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Planning: The Future of the CMS

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Memorandum

TO: Members of the Canadian Mathematical Society
FROM: Katherine Heinrich, President
DATE: March 30th, 1998

SUBJECT: Planning for the future of the CMS
 

As our records show the Society has been a successful professional organisation for the last 50 years. The last few years in particular have seen substantial growth and expansion; new initiatives have been taken on and the Society has become increasingly complex in all its aspects. With this have come new costs (both fiscal and a need for additional volunteer and paid time). It is time to step back, look at what we are doing and plan for how we proceed. It is time to be pro-active in creating the Society's future.

For the last several months I have been working with the Executive, committee chairs and others who have sent comments on earlier drafts, on a process whereby the CMS can comprehensively review its operations and activities. The following document is presented for your discussion and comment. Based on your input, modifications will be made and the final proposal presented to the Board for approval at the June 1998 meeting in Saint John, New Brunswick.

Please note that since the following document is in draft form, at present it is only available in English. However, the final proposal, as approved by the Board, will be made available in both French and English. I hope this will not create undue inconvenience.

There are three parts. First, a replacement of our existing mission statement consisting of a goal for the society and a "statement of purpose" comprising four equally important items that define us and our activities. Second, a description of three Task Forces which, while initially established independently of this planning proposal, will provide valuable input to the overall picture of the Society. Third, a proposal for the establishment of a further five task forces. Reports from all task forces will be presented to the executive which, using them as a basis, will then have the challenge of drafting the future plan of the society to be presented to the Board for approval in December 2000.

Membership of each Task Force will be chosen to assure broad representation of our members and will include individuals with special knowledge in the topic of the Task Force. While their work is progressing, committees and all operations of the Society will proceed as usual.

It is likely that we will need to allocate resources to each of the task forces. These funds will allow them to meet at least twice during the period they will be operating, and allow for conference calls. To keep costs as low as possible, task forces will be encouraged to hold their meetings at either the CMS meetings or during Executive Committee meetings in Toronto (held each April and October).

Input from CMS members will be sought at all stages. And in particular your input is sought now. All comments are very much welcomed.
 

Please forward your comments to any member of the Executive by May 8th, 1998. Also, if you are interested in serving on any of the task forces we would like to know that too.

Executive: Lynn Batten (Manitoba), Eddy Campbell (Queens), Katherine Heinrich (SFU), Jacques Hurtubise (Montreal), Richard Kane (Western), Arthur Sherk (Toronto), Richard Wood (Dalhousie), Graham Wright (Ottawa - CMS Executive Office).
 
 
 
 



 
Canadian Mathematical Society
 
 
The goal of the Canadian Mathematical Society is to promote and advance the discovery, learning and application of mathematics.
 
 
Statement of Purpose
 
 

1. To unify and support Canadian mathematicians through effective communication, broad membership, sponsorship of diverse activities, and partnerships with like professional societies.

2. To support mathematics research through the communication of current research to both the specialist and non-specialist, public recognition of research accomplishments and collaboration with the research institutes, granting agencies and the users of mathematics.

3. To support mathematics education through joint projects with mathematics educators at all levels, promotion of educational advancements, and partnerships with provincial ministries of education and organizations supporting mathematics education.

4. To champion mathematics through initiatives that explain, promote and increase the general understanding of mathematics, provide extra-curricula opportunities for students, and encourage partnerships with corporate, government and not-for-profit agencies.
 


ESTABLISHED TASK FORCES
 
 

TASK FORCE #1: ad hoc Committee on Budget and Policy
 

Members:

Arthur Sherk, CMS treasurer and committee chair (Toronto)
Richard Kane, chair of finance cttee (Western)
Joan Geramita, board member (Queens)
Michael Lamoureux, board member (Calgary)
Graham Wright, CMS executive director - resource person

Mandate:

  • To collect all CMS policies, guidelines and practices which have a direct impact on the budget.
  • To determine how much of the budget is mandated by these policies, guidelines and practices.
  • To assess to what extent these policies, guidelines and practices are still relevant; if so at what level of support and if not how they should be phased out.
  • To determine possible changes in revenue patterns and in budget expenses to assess how the budget might influence policy in the future.
  • To propose how we change our processes so that when policy decisions are made they are done so with a full understanding of their potential impact on the budget.
Timeline:

committee to be struck by September 1st, 1997
committee to report to the executive by March 1st, 1998
 

