Letter from the Editors

Dear Alumni and Friends of Wisconsin Mathematics,

Sasha Kiselev
We are happy to report another productive year at the UW-Madison Department of Mathematics. During 2011, we recruited four outstanding young new faculty members, our graduating students found competitive jobs in academia, government and industry, and we successfully hosted a number of engaging mathematics conferences. Our faculty continued to produce excellent research, and won several prestigious prizes and awards. Our department's strengths have been recognized by the National Research Council which ranked us in the 7-16th place bracket among all US universities.

Andrej Zlatoš
The department also remained active in its educational mission. We reformed the calculus course sequence, looking for better and more application-oriented ways to teach college mathematics. We introduced new courses in order to enhance the experience of our mathematics majors. We maintained the nearly 50-year old Talent Search program, designed to discover and foster the talents of mathematically inclined youngsters in Wisconsin. And we expanded Math Nights (now called the Math Circle), where our faculty give talks to high and middle school students interested in mathematics. You can read stories about these and other exciting department events by following the links in this newsletter.

During the last decade, the department has undergone a big generational change. Some of our most senior and renowned colleagues have retired, but fortunately we were able to attract extraordinarily talented young replacements. Their energy combines with the experience of our senior faculty, driving the creation of new class offerings and new seminar series, organization of conferences and hosting a steady stream of esteemed visitors and collaborators coming to Madison. We offer more undergraduate research projects, learning seminars for graduate students, and outreach activities than ever before. We are also actively developing and implementing new mentoring procedures on all levels to help our students and young faculty succeed in the current difficult economic environment.

We owe our success in attracting some of the best young mathematicians in the world to the high quality of research of our faculty, as well as the traditionally friendly environment in Van Vleck. We have been able to compete for them even though several years of University budget cuts did not spare us. We lost about 15 faculty positions and a number of staff positions in the last dozen years, despite an increase in both the total enrollment in UW mathematics courses and the overall administrative duties of the department. Declines in University funding have also affected the level of stipends we can offer to young aspiring mathematicians and instructors. Thanks to your generosity, the department has used some funds from donations to supplement graduate student support in an attempt to stay more competitive. This helps us bring young talented people to Wisconsin to provide high quality instructional support in core undergraduate classes, as well as aid the research efforts of our faculty and enhance our key mission to serve as an incubator of a well-educated and competent workforce.

We therefore thank you for your past support and hope that our efforts and achievements convince you that it is well placed. Your generosity helps us maintain the high quality of our core mission, attract talented students, retain our best faculty, and expand our outreach efforts with lasting impacts on and beyond the UW campus. Please consider giving to Wisconsin. Your partnership will make an important difference as we go forward.

Thank you for being a part of the Wisconsin mathematics tradition!

Sasha Kiselev and Andrej Zlatoš