director or the MAA Compliance Officer. The Executive Director will report all violations of the Code of Ethics, actions taken, and resolutions to the MAA’s Compliance Officer. For immediate concerns at a meeting, members should proceed to the registration area to contact MAA staff or otherwise the hotel/convention center security office.

Compliance Officer

The MAA’s Compliance Officer is responsible for ensuring that all reported complaints and allegations concerning violations of the Code of Ethics have been properly investigated and resolved and, at his or her discretion, shall advise the Executive Director and/or the Audit Committee. The Compliance Officer has direct access to the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors and is required to report to the Audit Committee at least annually on compliance activity.

Acting in Good Faith

Anyone filing a complaint concerning a violation or suspected violation of the Code of Ethics should act in good faith and have reasonable grounds for believing the information disclosed indicates a violation of the Code. Any allegations made by staff members that prove not to be substantiated and which prove to have been made maliciously or knowingly to be false will be viewed as a serious disciplinary offense and will be handled accordingly. Allegations made by members that prove to be malicious or knowingly false will be reported to the Board of Directors and the member may be censured and relieved of MAA duties.


Violations or suspected violations may be submitted on a confidential basis by the complainant or may be submitted anonymously. Reports of violations or suspected violations will be kept confidential to the extent possible, consistent with the need to conduct an adequate investigation.

Handling of Reported Violations

The Compliance Officer will notify the sender (if not anonymous) and acknowledge receipt of the reported violation or suspected violation within one month of the next Board of Directors meeting following the filing of a complaint. All reports will be promptly investigated and appropriate action will be taken if warranted by the investigation.

Policy on Conflict of Interest

WHEREAS, the Board of Directors of the Mathematical Association of America (“Association”) has consistently followed a policy of avoiding a conflict of interest or the appearance of such conflict on the part of the members of the Board and Volunteers; and

WHEREAS, it is desirable that the policy to avoid conflicts of interest be clarified and spelled out in a Resolution of the Board;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that this Board hereby adopts the following policy with respect to possible conflicts of interest among the members of the Board, and Volunteers of the Association: Service on the Board and as a Volunteer for the Association is purely voluntary and shall not be used as a means for personal or private benefit or inurement. This provision shall not be deemed to prevent a member of the Board or a Volunteer from fairly representing his or her association with the Association on a resume or in other personal publicity.

No member of the Board or Volunteer who is a vendor of goods or services to the Association or is affiliated (as defined below) with any vendor of goods or services to the Association or with a competitor of any vendor of goods or services to the Association, shall vote on, or participate on behalf of the Association in the administration of, any contract with such vendor.

No member of the Board or Volunteer who is a competitor of the Association or affiliated (as defined below) with a competitor of the Association shall vote on, or participate on behalf of the Association in the administration of, any arrangement in which such competition exists or may exist.

No member of the Board or Volunteer who is a recipient of grants, goods or services from the Association or is affiliated (as defined below) with a recipient of grants, goods or services from the Association shall vote on, or participate on behalf of the Association in the administration of, any contract or other arrangement with such recipient.

Such person shall, upon request of any member of the Board or committee, leave any meeting for the period of time the Board or committee is discussing any arrangement with which he or she has an affiliation.

No member of the Board or Volunteer shall accept gifts, entertainment or other favors (except those of a nominal value) from individuals or entities when the party providing the gift/entertainment/favor might be inferred to be attempting to influence the MAA.

No individual or entity with which a member of the Board or a Volunteer is affiliated shall receive any special consideration by the Board. There shall be no variation in the procedures for processing grants to or contracts with, or in deciding recipients of awards with, except that additional scrutiny may be applied to such consideration, and the Association shall follow such procedures as are necessary or appropriate to assure that the transaction does not constitute an “excess benefit transaction” under the Internal Revenue Code.

A Volunteer shall include any person, other than a member of the Board of Directors, who serves as officer, editor, committee member, or section officer of the Association, and any principal investigator on a grant or contract administered by the Association.

A person shall be deemed to be affiliated with an entity if the person

  • serves as a member of a governing body of the entity,
  • serves as an officer or employee of the entity,
  • has a material economic relationship with such entity, or
  • if the person’s spouse, parent, sibling, child, or member of the immediate household, holds such a position or has such a relationship.

A person shall be deemed to be affiliated with an individual if such individual is a spouse, parent, sibling, child, or member of the immediate household of such individual or has a material economic relationship with such individual.