**********************
 

TASK FORCE #2: ad hoc Committee on Board Representation
 

Membership:

Jon Thompson (New Brunswick), Chair
Paul Gauthier (Montreal)
Dan Britten (Windsor)
Peter Borwein (SFU)
Graham Wright, executive director - resource person

Mandate:

To review

  • the current size of the board
  • the relative sizes of representation from each of the four regions on both the board and the executive
Context:
 
  • CMS fiscal situation and the cost of increasing the size of either the Board or executive
  • the report of the ad hoc cttee which recommended the current board and executive geographic representation which was established in about 1989
Timeframe:

establish cttee by September 1997
report to executive by June 1998
 

**********************
 

TASK FORCE #3: CMS Endowment Fund
 

The CMS endowment fund is at approximately $1.35 million. A commitment has been made to start using the income generated by the endowment once the principal reaches $1.5 million. It is therefore now necessary to develop both guidelines for the use of the income and a strategy to ensure an ongoing revenue stream from the income. The first of these tasks will be done by the ad hoc Committee on the CMS Endowment Fund, and the second by the Finance Committee.
 

ad hoc Committee on the CMS Endowment Fund
 

Membership:

Eddy Campbell, Chair, VP for Ontario (Queens)
Jennifer Hyndman, Board member (UNBC)
Tom Salisbury, past chair, publication (York)
Bob Rosebrugh, chair, electronic services (Mt. Allison)
Gordon Mason, chair, finance (UNB)
Georg Schmidt, Board member (McGill)
Graham Wright, CMS executive director, support person
 

Mandate:

After broad consultation within the CMS community, to bring to the executive a recommendation on the appropriate administrative structure for the disbursement of funds from the income of the endowment. Addressing in particular:
 

  1. Make-up of the governing body and how its members will be determined. 
  2. Terms of reference of the governing body.
  3. Terms governing the selection of projects and disbursement of funds. 

In preparing this recommendation the committee should address the following questions:

What is the process for applying for funding and how will funds be distributed? Could awards be made for multiple years (that is, $x per annum for three years)? Who will be eligible to apply? How should applications be made? What form should they be in? What is the time-frame? What restrictions might there be on the level of funds requested? What role will leverage play (will requests with matching finds from elsewhere be favoured)? How will one project be selected over another? What kinds of projects will be funded? How might this decision fit within the CMS strategic plan? Could the funds be used for operating expenses?
 

Time Frame:

December 97 - executive to approve terms of reference and establish committee
February 98 - committee membership to be decided
April 98 - committee to meet in Toronto
June 98 - committee to consult with Board, Advisory Group and General meeting
October 98 - committee to present proposal to executive
December 98 - executive to take proposal to Board
 
 

Role of Finance Committee
 

The finance committee is charged with making recommendations to the Executive by October 1998 on the following issues. The Chair of the ad hoc committee will be a party to these discussions at the finance committee.
 

  1. What portion of the CMS endowment fund should be used to generate annual income and what portion should be reinvested for the long term growth of the endowment?
  2. What portion of the income generated should be used each year and what portion reinvested to protect the capital against inflation? 
  3. How is long-term stable funding from the endowment to be guaranteed?
  4. Should the governing structure be a committee of the CMS or an arms' length foundation? If a foundation terms of reference for the foundation must be provided. 

Time Frame:

June 98 - committee to discuss draft proposal with executive
October 98 - committee to present final proposal to executive
December 98 - executive to take proposal to Board
 


PROPOSAL
 
 

The creation of the following five task forces is to be considered at the June 1998 meeting of the Board. The dates on which they will be established and report, as well as their reporting structure have been designed to allow appropriate communication between them.
 
In each case task force members will be chosen to ensure that collectively they bring to the task force both knowledge of the area and the CMS and a willingness to challenge our current ways of thinking. Members will be appointed by the executive.

All task forces will consult broadly within the community with a particular emphasis on those with background knowledge of the issues being considered, and those likely to be effected by any recommendation. Task force chairs will be encouraged to talk with one another.

