Posted by: Administrator | 12/10/2009

Angus MacIntyre: Statement from the President-Designate

It seems to me proper and worthwhile, as President-Designate, to make a few observations during the “campaign” season leading to the November 20th elections.

The first point cannot be overemphasized. It has nothing to do with the opinions or policies of individual members. It is simply the observation that the future of the LMS is determined to a great extent by how the membership votes in our annual elections. This year saw the resolution of a huge issue (arguably the most important in our history), with a good turnout for the final vote on May 29th. That vote looked very different from votes we had seen earlier in the year. The change came about because people were encouraged (mainly by electronic means) to become involved in discussion and reflection, and then to proceed to vote. I count on this involvement continuing, for the health of the society. Apathy about voting obviously can lead to situations where Council decisions are far out of line with the wishes of a majority of members.

Members should know that strenuous efforts were made this summer to have me deselected as President- Designate. These efforts failed, and this led to the resignation of Officers. I am sure the membership shares my hope that the new Council will be able to operate in far less turbulent conditions.

I want to give just a hint of what I would like to achieve as President.

We should all be giving our best thought and effort to the grand issues of support for improvement of mathematical education and research, and their funding, at all levels. I am totally committed to these issues, and take it for granted that we will collaborate on them with other professional and governmental organizations, while remaining faithful to the traditional values of the LMS.

I aim for transparency (and accountability) within Council and throughout the LMS. I favour clearer formulation of rules of good practice, and a fresh look at Statutes and Byelaws. I want us to look closely at the practices of the AMS, which I take as an admirable model.

One salutary result of the recent turmoil is the greater involvement of the membership with fundamental issues. I hope to encourage this, and implement more efficient and imaginative channels of communication between Council and membership. Council should move to more efficient uses of electronic communications (and improve the website as a matter of urgency), thereby encouraging rapid and widespread exchange of ideas. Our society has a lot of talent and goodwill. Council has the responsibility for making decisions on behalf of the society, and must remain vigilant not to lose access to the wisdom and experience of the membership. By facilitating that access using modern technology we will safeguard the future of the LMS.

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