Where a member of the Board or a Volunteer is unsure whether a conflict or affiliation exists, he or she shall disclose the relevant facts to the Secretary (to the Treasurer in the case of the Secretary, and the Committee on Management Evaluation and Oversight in the case of the Executive Director). The member of the Board or the Volunteer shall abide by the decision so rendered as to the existence or non-existence of a conflict or affiliation.

Nothing in this policy shall prevent a member of the Board who is or is affiliated with a recipient of grants, goods or services from the Association from participating in discussions or decisions relating to the scope or quality of grants, goods or services provided generally to such recipient and other persons similarly situated.

Each member of the Board or Volunteer shall advise the Secretary (the Committee on Management Evaluation and Oversight in the case of the Executive Director, and the Treasurer in the case of the Secretary) of any conflict or potential conflict of interest when such person becomes aware of any such relationship that has not previously been disclosed.

Upon approval of this Resolution, a copy of the resolution shall be sent to each Board member and Volunteer and shall be posted on the MAA website. Subsequently, this resolution shall be provided to all Board Members and Volunteers. Similarly, all Board members will be required to review, sign and return the annual disclosure form which will be distributed at an annual meeting of the board.

The following are examples of conflicts of interest which may exist in fact or appearance. This is not a comprehensive list and is intended only to be illustrative. If you have any question as to the existence of a conflict of interest, contact the appropriate person as described above.

  • serves as a member of a governing body of the entity,
  • has a material economic relationship with such entity, or
  • if the person’s spouse, parent, sibling, child, or member of the immediate household, holds such a position or has such a relationship.
  • The sale, purchase, lease or rental of any property or other asset;
  • Employment, or rendition of services, personal or otherwise;
  • The awarding of any grant, contract, or subcontract;
  • The investment or deposit of any funds of the Association;
  • The acceptance of any gifts (except of a nominal nature) from any party who may benefit from an enhanced relationship with the MAA;
  • An office or position of leadership in or receives compensation from an organization who may be competing with the MAA for members, programs, or funding;
  • A close personal or financial relationship with a person or organization you are considering for an MAA recognition, appointment, or award.

Statement about Conflict of Interest

By action of the Board of Governors [MathFest 2004], all committee members are to be reminded of the following:

Recommendation: That this be added to every committee appointment letter:

The good name of the Association should be foremost in your mind as you go about your duties as a committee member.

If any situation, financial or otherwise, arises that might be perceived as a conflict of interest, recuse yourself and inform the Secretary immediately without expressing any opinion on the matter.

Recording or Broadcasting of MAA Events

The recording or broadcasting of any MAA sponsored events, including but not limited to proceedings at sectional and national meetings, workshops, mini-courses, short-courses, and colloquia, is strictly forbidden without the explicit written permission of the Mathematical Association of America (passed by the MAA Executive Committee 10/30/04)

To obtain permission to record and/or broadcast an MAA event or activity complete the information requested in the Request to Record or Broadcast form (pdf format) and mail, email, or fax your request to the MAA Executive Director at the address below. You must have received a signed form granting approval for recording and/or broadcasting an MAA event before the event takes place. Having submitted a request form does not constitute temporary authority, and approval will not be given orally. Please allow sufficient time for the approval process to be completed. Allow at least two weeks from time of receipt of request by the MAA office.

Mathematical Association of America
11 Dupont Circle, NW
Washington, DC 20036
Fax to 202-396-5647

MAA National and Section presiding officers and SIGMAA and Section chairs may authorize the recording and broadcasting of the following events as described below. This memo constitutes permission and no further approval need be pursued.

Proceedings of meetings of the MAA Board of Directors may be recorded and distributed for archival purposes by the MAA Secretary or that person’s designee at that person’s discretion.

Proceedings of meetings of the MAA Congress may be recorded and distributed for archival purposes by the recorder elected by the Congress or the person designated by the chair of the Congress.

Proceedings of any MAA committee or council meeting may be recorded by a member of the committee or council and reported to members of the committee or council and to the MAA Board of Directors, Executive Director, and MAA staff liaison.

Plenary lectures may be recorded, with permission of the lecturer, and kept for archival purposes. These recordings may be used by the group sponsoring the original event solely for the same purposes as the original use (e.g., shown at a section meeting).

(Approved by Board of Directors, October 28, 2017)

Policy for Establishing Endowments and Funds

Approved by the MAA Board of Directors on 27 October 2017.