All task forces report to the executive and when each report is tabled it will be made available on camel. At that time input from the community should be directed to the executive.

When all task forces have reported, the Executive will, based on their recommendations develop an overall structure and strategy for the CMS that will allow for clear planning, development of new initiatives, streamlined operations and comprehensive fiscal policies.
 

TASK FORCE #4: Publications
 

Membership

Chair
3 members
executive director (or alternate) as support person
 

Mandate
 

  1. Publication Viability: Review the status of all CMS publications considering their quality, success, full cost, electronic viability, operating efficiency, and ability to generate revenue. Develop a strategy to address concerns identified and ensure long-term viability of our publications (management, marketing etc). Consider the feasibility of additional publications; perhaps jointly with other organizations.
  2. Tex Office: Review the tex office and bring forward a proposal to ensure its optimal use (including a possibly expanded role) and long-term viability.
  3. Collaboration with Institutes: Mathematical publication (in particular at the research level) is now taking place through the offices of the CMS and the Institutes. Investigate opportunities for closer collaboration and support.

Consultation

Consultation will include publication editors-in-chief, tex office, select (past and present) members of electronic services and publications committees and editorial boards, institutes.
 

Timeline

establish: by October 1998
report: October 1999

**********************
 

TASK FORCE #5: Finances and Fundraising
 

Membership

Chair
3 members
CMS treasurer as support person
 

Mandate
 

  1. Approval Processes: Develop review process for approval of new programs/activities ensuring they come forward with: clear budgetary requirements (including management costs and overhead charges); details on duration of project; marketing strategy where appropriate; and a process of review and evaluation.
  2. Fundraising: Review the current cost and success of fundraising activities and bring forward recommendations for a long-term fund-raising strategy; which may include the allocation of additional resources to fundraising. Consider whether or not we should initiate a major campaign over some fixed period of time and if so highlight its features.
  3. Advertising: Review existing arrangements concerning CMS advertising and distribution of products on behalf of other organizations. Determine a policy for such distribution contracts. Develop a strategy for increasing revenue through advertising in all CMS venues (in particular sponsorship of web pages).
  4. Buyouts: Develop policy on buyouts for CMS-based activities. Where is the line between volunteer contributions of time and "working for" the CMS?

Consultation

Consultation will include select (past and present) members of fundraising and finance committees, CMS executive director, camel director, publication editors. The report of Task Force #1 (ad hoc Committee on Budget and Policy) will provide significant and important input into the work of this task force; as will the report of Task Force #3 (endowment fund).
 

Timeline

establish: by October 1998
report: October 1999

**********************
 

TASK FORCE #6: Support of the Mathematics Community
 

Membership

Chair
3 members
CMS executive director (or alternate) as support person
 

Mandate
 

  1. Member Support: Review and evaluate all CMS activities/programs that provide support to our members. Describe strategies for ensuring their success in line with CMS objectives (this may require some to be eliminated or modified and others enhanced). Are we making the most of our conferences: are we offering the right sessions at the right locations; is the session format appropriate; are plenary lectures accessible; are we using local talent optimally; are we cost effective; are we effectively promoting and marketing the meetings; is there greater opportunity for interdisciplinary activities and public activities to promote research and educational activities? Consider our award structure and whether it adequately reflects the activities and accomplishments of Canadian mathematicians. Is the CMS adequately supporting its members; from student to retiree? Are our members adequately supporting the CMS?
  2. Student Support: Review and evaluate all CMS activities/programs that provide support to students (high school, undergraduate and graduate) and educators. Describe strategies for ensuring their success in line with CMS objectives (this may require some to be eliminated or modified and others enhanced). In doing so pay attention to promotion, marketing and overall management of the programs. Develop a process for regular review including limiting the life-time of any project, and ensuring we are always in a position to be innovative and flexible when responding to emerging needs.
  3. Representation: Review current representation (geographical, mathematical discipline, gender, visible minority, type and size of home institution) of members and participants in all our activities and where necessary develop strategies to ensure broader representation.
  4. Institutes: Review the present arrangements between the CMS and the institutes with particular reference to joint activities, sharing of information and, where appropriate, resources (not necessarily fiscal but certainly volunteer time and expertise). Recommend on future initiatives. 

