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Operation of CCMS

Claremont Center for the Mathematical Sciences (CCMS) has two main themes: Research and Outreach. Research activities of the Center will pursue initiatives that enhance collaborative research on campus—including faculty,undergraduate and graduate students. Outreach activities include teaching, services and diversity. Teaching in Claremont has a high reputation and the Center will provide programs that emphasize superior teaching practices, especially in reaching out to the wider mathematical community, which is international in scope. The Center sponsors and organizes common services such as the weekly math colloquium and a variety of weekly research seminars. CCMS supports and is a focus for the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) summer programs. As a contribution toward diversity, the Center actively recruits and involves minority math students and faculty in all the Center activities and provides the support for our tiered mentoring programs.

Because CCMS is independently funded, we are in no position to undertake projects on our own. Therefore by design, CCMS promotes collaborative research and teaching activities throughout and among the Claremont Colleges. Collaborative projects involve CCMS if the connection will strengthen a proposal (for example, many NSF programs require a graduate or “integrated” component). In addition, the number of faculty associated with CCMS counters the perception that the smaller undergraduate colleges,by themselves, are not strong enough (in size) to conduct research. Collaborative projects that go out on a proposal from CCMS would receive housing for activities if desired, the support of the Director and Coordinator to manage the details of the grant, national publicity, archival support, support from a computer consultant, and the hosting of conferences (among other things). Another service of the CCMS is that the Director would constantly be on the lookout for funding opportunities that would support collaborative research and teaching activities in mathematics.

The Center is governed by an Executive Committee (click here) formed with representatives from each of the six math departments in Claremont. A Board of Advisors (click here) drawn from the larger community will periodically be invited to advise the Center. The Executive Committee will oversee the Center’s operations, budget, etc. and select a Center Director to serve for a term to be decided. The Director will work closely with the six departments in planning Center activities, and (with the Executive Committee) decide on over-all strategy and budget. The Director will make periodic reports to the Academic Deans’ Committee of the Claremont Colleges. CCMS expects to continue its close ties to the Institute of Pure and Applied mathematics (IPAM) at UCLA since Allon Percus, formerly an Associate Director of IPAM, joined the CGU mathematics faculty in the Spring 2009.

Six US math institutes/centers have been established over the last 25 years. Apart from the American Institute of Mathematics, which has approximately 50% of its funding from businessmen John Fry and Steve Sorenson, NSF supplies most of the financial support for the operations of the six US institutes. In these institutes a small permanent staff oversees a diverse set of workshops on specialized math research topics: visitor participation varies from days to a semester. In contradistinction, the Claremont Center is designed to involve many Claremont faculty and students for longer periods of time. The Center will have broader themes such as teaching practice and open-ended projects of interest to industry and to other users of mathematics in science and business, areas in which Claremont enjoys world-wide recognition. So the CCMS will promote teaching and the practical uses of mathematics by utilizing in a combined way the strong Claremont faculty and student base.

The Center will pursue initiatives that enhance collaborative research on campus—including faculty, and undergraduate and graduate student components. CCMS will provide a focal point for such activity. Also envisaged are research interactions with neighboring universities. The aim will be to foster collaborative research and organize seminars and workshops. Specific attention will be given to target support for post-doctoral positions. Overhead from grants and contracts to CCMS will be returned to each participating college according to their involvement, after paying operating costs.

In the first few years, the Center will operate during the academic year largely with volunteer faculty drawn from college departments, but more direct participation will occur over the summer. CGU math has offered office space for the formative period of CCMS’s operation. After adequate funding is secured, a half-time Director, a full-time administrative assistant, and a part-time computer administrator will be hired. CCMS will provide a summer home for Claremont faculty supported via grants to engage in collaborative research and/or activity. Mathematically-inclined faculty outside mathematics departments may join collaborative teams from time-to-time. The Director will aid faculty in writing proposals for collaborative research or outreach projects. In addition to a Director, the Center eventually expects to have six faculty in the summer (including post-docs and visitors) participating in collaborative research and/or in one or more of the Center’s outreach programs.