The following policies govern donations made to the MAA and the procedures to be followed to establish or augment existing restricted funds to support prizes, awards, programs or other MAA financial expenditures. Donors should consult with the MAA development officer and/or Executive Director in the preparation of a proposal for the establishment of a new fund or modification of an existing fund. Proposals for new funds and/or programs, prizes, awards or significant changes to established funds and/or programs, prizes/awards must be approved by the MAA Board of Directors. These policies are designed to ensure that a clear understanding exists among donors, the Board of Directors, and the staff of the MAA of the terms and conditions regarding restricted funds.

Donor Restricted Funds

A donor restricted fund is a temporarily restricted fund that is designated and used for a specific purpose until the funds are depleted. The minimum amount to establish a donor restricted fund is $25,000. However, the agreed upon amount may be higher than $25,000.

The assets used to create a restricted fund may be either cash or investments that can be readily converted into cash. If the fund is created with investments, the converted value less any applicable brokerage or other related fees will become the amount used to establish the donor restricted fund. Non-liquid gifts such as pledges, real estate, and investments that are not readily convertible into cash will only establish a fund at such time as these assets are converted into cash less any conversion or selling costs.

Endowed Funds

The minimum amount to establish an endowed fund is $500,000. An endowed fund is permanently restricted and the earnings it generates are designated to support a specific program. The earnings of the fund are held in a temporarily restricted fund to be used to support the purpose of the fund. Projected earnings from the endowed fund must exceed projected disbursements. At least half of the total desired principal amount must be received in the first year and the total received within three years in order to establish a permanently restricted fund. If the intended total is not achieved in that time, the amount raised will be held in a temporarily restricted account to be used for the intended purposes of the fund.

Sunset Clause

If a fund is depleted or reaches a level below the minimum required to generate sufficient earnings to support the designated disbursement, then the fund is dissolved and any established program, prize, etc. may be discontinued upon the discretion of the Board of Directors. If the program is discontinued for any reason, then the remaining assets of the fund may be used to best serve the needs of the Association while honoring as closely as possible the donor’s intent.

Annual Disbursements

The preservation and administration of both the permanently restricted and temporarily restricted funds to support prizes, awards, projects, etc. will be governed by policies set and periodically reviewed by the MAA Board of Governors and must conform to all applicable federal and local laws and regulations.

Administrative Fees

All funds are subject to an administrative fee, which will be charged to the fund on an annual basis. Administrative fees are set by the Board of Directors and are subject to periodic review. The applicable administrative fee will be specified in the agreement between the donor(s) and the MAA at the time of the establishment of the fund.

Donor Participation

Donors may participate in an advisory capacity when a fund is established but may not serve in a decision-making capacity regarding fund beneficiaries or be involved in the ongoing management of the fund or related program.

Proposal Preparation

The donor should consult with the MAA development officer and/or Executive Director in the preparation of a proposal for the establishment of a new fund or modification of an existing fund or its purpose. The proposal should lay out the details of the agreement between the donor(s) and the MAA; these details are subject to the terms and conditions specified in these Guidelines.

Periodic Review

Changes to these guidelines must be approved by the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors will review these guidelines every three years to determine if any changes or modifications are needed.

Avoiding Implicit Bias

The MAA gives awards to mathematicians to recognize excellence in teaching, writing, scholarship and service. We choose speakers for national and Section meetings who are excellent expositors. We elect leaders who are knowledgeable and hard-working. Those selected are regarded as role models, so it is important that each selection process recognize a group who reflects the breadth of the Association membership and of the profession. Diversity in recognition gives visible evidence of the Association’s commitment to equity. While selection committees strive for fairness in selecting winners based on established criteria, studies have shown that unconscious, unintentional assumptions can sometimes influence judgment — this is the problem of implicit bias. For instance, data gathered across many professional societies show that women do not receive recognition at a rate commensurate with their numbers in the profession. In recent years, MAA data on gender show that women are more likely to receive awards for teaching or service than for writing or as a named lecturer. While the reasons are unclear and deserve further study, implicit bias may be one possible factor. The following guidelines may help selection committees avoid implicit bias.

Appoint diverse selection committees and committee chairs. Diverse committees provide access to a wider set of networks from which to cultivate nominations and suggestions. Committee members and chairs from underrepresented groups may cushion against unintentional stereotyping.

“Nominations” can refer to a site for a Section meeting, an invited lecturer for MathFest, or the recipient of a Meritorious Service Award, for instance.