Consultation

Consultation will include select (past and present) members of research, olympiad, women in math and education committees, camel director, publication editors. The report of Task Force #3 (endowment fund) will be of particular value to this group; as will the report of Task Force #2 (board representation).
 

Timeline

establish: by October 1998
report: October 1999

**********************
 
 
TASK FORCE #7: Communications
 

Membership

Chair
3 others
CMS executive director (or alternate) as support person
 

Mandate
 

  1. External Communications: Review our current communication activities (eg lobbying, NOTES, Camel, conference displays and press releases) with respect to CMS sponsored events, mathematics promotion, and increasing awareness of the CMS and mathematics in general. Investigate their effectiveness, whether they are meeting the purpose for which they were designed (eg improving the image of mathematics to the general public, supporting students), where they might be enhanced, modified etc and develop a long-term strategy for their best use. Consider development of CMS communications strategy.
  2. Internal Communications: Review current mechanisms for communication between the committees, executive, office, executive director, board and the membership at large, and make recommendations as to where improvements might be made. 

Consultation

Consultation will include select (past and present) chairs of CMS committees, camel director, staff, NOTES editors, membership at large.
 

Timeline

establish: by October 1998
report: October 1999
 

**********************
 

TASK FORCE #8: Office Strategies
 

Membership

CMS president, Chair
CMS treasurer
CMS executive director
2 others
CMS administrative coordinator as support person

 
Mandate
 

  1. Workload Review: Review existing procedures for office workload review; considering the distribution of work among the various offices and its appropriateness. Develop strategies for addressing requests for additional administrative support for CMS activities.
  2. Staff Assignments: Review staff job descriptions in light of current and future responsibilities of the office and bring forward recommendations.
  3. Conference Administration: Develop a process for reviewing conference management and costs and, where appropriate, initiating change.
  4. Streamlining: Review all activities of the office identifying tasks that can be streamlined, eliminated and modified for greater efficiency.
  5. Broaden Knowledge: Develop a strategy to ensure that knowledge of CMS operations is not restricted to one or two persons; e.g. Policy book(s), enhanced communications strategy.
  6. Camel: Review the operations and distribution of responsibilities associated with Camel.
Consultation

Consultation will include office staff and select members of the CMS who have worked closely with the office, members at large and the broader community with which the office interacts.
 

Timeline

establish: by April 1999
report: April 2000
 

**********************
 
 
EXECUTIVE: Administration and Governance
 

Membership

CMS executive
 

Mandate

To develop an overall structure and strategy for the CMS for the next several years.
 
 

  1. Committees and Board: On consultation with each committee and the Board, review their operations with respect to effectiveness, efficiency, size and breadth of membership, and appropriateness of current terms of reference. Recommend elimination, amalgamation or creation of new committees, and revised terms of reference including strategies for setting short-term goals. Clarify relationship between Board and committees, and the CMS offices.
  2. Administrative Structure: Review the administrative structure of the CMS office(s) with particular reference to the roles of executive director, managing editor, administrative assistant, tex manager, camel manager and the other offices for which we compensate volunteers. In particular, review the responsibilities and cost of Executive Director position as of June 2002 and make a recommendation on the future of this position.
  3. Partnerships: Review existing partnerships with other organisations and develop a long-term strategy for these and other partnerships that will benefit the CMS and assist us in meeting our objectives. This might include considering a strategy for working more closely with those disciplines and research associations that are dependent on mathematics research. Review the existing arrangements between the CMS and the research institutes, granting councils and other like bodies and develop a process for enhancing these relationships where appropriate.
  4. CMS membership: Provide strategies for broadening our membership base (IMO alumni, graduate students, college faculty, corporations), retaining members and supporting members throughout their careers. This may include a review of membership categories. In particular, review our relationship with our department members; considering the benefits of membership and departmental needs (eg is the current survey of the discipline appropriate?) and how departments might further support the CMS and its activities.
  5. Task Forces: Review the reports of all task forces and as appropriate make specific recommendations to the Board with respect to those areas not covered above. 

Consultation

All eight task force reports, CMS committees, and members at large.
 

Timeline

establish: June 1999
draft report distributed to Board and membership: August 2000
final report to Board: December 2000
 


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