Generate a large and diverse pool of nominees. Pólya Lecturers, Section officers, and teaching award winners are selected based on established criteria, so this step is crucial to ensuring that the pool of nominees contains as many eligible candidates as possible (especially those whose work is outstanding but less well-known). When appropriate, committees should consider including a call for nominations in electronic newsletters, using listservs (e.g., SIGMAAs and Project NExT), and other ways to generate nominations. Where the list of possible nominees is not constrained to a relatively small group (as in a set of articles appearing in a specified journal), committees should invite nominations for awards with notification of their deliberations in FOCUS and on the MAA website. Increasing awareness of an award among all MAA members has the side benefit of increasing interest in the award and making the selection process more transparent and inclusive.

In particular, publicize the award or position among underrepresented groups. When
appropriate, encourage groups such as AWM, the Committee on the Participation of Women, NAM, SACNAS, and institutions exemplary in their support of women and minorities to make nominations.

Periodically review and discuss practices for building a pool of nominees. Examine lists of nominees, short-lists of nominees, and past “winners” for historical patterns with an eye towards gender or other under-represented groups.

Periodically review the description and guidelines. Particular attention should be paid to the language used to describe the award or position — e.g., are the words used associated more often with males than females? — as well as restrictions that could disproportionately affect certain groups— e.g., do age limits affect women who take time off to raise a family? For suggested changes, make recommendations to the Council on Prizes and Awards.

Discuss the process and criteria that will be used to evaluate nominees before reviewing nominations. Develop a rubric that matches published criteria. Research has shown that implicit bias can enter via unintentional “criteria-shifting” after nominees are discussed.

Make a personal list of top nominees before hearing the recommendations of any other members. This avoids the undue influence of one member and ensures that the list of viable nominees is as large as possible before discussion begins.

Look for hidden gems. Pay special attention to suggestions from atypical sources. Some department chairs have lots of experience and are pros at writing letters of recommendation; others are not. Take the time to look carefully at every nomination.

Create short lists via inclusive rather than exclusive methods. For instance, select candidates that are outstanding, rather than finding reasons to eliminate candidates from consideration.

Ensure that every committee member’s voice is heard. Do not let any committee member remain silent.

Take adequate time to make a decision. Research has shown implicit bias is mitigated when committees have time for thoughtful reflection and discussion, instead of making snap judgments.

Avoid potential conflicts of interest. Often candidates are so well-known that associations with selection committee members are unavoidable. In all discussions, members should make clear any connection they may have with a person under consideration, and recuse themselves if appropriate. And of course committee members are expected to abide by the MAA Conflict of Interest Policy as
described on the MAA website.

Copyright Agreement

MAA depends on the efforts of member volunteers to fulfill our mission to advance the mathematical sciences, especially at the collegiate level.  The valuable work of our committees (including task forces and editorial boards), should be protected by MAA.  Until recently MAA has paid only modest attention to copyright assignment for products generated through MAA activities; however, the rapid changes in online exchange of information have led to substantive changes in copyright law, as well as challenges to traditional concepts of fair academic use of materials.  To protect the valuable work of our volunteer professionals, MAA now requires that members serving on MAA committees assign copyright of any work done through that committee to MAA.  This gives MAA the ability to address inappropriate use of intellectual property generated through Association activities.  Accepting appointment to an MAA committee or task force constitutes agreement to the copyright assignment statement given below:

By accepting this appointment, I hereby completely, exclusively and irrevocably assign and agree to assign to MAA in perpetuity ownership of all of the copyrights (and all rights subsumed thereunder) in and to all of my contributions to the committee/project. I hereby grant, convey, assign, and set over unto MAA, its successors and assigns, on an exclusive basis, all of my right, title and interest in and to the copyrights in the Contributions, including, without limitation, copyrights and renewals and/or extensions thereof, for all territories of the world in perpetuity. Good and valuable consideration has been provided to me for the assignment of these rights. I also waive any and all rights of attribution and integrity with respect to MAA’s use of the Contributions. My status as “Author” of these contributions remains in place and is not affected by this assignment of ownership rights.

Principal Investigator's Manual

The Mathematical Association of America relies on members and committees to carry out special projects that are supported by external funding from federal agencies and private foundations. This manual provides guidelines for individuals wishing to serve as the Principal Investigator (PI) or co-Principal Investigator (co-PI) on a grant under the auspices of the MAA.

Revised in 2021, the MAA PI Manual is available to view or download here.